I believe Apple’s endgame is to make the best product it can. That’s it. Everything else — profit, market share and sales — come because of that.
Making the best product has many complicated aspects to it. You have to think about usability, functionality, design and thousands of details in each one of those categories. Apple thinks of them all and addresses them before a product comes to market.
Jim and I have disagreed on the topic of competition before, but I must say, I think he's got it right with this.
Regardless of your feelings toward Apple, it's clear that they are playing a different game than most other manufacturers. Apple places a degree of focus and care on its products that no other manufacturer seems to be able to match. And sadly, rather than innovating, Apple's competitors seem keen to wait for these details to become clear before creating their own product. As a result, we end up with blatant copies.
Many have argued that there are only so many designs that can be applied to the touchscreen smartphone or tablet design, but that argument is a cop out. Innovators should not be bound by such questions. Let's not forget that tablets were built long before Apple introduced the iPad, and none looked like the iPad. If it was so obvious to build such a product, as Jim argues, "why weren’t they done before?"
At the moment, the competitive landscape is unremarkable, and that is just sad.