Since the resignation of Google CEO Eric Schmidt from Apple's board, the new "competition narrative" among tech journalists is Google vs. Apple (nice change from Google vs. Microsoft). As representative of the new "angle," BusinessWeek discusses why Apple now has a larger market cap than Google. Similarly, Forbes discusses the growth outlook for the respective companies' businesses.
Obviously in mobile the two companies compete and contrast in their strategies: iPhone vs. Android, closed vs. open, software decoupled from hardware, etc. But one of the more interesting questions raised by the juxtaposition is one we've addressed before: is the user experience going to be centered around apps or the browser? The answer is of course, both. Actually there are a continuum of experiences: native apps, "web apps" and PC rendering through the browser.
We don't know yet how all this will play out -- if we did it would be boring. But there will be both native apps and "web apps" (where Google is now focused) going forward; apps are not just an interim step toward true 1:1 experiences on PC and mobile via the browsers.
The "Google vs. Apple" narrative is thus a stand-in for the debate about the focus and nature of the mobile user experience.