Apple's Evil Plan for World Domination

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Right off the bat, too much is made about international marketshare numbers.

Google's ( GOOG) strategy with Android means it will most likely command a seemingly impressive marketshare in many markets around the world. This much should be embarrassingly obvious. If Apple ( AAPL) opened up iOS the way Google slums Android, Apple would dominate Google and Samsung even at the tribe level across the universe. al Qaeda cells in Somalia would chart as iPhone users.

Given Apple's refusal to go cheap and dilute all that is good about its brand and product quality, it's impressive the company does as well as it does in emerging markets and countries where smartphone subsidies aren't quite as generous as they are in America.

Understanding that line of thought -- which, surprisingly, more than a few people do not -- puts you in the best position to understand Apple. It also helps to ignore the catcalls of Android fans, Apple haters and the headline-firing media and focus on U.S. marketshare data like I do and did in an article for TheStreet, picked up by the good folks at MSN Money, last month.

The latest comScore numbers show the trend I illustrate in that article marches on.

As of the end of August, Apple continues to gain domestic marketshare as a smartphone platform (Android lost a bit). Apple also continues to grow as an OEM, not only dominating Samsung, but growing at a faster clip.

Between this massive and largely loyal base and the halo effect, Apple is in prime position to carry on the same or a similar flavor of domination it exerts today. I'm as much a victim of conventional thought as the next guy; and lo and behold, as I started checking my assumptions, I came to alternative conclusions.

At the top of the list, I'm not certain Apple needs this "next big thing" so many of us speak of. At least not something new that matches -- or even comes close to -- the success, from a unit sales standpoint, of iPod, iPhone or iPad. Apple might be better off focusing on two areas:
  • Maintaining the premium price and high-quality of its current products to keep the aforementioned loyal base and halo effect alive
  • Leveraging that base (which will include recent converts) to adopt even bigger ticket items that enhance/complement/supplement the seamlessness of the Apple ecosystem

The latter could look like this -- Apple, for the time being, doesn't outfit the world with a new device. I don't buy the whole smartwatch rumor; that feels like pushing too hard to follow a market, something Apple doesn't typically do. The company focuses instead, in the near-term, on high-priced, high-margin devices with sales somewhere south of iPhone- and iPad-like numbers.

Tops in that style of pipeline has to be a new product called iTV (or something like that). Maybe iLiving Room. iTheater. Whatever. As usual, Mac Observer's John Martellaro gets it right in Apple: Sizing Up the Critical Failure Points of the TV Industry:
My guess is that Apple has been taking its sweet time with its TV project to not only build great hardware and software -- the next generation beyond the current Apple TV -- but to also figure out how to even better press the "I'm annoyed" buttons of the average TV viewer, like figuring out how to select the right component for input to the HDTV with a complicated remote. That's why some observers, including me, believe that Apple will integrate the display with the next generation Apple TV electronics.

This ties back to what Tim Cook said about a year ago now. Remember he talked about what a backward experience the living room is? How it really hasn't moved forward much in decades, at least relative to comparable technological advances?

If Apple wants to get $1,499 or $1,999 for a display-set top box combo, it's going to need to deliver. Same thing applies if it wants to work out a seemingly evil subsidy arrangement with cable and satellite companies like it has with wireless carriers. While these guys do not want to get burned like the telcos, they fully recognize the power of being able to offer current and prospective subscribers a premium Apple product at a reasonable (subsidized) price.

Imagine DirecTV ( DTV), Time Warner Cable ( TWC) and the whole lot of providers being able to advertise free NFL Sunday Ticket or some sort of cable/Internet bundle along with an integrated Apple TV set (build to specification for each carrier) for something like $499.

Samsung would be dead in the water.

And Apple would continue to dominate only in a slightly different way.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in New York City

Rocco Pendola is a columnist and TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola makes frequent appearances on national television networks such as CNN and CNBC as well as TheStreet TV. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.

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