Apple is a software company
Apple does have one significant advantage in comparison to all its Android rivals (with the possible exception of Motorola Mobility, now owned by Google): software.
It has been developing operating systems since its inception. It has been developing software applications across its history. Its hardware acts as the perfect equipment on which to run its software. This approach helps Apple deliver operating systems micro-managed to run the software at maximum efficiency.
Software is everything. It is the user experience. It is the way in which a user handles and relates to their device. It is things working in a clear and logical way, and not working at all. It's the glue that makes a product good, or bad, to use. The next big test for Apple in this will be public reception to iOS7 when it is demonstrated at WWDC next month.
Brown also observes that in comparison with Google, Apple is a comparative minnow in services. That's true, but it dismisses those services Apple does offer, which include iCloud, Siri, iTunes and more. These are pretty popular, but the jury is out pending the presentation of new evidence as to how well Apple's services ecosystem will mature. Apple needs a killer app to match Gmail, Google Maps or Google Search.
It is perhaps to create compelling Web-based services that Apple is in talks with Yahoo! Maybe something will come of these, maybe they won't, but the fact remains that the company must somehow find a way to twin its software skills with future services.
However, Brown's argument that the battle for smartphone ascendancy is over is unrealistic. There's multiple tangents in which Apple — or, indeed, another firm, can fight back.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.