FORTUNE — In the midst of a loud debate over which matters most in the smartphone wars — market share or profit share — Sameer Singh calmly analyzes the situation from the perspective of disruption theory.
Writing on his Tech-Thoughts blog, the Indian analyst from Hyderabad describes the current state of affairs — where Apple (AAPL) and Samsung share between them nearly 100% of smartphone profits — as a “trap.”
Until recently, Apple’s lopsided share of smartphone profits was protected by a deep moat — a software and services ecosystem that includes hundreds of thousands of apps, tens of millions of songs and hundreds of millions of credit card accounts.
But disruption theory says that as products improve and become “good enough” for mainstream use, it becomes increasingly difficult to create a strong value proposition by making a “better” product.
Applied to Apple, this suggests that as competing platforms catch up, the ecosystem will evolve from being a differentiator to what Singh calls a “hygiene factor” — a necessary but not a sufficient condition for purchase.
It doesn’t have to be a wristwatch, of course. But if Singh is right, Apple has to have something up its sleeve.