As John Gruber has helped me understand, anyone can copy design, hence the increased legal activity from Apple. But copying the operational aspects of Apple is nearly impossible without lots of planning and lots of time.
“… but what is far more difficult to copy is operational excellence – a framework for supply chain precision and business execution that has taken Apple a decade to put in place and master. This is the domain of Tim Cook. This is the sustainable advantage that Apple will use to be hyper-competitive for at least another decade, but more likely for a few decades. Steve tee’s it up… Tim drives it 450 yards.” — me (inspired by Gruber)
This article from John Gruber is possibly the most succinct explanation of why no one has been able to compete with iPad.
We hear lots of analysts saying it’s the eco-system, or this or that. I’ve taken many a stab at explaining it without really putting my finger on any concrete reasons. However, it seems to be all that we’ve heard and some operational aspects that are not so obvious; Gruber captures this eloquently.
A clear understanding of the dynamics and competitive framework that Apple has engineered over the last decade makes iOS an ideal place to make entrepreneurial bets, and a solid foundation to build information solutions, games, enterprise apps, etc. Apple, it seems, has crafted an ideal bedrock from which thousands of other success stories, products, and even new companies will spring from.