Google co-founder Larry Page recently made assertions that Android isn't copying the iPhone and Google's involvement with Android's OS pre-dates Apple's device launch. Technically and factually he's correct. Google bought Android in 2005; the iPhone was released in 2007.
However the fact is that the current incarnation of Android and its accompanying devices owe almost everything to the iPhone, from the touch screen to the Android market. What's different is the "open" and Microsoft-like multiple OEM device strategy.
But the latter point is all that may matter, now that Verizon's $100M in marketing has established an identity for Android and the Android Market has 100K apps. Apple can no longer claim apps as a meaningful advantage.
In addition, the company's stubborn refusal (which must be contractual) to "open up" to carriers other than AT&T in the US has caused many (i.e., me) to go with Android devices despite my personal preference for the iPhone.
As I've written many times, Android is not as polished as the iPhone and there are numerous "kludgy" aspects to it. But there's enough to like that it has become a credible alternative to the iPhone. And now that Android has created "enough" apps there are fewer reasons to hold out for an iPhone.
Does it matter to most consumers if iPhone has 250,000 or 300,000 apps to Android's 100,000? The answer is "no." These numbers are so large now that they cease to be meaningful, especially to ordinary consumers.
Android has now crossed a kind of "credibility threshold" vs. the iPhone. Apple might have been able to pre-empt that momentum if it had wisely expanded to other carriers in the US earlier this year. But that moment, it seems, has passed.