Yeah, crediting the iPod, iPhone, and iPad for why Apple is so much more successful than Google or Microsoft is a loaded headline, or would be if Mark Sigal from O'Reilly didn't point it out in so succinct a fashion:
The following inconvenient facts must be an affront to the horizontal, commoditized, open, market share zealots. Apple has launched three major new product lines since 2001: the iPod (October, 2001); the iPhone (July, 2007); and the iPad (April, 2010).
The company's stock is up 3,000 percent since the launch of iPod, 125 percent since the launch of iPhone, and 20 percent since the launch of iPad.
In that same time period, the major devotees of the loosely coupled model -- Microsoft, Google, Intel and Dell -- have been, at best, outpaced by Apple 6X (in the case of Google dating back to the launch of iPod) and at worst, either been wiped out (in the case of Dell) or treaded water (in the cases of Microsoft and Intel) in every comparison period.
ChangeWave's Paul Carton says consumer interest in Android is rising at the expense of iPhone, but at the same time Horace Dediu from asymco points out that counting non-Google approved Android devices, and Android devices like Verizon's Fascinate where Google is torn out, Google actually makes far more money from iPhone where they're the default search engine, map provider, etc.
Now, just like Stephan Colbert isn't truthful but "truthy", and dime store popsicles aren't chocolate but "chocolatey", Google isn't really open but "openy", and neither is Microsoft, but it doesshow that just who won -- or will win -- what PC or smartphone war against Apple depends entirely on how you frame the terms of victory.