Smart post from Ben Thompson about the crucial role that the retail stores play in Apple's overall approach to maintaining their lead:
iPhones are not just hardware, but also the software that runs on them. But even that is missing the whole picture. To buy an iPhone is to buy into an experience that includes everything from advertising to following the news to visiting a store to buying a phone to unboxing to downloading apps to visiting a genius and so on and so forth.
It’s no accident that the Apple Store appears twice in that sequence. It’s a critical part of the Apple experience that increases the value of an iPhone (and Mac and iPad) and works in a very specific way to counteract over-serving and help prevent disruption.