Originally published on LinkedIn September 9, 2014
Steve Jobs introduced the world to the iPhone in 2007, and as we all know, it has since become one of the most sought after phones. Since its launch, subsequent versions have undergone several enhancements. However, the new iPhone and the long awaited iWatch are true product meliorations, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the arrival of the first one. The reason for bringing up iPhone 1, or the first generation handset, is because it was a conspicuous and remarkable product evolution, one which ostensibly gave birth to modern smart phones and Apps.
What Did Apple Do Exceptionally Well?
Payment is a vital part of our daily lives, so getting just a bit of the action will bode well to improve Apple’s top-line. As security breaches become pervasive, retailers salivate over novel, but safer ways to protect themselves, again, Apple has the solution to their problems. The opportunistic timing of Apple Pay will increase adoption, usage and market share of its payment business globally. It coincides with the impending regulation which mandates safer “chip-and-PIN” cards by 2015.
Bringing different stakeholders together e.g., credit card companies, retailers and others to form a frictionless payment experience that works, is the most spectacular thing that was achieved. Product manufacturers will always improve their offerings, however the ability to succeed in getting consumers to change their habits is one of the most difficult codes to crack. Different players have tried, from Google Wallet, PayPal and ISIS, recently rebranded as Softcard; a joint venture amongst AT&T, T Mobile and Verizon in the mobile payment space. ISIS also partnered with Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Irrespective of the Apple experience, and iPhone lovers syndrome; we still have to give it time to see how U.S. consumers will adjust and if mobile payments will increase in usage.
iPhone 6: Expectation vs. Reality
- Expectation: Bigger Screen, NFC Technology > standard in Korea and Japan, Waterproof like Samsung, Wireless Charging, Sapphire Screen, Live widgets running in the background and ease of accessibility like Windows and Android (OS), lastly for the wishful thinkers > integration with Google Apps.
- Reality: Everything you need to know is here Blog and Video update is here
Are non-iPhone Lovers Really Missing Out?
Let’s be objective, not liking the Apple brand for whatever reason is different from not liking the iPhone. If there are such people, the text in italics might serve as consolation.
“After reaching an inflection point, which is the moment we are currently experiencing, the notion of my smart phone is better than yours becomes inconsequential, and lacks conversational merit. Most smart phones, not in any order e.g., Samsung, Fire Phone, LG, Nokia, HTC, Xiaomi and Apple are comparable in look, feel, design and most important functionality. However, most modern smart phones, if not all, are derivatives of the iPhone, including modern BlackBerry phones.”
Certain features attract some people to certain devices; conversely distinct market advantages, in addition to features, will draw certain consumers to other phones e.g., Amazon’s Fire Phone. Given the rumors and a huge wearable category, the iWatch wasn’t a big surprise, however it was nice to see Apple’s version vis-à-vis Motorola’s, Samsung’s, Sony’s and Pebble’s. Back in June, Piper Jaffray’s Sr. Research Analyst Gene Munster, alluded to iWatch and some other connected devices, his assertions were substantiated by Apple’s WWDC event, Tim Cook’s comments and industry gossip.
When Is The Next Battle Between Apple and Samsung?
As business partners and competitive rivals, it’s inevitable the Nemesis & Frenemy saga will continue. I remember the first phone Samsung launched to counter the iPhone in 2008; it was dubbed “The iPhone Killer” the official name, Samsung Instinct. It was a great phone, I know because I bought and enjoyed a lot of its cool features. The most memorable one, the phone spoke to me, not literally, but it pronounced the name of the caller while ringing etc. Given Samsung’s tentacles in a lot of different things and its vertical integration model, Apple is in a precarious relationship because of its reliance on Samsung for components such as the A7 chip in the iPhone 5s. Their awkward business relationship doesn’t seem to stop patent lawsuits, and I am sure several will play out across Pacific and Atlantic courtrooms.
Global Market Share Code for World Domination
iPhone 6 is currently priming the pumps, and it’s well positioned for a bumper sale over the busiest holiday season coming in December. Apple is already one of the most valuable companies in the world, imagine if it had a larger market share globally, what sort of units will it be shipping out. In order to grow market share, Apple tried the low cost strategy with iPhone 5c in 2013, it didn’t really catch on in the U.S., perhaps consumers didn’t want to be associated with baseline iPhones. If Apple had focused a lot more on the international markets with the iPhone 5c, the likelihood is, it would have probably worked, easier said than done. Proving it works in the U.S., then going overseas may have been the wrong strategy, again, easier said than done. Besides Virgin Mobile, Metro PCS and others not mentioned, here in the U.S., we take the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S5 prices for granted because they are subsidized by the main carriers, hence two-year contracts. In China, India, Nigeria and Egypt which are some of the largest mobile phone markets in the world, they have to pay the full price of around $600 or more. Hence the reason Samsung sells more phones globally, because it realized early enough, and started manufacturing smart phones to cover all spectrums.
Which Is The Big Winner Google’s (OS), Samsung or Apple’s iOS?
Undeniably, Samsung’s success is inextricably linked to Google’s open source Andriod (OS). The same goes for the rest of the devices running on Android e.g., HTC, LG and tons more. Google has done more than a fantastic job of making Android the world’s number one (OS), lest we forget, Google did not create Android it was a $50,000,000 acquisition in 2005. I just wanted to attribute some credit to the founders; Andy Rubin, Rich Miner, Nick Sears and Chris White. Back to the question, who’s the big winner? An open source system will always have more scale in the long run, while a closed system like Apple’s iOS will always retain control, it’s down to preference and strategy. Samsung sells more phones globally, but Apple makes more money on its units. The speed with which other manufacturers created their smart phones and entered the market would have been impossible without leveraging Google’s Android. For example if we were to study Xiaomi, a relatively new phone and tablet manufacturer from China; currently giving Samsung, LG and Apple a run for their money, its rapid ascent wouldn’t have been meteoric. They all win in different ways, of all the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) Samsung has probably gone farthest to customize Andriod’s (OS).
Thanks for the Likes & Shares: If you enjoyed this, you may find my first Apple article interesting The Full Story Behind Beats $3 billion Acquisition
P.S. This article was posted before Apple’s announcement and product launch.
Source: comScore’s U.S. Digital Future in Focus 2014
Samsung’s lead over Apple in market share grows