Oh Yes, there is absolutely no problem of survival for them as Apple has missed the major market where the largest number of mobile phones are being sold, that is China and India. For this market place everyone with products are accepts because of larger market.
@Peter: So for me the "strength" of the apps ecosystem is irrelevant to any smartphone brand decision I might make.
I sort of agree -- I pretty much use my cell phone for making calls -- sometimes I use its web browser (Of, and I did download the "whip" sound effect app after seeing it on The Big Bang Theory). Also, I don't use my cell phone as an MPE player or anything like that.
Mostly I use my iPad for anything to do with Apps and Music ... in this case the ecosystem is bvery important to me. One thing that is nice about having an iPhone is that it's the same OS and GUI as my iPad, so I don't have to fight with that side of things.
Frank makes a good point. There are probably as many Android "fanboys" as Apple zealots at this point. And many of the former appear to have chosen Android because it isn't Apple, with its closed ecosystem. So for a significant part of the user base it may well be more of a "different strokes for different folks" scenario.
For established purchasers of the Apple iPhone ...that have many apps....and possibly content tied to those apps...then switching away becomes very hard.
But for much of the smartphone market growth we are talking about new users who are probably not going to do a thorough ecosystems before making a purchase decision.
I myself do not have a smartphone but am aware of the app stores.
From where I sit they appear to be an opportunity to spend money on largely pointless activities. Most of the useful activities seem to be covered by a dozen apps that are free and are available in any ecosystem.
So for me the "strength" of the apps ecosystem is irrelevant to any smartphone brand decision I might make.
While there might be lots of precedent, I'm not sure why you think companies that have been trying unsuccessfully for years are all of the sudden going to start eating Apples lunch.
Btw: I don't really think those are good comparisons. Corporate bean counters decide what memory to include in a product and where to make/buy semiconductors. Consumers decide which cellphone, tablet or PC they want to buy.
Frank: I'm not sure I agree. First, as many others pointed out, Apple seems to be going for a different consumer than Droid (or Windows or RIM or whatever). Second, people are incredibly fickle about phones. Aside from the Apple zealots, who seem to have a religious passion for Apple products, I know a lot of Apple folks who are switching to Droids. Some of it is due to price, some of it is features, some of it is Java or NFC. It's just anecdotal, but aside for those "Apple fanboys" you mentioned, I'm not sure there's a lot of loyalty out there. I think it's a sign that we're all looking for something faster, better, cheaper -- nobody is satisfied, though everyone sees the potential.
What do you say, readers: Whatever brand you use -- Are you completely satisfied with the state of the art in mobile phones? Or do you want...more? Would you change your OS to get it? Or are you tied down by your apps?
In all this pontificating about who is going to eat Apple's smartphone lunch, people seem to be overlooking the fact that for many consumers, it's not just a phone they're buying, it's an ecosystem -- an OS, third party apps, interoperability with other devices (tablets, IPTV settop boxes, etc.), and access to audio & video content. Once a consumer has invested time & money into a particular ecosystem -- whether it's iOS or Android (or some other, if indeed there is some other), including other device purchases besides the smartphone, he is far more likely to choose to stay with that ecosystem when he makes his next smartphone purchase.
It is not as simple as the derogatory term "fanboy" implies (and why is that term only used in reference to owners of Apple products?). One may, for example, be far more impressed with the quality of the camera on a particular Android phone, but if he has already made a significant investment in iOS apps, other hardware like an iPad, Apple TV, docking station/boom box, etc., and has already invested the time to learn and to make all these devices share content and interoperate, he is more likely to buy the next iPhone, despite it not having the industry's best smartphone camera or whatever.
The same is likely true for Android "fanboys" with regard to resistance to switching to Apple.