This is a subscriber only article; the headline says it all. While many companies make phones, it’s very hard to make significant profit from hardware manufacturing. Apple is one of the few companies that has figured out how to make significant profits from hardware as well as software.
The PC industry and the television industry aren’t very different either. While many companies make hardware, the pricing is commoditized to a level that one can only make significant profits through add-on services & accessory sales.
There is also significant burden to bring a product to the market with the channel taking a large % as fees for selling the product.
Apple is definitely a company to admire when it comes to making profits from hardware.
Roughly 1,000 companies make smartphones. Just one—Apple—reaps nearly all the profits.