One of the main reasons why Apple is so difficult to dethrone is their software. They cannot open source that because it would certainly be the end of their massive profits. If they did that, they would lose a substantial part of the crazy huge markup they operate on. Currently to make an iPhone costs approximately 300 bucks and they sell it for 1,000. That is because they’re not only selling users the phone but also unparalleled support, proven stability across all devices, and access to their numerous services. The cost of running these addon services doesn’t even factor into reducing handset sales revenue because they pay for themselves (case-in-point: iTunes). About 40% of the cost of an iPhone is pure profit.
Now, if they open source their software, they’ll lose control of the markup they add because they will only benefit from royalties which couldn’t come close to the profits they make now. They’ll also be introducing fragmentation which is a major problem for Android. In the Android ecosystem, phone companies are essentially cannibals because if one rises, it does so at the expense of another. That is why you see major headlines that Samsung is now on top, or Huawei is taking the world by storm, or Xiaomi will conquer all if it comes out of China.
The simple fact is that there are two ponds; Android, and Apple. Apple can do whatever it wants because the battles happening in the other pond barely affect it.
Remember Google bought Motorola and shortly sold it to Lenovo? It’s because they saw how cutthroat the competition is and how difficult it is to stay afloat as a struggling handset manufacturer. Companies like Sammy, Xiaomi, and Huawei have some wiggle room because of their already big market shares and massive budgets. Samsung only recently started to leverage that by producing ‘premium’ phones and selling them just as expensive as the iPhone. Tell a small company to do that and they won’t stay afloat even for a year.
Finally, let’s face it. Apple enjoys cult-like following in the U.S and other high income countries.