It can’t be good news for Apple that Steve Jobs has to go on medical leave at precisely this point of time. The ecosystem that the maker of the iPhone and iPad dominates is set for a battle that will see Google pushing harder for wider adoption of its Android platform across smartphones and tablets.
Android dislodged the iPhone as the top smartphone operating system (OS) in November in the US, although that’s a bit like saying Windows outsells Apple’s OS for PCs. Meanwhile, a rejuvenated Windows smartphone OS is winning some converts with its strikingly counter-intuitive look.
But it’s the tablet business that will be most interesting to watch. Every rival hardware maker and quite a few software providers are hoping Apple won’t be the only game in town, as has happened with music and iTunes. With Jobs temporarily away, they may be feeling a tad more confident.