∞ Apple can be copied, but can it be beat?

Apple has some of the best selling computers in the market, it’s the No. 1 music distributor, it sells movies, TV shows, iPods and it’s changing the mobile space with the iPhone and App Store. It’s also one of the most copied companies in the world, but can anyone beat them? iPhone 3GSIt’s almost funny to watch companies line up to put out products that mimic Apple’s look and functionality. Apple puts out a new iPod and all of a sudden there are iPod clones all over the place.

It’s not just small companies looking to make their mark — big companies have resorted to blatantly ripping off Apple’s ideas. One of the most obvious examples recently is the Microsoft Store.

Companies have copied the iMac design and have tried to mimic the functionality of the iPhone, but everyone is coming up short. Nobody seems to be able to create that product that sets Apple back on its heels, leaves it reeling from the pain of being outdone.

I think there are a couple of reasons for this, which help explain why Apple will not be beat in the markets it competes in.

First and foremost, the companies that compete with Apple are competing with the product that it just released. Apple releases something, companies scramble to copy it and get it on store shelves.

Unfortunately for them, Apple has already moved on. The product they released is old and they are working on the next version of software and hardware to make it even better.

There doesn’t seem to be anyone with the vision to outdo Steve Jobs and the talent he has been able to attract at Apple. In order to beat Apple, you have to know what Steve is going to do next year, the next three years and the next five years.

Without that knowledge, competitors will be left copying Apple’s products.

There is no doubt that Jobs is a unique individual, and he is probably one of the greatest tech visionaries there is, but he’s also smart enough to surround himself with the brightest people in the business.

The talent at Apple is second to none, period. With the vision of Jobs and the talent of the employees, it’s hard to imagine that another company could outthink or outperform the innovative products.

Most of the products that try to compete one-on-one with Apple lose. The iMac clones failed, the iPod clones failed, there is nobody even close selling as much music and every smartphone on the market is compared to the iPhone.

Even Nokia is giving up the fight with Apple’s retail store in London, England. They just weren’t able to compete.

Apple is taking on all comers and at this point, it’s hard to see anyone that can stop them.