Competition

iOS devices combined -- including iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch -- may have outsold Android devices combined -- including Android phones and tablets -- by a narrow margin last quarter. During the Q1 2012 Apple conference call today, Tim Cook pegged the iOS device number at 62 million. Android numbers are harder to come by, but last month Andy Rubin said 700,000 were now being activated a day. Given the prior two months were likely less, the following month perhaps more, it probably works out to 60 or 61 million.

During the same call, Tim Cook also revealed that the Amazon Kindle Fire had no affect on iPad sales, far he can tell. Sprint ultimately paid dearly to get the iPhone on their network in order to remain competitive. Verizon announced their results today, and revealed that slightly more than half of their smartphone sales were iPhones.

Apple has long dominated their competitors in terms of smartphone profit share but recently Android was assumed to have a big lead in market share. I've long discounted that, saying it's irrelevant.

And nothing that was announced today changes that.

Apple released the iPhone 4S last quarter, almost 3 months later than many people anticipated. There was massive pent up demand for the iPhone 4S and it sold gangbusters. But Apple probably isn't releasing another new iPhone this quarter. Or next. Or the one after that. But there will be new Android phones. Maybe not next quarter, but certainly the one after, running Android 4.0 and likely once again upping the spec fight.

Carriers, who can control Android in ways Apple will never allow them to control iPhones, will push these new devices heavily -- like they did the original Droid and a plethora of devices since -- and many buyers, geek tweakers and feature-phone replacers alike, will buy them.

The market share trends and figures will change and likely change again.

But they'll remain irrelevant. Because they ultimately don't matter.

Earlier this month I walked into an Apple Store with scratches on my iPhone 4S screen and walked out 30 min. later with a new iPhone 4S and a stern lecture about taking better care of my gear. And without paying a dime.

Last week Apple released iBooks 2, iBooks Author, and iTunes U, taking the first steps towards mainstreaming digital education.

Just this week, as is almost always the case, I downloaded apps with UI so well designed, UX so thoughtful, they made me smile and delight in using my iPhone and iPad again.

The best devices, the best software, the best service. That's relevant. As a consumer, that's what matters. Not Apple's numbers. Not Google's numbers. That's what all companies should be fiercely fighting over. Delighting us. That's the metric they should all be measured by.

That should be the competition.