It seems there is a bit of underlying fear among Apple users that stems from the old days. Many remember how dominant the Macintosh was over the original PC and how that position changed so drastically that by the 90’s, Apple seemed everyone’s favorite candidate for hostile takeover.
For Apple enthusiasts, those memories are never too far from their mind and every Apple move, product, decision, market statistic, and rumor gets passed through that filter. “Is Apple going to crash again?” “Am I going to be forced back into Windows?” Users are so dependent on Apple’s products that they fear losing them in the future. This collective mindset is not unknown. Reporters and pundits often examine Apple moves in light of “what went wrong” back in the 80’s and 90’s and predicting Apple’s next demise is great sport. Joe Wilcox just wrote a much linked piece attempting to apply this to the developing iPhone/Android market. (Gruber responds here.)
The thing is, this fear is irrational. Nobody at Apple is afraid.
Apple has its own, fairly obvious, plan: Dominate the top of the market. They make a high-end product with very few compromises. They are happy to sell 10% of the market with high profits and let the rest of the hardware manufactures race to the bottom for small profits on volumes of junk. I think this is also true for the iPhone. As demonstrated by the the meteoric rise of Apple’s stock combined with the company’s piles of cash reserves, this plan works.
There is a significant portion of the market that wants a controlled, superior interface and is willing to pay for it. Apple simply needs to continue to make superior products. Market percentages are not what will hurt Apple, corporate indifference to making superior products is. I think Apple is aware of this and I don’t think Apple users have anything to be afraid of.