To Apple, the bottom line is profit margin. Otherwise if percentage of the total market is the barometer, then the likes of HP, Dell, Acer, etc, would have been viewed more valuable by the stock market.
Intel chips of course, can overtake Apple's iPads and other iOS gadgets (iPhone, iPod Touch), if other makers of tablets would stick to Intel chips, which is not a certainty unless they can produce more energy efficient chips or they buy chip manufacturers that produce the one most used in mobile computing.
There is a concept in historical analysis called determinism (I think) where simple but critical incidents can have great impact on the outcome of events that will have far-reaching impact. One famous example is the "Trojan Horse" that changed the course of the Hellenic Wars. It's just like the role of "catalysts" in determining the outcome of chemical reactions.
The Wintel technology went head-to-head with Apple in the "mobile music" hardware, and we know where that consumer technology is at right now. Will there be a change in "mobile music"? It is probable but the possibility of that happening is not likely -- until a new technology supplants the existing "mobile music"technology, e.g., Walkman (of the 1980s) to iPods in the current decade.
It was the transformation of the iPod technology to morph into a more multipurpose/multifunctional consumer/tech gadget made possible by the combination of newer technologies (ARM, and other chips technologies) and softwares (iOS) that led to the gradual eclipse but not demise of the prior iPod technology.
Here again, even in smartphones, it is probable (and may even be likely) that the likes of Androids and mobile OS may eclipse the total output of IOS hardware, but that is not a certainty. However, Steve Jobs learned from his missteps during the Apple vs Wintel competition in the 1980's-1990s, and developed a strategy beginning with the iMac aesthetics and technology/software that led to the domination of iPods in mobile music hardware technology.
So far, many other companies are simply following the lead of Apple. And, as noted by others more thoughtful tech analysts, no company has so far offered a comparable consumer product equivalent to the iPod -- which could become Apple's Trojan horse to blindside other manufacturers in terms of the future consumer choices of young people today.
Unlike the smartphone gadgets sector, Apple's other iOS products are not dependent on the mediation of telephone companies -- but dependent on Apple's marketing strategy, advertising, continuing innovation to push the boundaries and most of all, its focus in the end user, be it individual consumers or companies. So far it is doing all the correct moves.
In this regard, I hope Apple will accelerate the development of the html5, to be at the forefront and truly marginalize the ever presence of the more ubiquitous Flash. For example, my new MacBook Pro still defaults to flash version when viewing media, like You Tube. The proponents of html5 must ensure that existing and newer internet site will have a more developed html5 technology so that it will be adopted as default rather than the option. This is not a done deal, at the moment. Companies, like Google, and developers of mobile OS, may have every interest and inclination to develop and prefer Flash over html5, just to slowdown Apple's iOS gadgets marketshare.
The impression of chic, high quality, ease of use for consumers, increasing choices for Apps and their specific when combined with competitive cost will ensure Apple's position as it has done so far in the iPods.
The ecosystem carefully developed and nurtured by for its products, OSX and iOs -- is formidable in maintaining the Apple's competitiveness and more important its profitability; even if it won't be the leader in terms of total units sold. The effectivity of misinformation, e.g., open/choice vs walled garden may have impact. Also, Apps are a critical factor in the lead of Apple; but these are made by individuals and companies beholden to the iOS only so long as it serves their purpose.
As other mobile OSs come to maturation and gain traction, as Android did, then they become lucrative markets to be explored by Apps developers, as is already happening, especially among bigger gamemaker software companies.. This will be accelerated if major movers, like Google will wise up, take the risk and invest more money to develop an ecosystem comparable, if not better than that developed by Apple.
In regard mobile OS, I am not to sure about the proprietary Windows Phone 7 which has to be licensed for a fee by mobile gadget manufacturers, when they have free choices like the Android, and possibly even Chrome, in the future. Licensing fee of even $5-15 per gadget is a lot of money reducing the profit margin of hardware manufacturers, especially with the available open source OS -- that each company can fork, just like China is doing. In a sense, this is the strength and potential Achiless heal of "open source". For example, fragmentation complicated the development and subsequent consumer use of technologies. On the other hand, "standardization" can stymie development and takeover of newer and "better" technologies.
There is also a fatalistic view of history: "This too shall pass.". Nothing last!.
Empires have fallen, to the extent that the mightiest of the past are among the weaker among nations of today. And this applies too to industries (the horse buggy replaced by the train and then automobiles, etc.) and companies -- Standard Oil, Hearst Publication, MaBell, AOL, IBM (still around, but not the IBM of the 1950s to 1970s),
New technologies supplant old technologies -- affecting the fate of nations, industries and companies in turn affecting humanity.
The original visionary has impact on the lifetime of a company. We wish that Steve Jobs will leave forever. There are some in Microsoft who wish Bill Gates will come back, but he has moved on behind the simple pursuit of power and domination to more lofty goals to help improve the plight of humanity
In his own way, Steve Jobs is doing the same in his obsession with the role of technology and ease of use, to help consumers and companies. I hope Steve Jobs may have time to devote some of his contemplative time to go further.
But, even if he will not ever take the same course as Bill Gates did, his vision in technology, aesthetics and consumers will endure -- that the consumer is not a simple cash cow. One can profit without forgetting the user.