With at least two new models in the pipeline, Apple's iPhone has to boost the stocks and prove it is still the best phone in the market.
It is not very smart to discuss certain subjects with a broad audience, that's why I usually avoid writing about religion, politics, gay marriage and... Apple! But let's break the rules and talk about Apple today, or more precisely, about the new iPhone, or more precisely, the upcoming iPhones.
Last week, a couple of news crossed the web regarding current market share and possible market share after the introduction of the long rumored low cost iPhone; and both shed some light on Apple's and iPhone's future in the middle of an uprising "Apple is doomed" trend.
First we had Comscore's report of US Smartphone Subscriber Market Share for the first three months of the year, compared to the last three months of 2012. The report states that Apple saw a 2.7% increase as favorite OEM in the USA, with a market share of 39%, that's 17% more than its self appointed arch enemy Samsung.
In the Operating Systems (platforms) section, iOS had an increase of 2.7% and market share of 39% as well, gaining users from Android, BlackBerry and Symbian. Only Microsoft also had positive numbers, showing a slim 0.01% increase over the three months.
Then we had this report from AllThingsD where two J.P.Morgan analysts predict that the so called "cheap" iPhone can actually be a mid-segment phone, priced somewhere between $350-$400, and that will put the new phone in a spot currently dominated by... Samsung! (did we say self appointed arch enemy?) But more interestingly, the analysis suggests that Apple could take up to a $25 percent of this segment in no longer than a year.
Trying to merge somehow this two reports, we can conclude that Apple has managed to keep growing, at least in the American market with a flag phone that is eight months old, and two previous models that are going [almost] for free with a two years contract; and then, to get that projected 25% share from the mid-segment, Apple would have to offer a product that is significantly different from the iPhone 4 and 4S and still better -or as good as- the Android competitors.
The iPhone Singularity
So Apple needs not one, but two phones. One for the contract free user (who is also willing to drop $400 in a phone) and another one for the high end, under contract users. Maybe not a big deal for companies like LG, HTC or Samsung, which usually have 5-10 different models in the market at the same time, but for Apple, long time used to release new phones just once a year, this might be a big challenge.
But they will do it. And at this point, there are certain rumors we can consider as facts for argument's sake: the "cheap" iPhone will have a plastic back cover, 4" retina screen and will be slightly thicker and heavier than the current models. It's also expected to include a less powerful processor and camera. The high-end iPhone, which seems to be the 5S, will have a tuned up processor (just because the transition to a new processor technology and manufacturer is said not to be ready until 2014), improved camera and fingerprint sensor. I dare to add NFC to the very probably new features of the 5S. Both models will share an overhauled operating system.
Are this phones going to be up to the task to satisfy long time users, and bring in new customers? Even more important, will they keep Apple's "tremendous momentum" as Cook would say? Will they prove Apple can move faster than a T-Rex?
The Next iPhone Will Be Whatever You Want It To Be
There's no doubt about something here: you have already decided what the next iPhone will be. By now, you already know if it will be a total failure or an outstanding achievement. No matter what technology they decide to include, there will always be something left behind, Fandroids will make fun of it, and Fanboys will explain how it's better to only include proven technologies. Then Fandroids will point out how Apple is making plastic phones like those cheap ones running Android, and Fanboys will explain why their plastic cover is vastly superior thanks to some process created (and patented) by Jobs & Ive. And the plastic might actually be special, and the proven technologies might me a smart choice, but it won't matter for those who made a judgment even before the phones were introduced.
Article was originally posted on May 8, 2013