I think hardware-wise Apple can only be expected to buy IP and small, specialised players who fit their overall great plan. Besides, hardware is easily outsourceable once hou have a proper design. Then, I would argue Apple's major investments will go into software and/or content.
Think EA, a major game producer or a similar company. Games have become biger a market than music and iPhone/iPad are the devices used increasingly to play games. If you own a game producer you control for which platform the games are made, or are made FIRST for.
This would decrease the value of Sony (and others, like Microsoft), obviously, making them besieged and prompting them to think hard about their core markets.
Also, owning major gaming assets would be similar to owning major movie assets and would mean a lot of control over the market.
I believe the retail story is off the mark. They want a no hassle reseller arrangements or just do the thing exactly their way, that is build their stores by themselves, organically, I think.