Apple is pushing the idea that we've entered a "post PC world." Steve Jobs pointed this out at the iPad 2 launch, saying:
"Our competitors are looking at the tablet market like it's the next PC market. That's not the right approach to this. These are post-PC devices that need to be easier to use than a PC, more intuitive. The hardware and the software need to intertwine more than do on a PC."
This positioning doesn't come as a surprise. Apple makes, and intertwines, hardware and software. Most of its primary competitors tend to focus on either hardware or software, but not both.
But Apple's vision is compelling.
Tablets and smartphones are always on, always connected devices. They are simple to use and much more intuitive than PCs. With what is effectively becoming an unlimited number of apps to choose from, they also allow users to create highly personalized computing experiences.
For Apple, this vision is a monetization bonanza. Apple creates a virtuous cycle of ever increasing hardware, software, app, network and content revenue.
If this vision comes true, it will be very hard on Apple's competitors. But as the content industry is discovering, it could also be hard on Apple's partners.