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Editorial: Apple's iOS is the new Windows

post #1 of 201
Thread Starter 
Over the last six months, Apple earned $22 billion on revenues of over $98 billion, while selling 85 million iPhones and 42 million iPads globally. The profits Apple is now earning in mobile dwarf the best mobile profit performance records set by Nokia in 2008 by more than a factor of three. Why are Apple's competitors not beating back its advances?

Smartphone industry profits
Source: Asymco


How is it possible that Apple has managed to rapidly sop up the majority of the entire mobile device industry's profits, and has since then continued to dominate the direction of the industry? The answer is an interplay of three factors: a product with clear value to a large audience; a platform that makes it sticky and resistant to competitive erosion; and its ability to fuel auxiliary sales among supporting partners.

Advent of the second coming of Windows



Ever since Apple introduced the iPhone, conventional wisdom has insisted that Apple "shouldn't" have been able to break into the smartphone industry to start with, let alone been able to outmaneuver the well funded efforts by a variety of established vendors for this many years, with no real end to its reign in sight.

Pundits have been watching for history to repeat with the emergence of a new "Windows of smartphones," first identifying Palm OS as a potential new Windows of smartphones, then Linux, then Windows Mobile, then Symbian Foundation, then Android, then Windows Phone (with some variation in sequence). Samsung has placed bets on each of these smartphone platforms.

While many members of the tech media have begun to agree among themselves that Samsung has now rivaled or perhaps bested Apple (at least in smartphone unit sales), the reality is, as Horace Dediu of Asymco recently noted in a tweet (accompanying the graphic above): "Samsung gained a level of profits equal to the industry 5 years ago. Apple created 2x value on top."

Apple isn't competing within a market that existed in 2007. It has built a much larger one around that "proto-smartphone" market, while Samsung has effectively taken over the old market for smartphones once dominated by Nokia.

If you're looking for a "history repeats itself" event, you could observe that Apple is playing the part of Microsoft this time around, while Samsung is playing the old Apple: one of the original PC makers who survived the onslaught of this new Windows and has wiped out the old competitors of the early era (the Ataris, Commodores and Acorns) to carve out a small niche, albeit one that's a lot less profitable than the business of the new larger, leader.

iOS is the new Windows



Essentially, Apple's iOS has become the Windows of our modern era. Pundits have desperately tried to instead link the iPhone to the fate of the original Macintosh, allowing them to then imagine who will be the modern day Microsoft to relegate Apple into a minority share, niche player. As a broadly licensed (and free!) platform, Android has been often suggested for this role in recent years.

The problem is that the principles (primarily the three listed above) that helped make Microsoft's Windows PC successful in the 1990s are now at work for Apple, not for the alternative platforms seeking to inherit the commercial success and longevity that the Windows PC enjoyed. In particular, these principles are not working to support Android.

While Android gets lots of ink for its success in spreading itself, it simply isn't generating the Windows-like profits that established Intel-based PCs running Microsoft's software as the dominant desktop computing platform for over a decade. Android has clearly become an important software project, much the same way that WebKit has. But Apple isn't amassing its billions for playing a key role in distributing free software for the world's web browsers.

Somewhat ironically, just as Samsung is now playing the role of the Old Apple of the mid 90s (the niche, sole survivor of the Windows 95 onslaught), Google's Android is playing the role of the Classic Mac OS: beloved by its supporters, distributed basically for free, and supporting a healthy business without any real hope of ever dominating profits comparable to the rival megaplatform that has grown up around it.

A product with clear value to a large audience



The first aspect of how Apple attained and maintains its current position explains how the company got its foot in the door. The iPhone, when it was first unveiled in 2007, so captured the attention of consumers that it figuratively sucked all the oxygen out of the mobile industry, immediately becoming a famous household brand worldwide.

It was a product with clear value to a large audience, a concept cleverly captured in a photo posted to Reddit comparing 1993 to 2013.

iPhone 1993 vs 2013
Source: Reddit user submission


The iPhone's immediate, global superstar status as a new computing product had much less in common with Apple's own introduction of the 1984 Macintosh than it had with the megalaunch of Microsoft's Windows 95. The original Macintosh got some attention, but sales didn't immediately take off. It was relatively expensive, at a price that, adjusted for inflation, would today feel like a $5,655 price tag. It was clearly a product for eager, early adopters.

Ten years after the Mac's release, Microsoft could leverage all of the goodwill, desirability and value Apple had built around its Macintosh concept to sell a software package that, for existing DOS PC users (who were entrenched and widespread years before the Mac first appeared), what seemed like an extremely cheap way to have nearly a Mac without paying much for the privilege. Windows 95 was a product with clear value to a large audience.

Android does not replicate the high value/low cost proposition of Windows 95 because you could never just buy a retail box of Android and install it on your existing BlackBerry, Palm Treo, WiMo or Symbian device and get an experience that feels like the iPhone. You couldn't even hack it to work. In fact, throughout the history of Android, not only has it been difficult to get updates for existing Android devices, most users don't even seem aware that they need updates.

I've interviewed all sorts of fervent Android fans and casual users, few of whom even knew what version of Android they were using. None seemed concerned at all about it. The only common thread among adherents was that they wanted something that wasn't Apple. More casual Android users picked up a device because it was cheap, but these users, who make up the majority of the Android installed base, have nothing holding them to the platform.

Most Windows users weren't trying to avoid Apple; they were trying to get an Apple-like product without paying a lot for it. They then got locked into the sticky Windows ecosystem. Android's fans therefore have a lot more in common with original Mac or Amiga or OS/2 fans than the masses of Windows users of the 90s. They want something unique and interesting, not a simple product with clear value to a large audience. Non-fan Android users have very little loyal attachment to the platform.

Leverage and transform for disruption



Effecting disruption of an industry by introducing a new product with clear value to a large audience isn't easy. You have to capture the attention of an audience, while ramping up production to compete against the status quo. It certainly helps if you are the status quo to start with, and particularly if you're not operating under the shadow of someone else's existing success.

Microsoft's ability to transform itself from an MS-DOS licensee into a company offering a graphical desktop computing experience that was "like the Mac but better in some ways" (as Windows 95 was frequently described at the time) has far more in common with Apple's iOS over the last decade than the appearance of Android.

Like Microsoft, Apple had an existing, successful product it could leverage and transform. In fact, Apple had two: the Mac and the iPod. Google started out with the Android Linux/Java platform it acquired with Andy Rubin. The difference is that MS-DOS, Macs and iPods were all very profitable businesses with loyal users; Rubin's Android originated as a niche player with Danger, and Sun's mobile Java platform it was based upon, while widespread, had never generated much in the way of real profits and had established no loyalty among its customers.

MS-DOS was destined to fade away in the early 90s to be replaced with a graphical desktop. In the years before Windows 95 appeared, the overall industry had once bet upon Microsoft and IBM's joint OS/2 product or something new like IBM and Apple's joint Taligent project as replacing DOS. Instead, Microsoft leveraged and transformed its own position as the vendor of MS-DOS to introduce Windows, which became so successful that there wasn't any room left at the table for OS/2 or Taligent.

Similarly, lots of people were observing around 2005 that the wildly successful iPod would run into competitive erosion from smartphones capable of playing MP3s. Instead, Apple leveraged and transformed its booming iPod business to launch the iPhone, and subsequently the iPad, which continue to syphon off most of the profits available in the in mobile market.

It was less apparent several years ago that Macs and PCs would increasingly be replaced with mobile devices. Back in 2000 a Japanese exchange student I lived with described how essentially nobody in Japan (particularly younger people) used desktop PCs anymore, instead preferring the mobility of sophisticated phones. I had a hard time believing that could be true, but sure enough, ten years later it was clear that lots of people all around the world were more interested in spending their time poking at smartphones than sitting at a desktop with a mouse or carrying around a notebook.

Having built the Mac back into a very popular computing platform, Apple had a second product with a significant audience it could leverage and transform to deliver the iPhone and later the iPad. Apple essentially combined its two products to create the iPhone: leveraging the compact mobility of the iPod as an integrated media-savvy device and the software development and OS platform of the Mac. There was no technical equivalency to Microsoft's 1995 Windows 95 replacement of plain old MS-DOS, but there was an close analogy. The pitch: "here's a new product that's better, it's affordable, and it packs readily apparent value."

While you really had to want a smartphone as an early adopter in order to have bought one prior to the iPhone, the iPhone was immediately seen as desirable to a broad spectrum of users who'd never been tempted by Microsoft's windowing WinCE experience or other smartphone platforms of the day.

iPhone 2007


Key to stoking that demand was Apple's strong product: it served clearly valuable purposes, notably being an iPod (which many users were already very familiar and comfortable with), being a very decent web browser (which users also readily recognized as a great thing) and being a cell phone (something that packed not just clear utility, but also brought with it a clear business case for a sale: you need a phone anyway, might as well get this super smart one rather than a complex, difficult to use one that wasn't great at serving as an iPod or browsing the web).

Had Apple just stopped there, the iPhone would quickly have been buried in a flurry of copycats or alternatives that learned how to also offer decent web browsing and play videos and songs. After all, Apple had also introduced laser printing with the LaserWriter in the mid 80s, brought tablets into the mainstream in 1994 with the Newton MessagePad, and launched the pioneering QuickTake digital camera in the mid 90s. It eventually lost dominance of all three new product categories to competitors.

What has changed that enabled the company to turn its more recent new product introductions of the iPod, iPhone and iPad into long term businesses, maintaining its dominant position across mobile devices?

A platform that makes it sticky and resistant to competitive erosion



The second factor that helped iOS was the ecosystem Apple had already built around iTunes. This included a library and store of content in iTunes, the easy synchronization of content originally created for iPod, and specific efforts to drop anchors in important industries: things like iTunes U for education, support for Enterprise users, and a compelling app ecosystem that carefully curated (sometimes too carefully) the market for iOS software to ensure that developers could make money creating new value for iOS users and that corporations could customize private apps for their own internal uses.

iTunes U


This is much more difficult to achieve than Apple made it look for iOS, or as Microsoft made it look for Windows back in the 1990s. In fact, Apple had previously suffered through agonizing efforts to maintain the Mac platform and keep developers from all leaving for Windows in the 1990s. It knew all too well how important developers were to the platform. It's not just hard to build a new platform, it's exceptionally difficult to build one in the shadow of a very successful, larger platform.

Google, Samsung, Amazon and Microsoft are all working to build similar mobile ecosystems for their Android, Kindle, TouchWiz/Bada/Tizen and Windows Phone platforms, but they all have little to leverage and transform apart from minority segments of customers attracted to low priced hardware. These customers are not very valuable because they don't attract the kind of developer effort that reinforces the value of the underlying platform and ecosystem, creating a vicious cycle of failure. Complicating this is the fact that there's already one that's well established: iOS.

Once reason why the Old Apple could survive through the Windows era of the 1990s was because Apple had already created a niche status among customers ready to pay for premium hardware. While many PC users scoffed at anyone who'd pay more for a Mac, the reality was that those premium consumers kept the platform alive. Once Apple began trying to chase pure market share with low end models like the mid 90s Performa line, it began collecting an audience of low value customers that did little to shore up the value of its platform.

Similar efforts by Google, its Android licensees, Microsoft and Nokia to flood the market with low end, low profit devices enable those platforms to register an uptick in unit market share, but don't have a valuable impact on supporting ecosystem because those low end users are much less likely to pay for apps and content that supports the development of new apps and content.

Microsoft has even failed to leverage and transform its very strong position in desktop Windows PCs to create a platform that makes it sticky and resistant to competitive erosion. Metro was a effort to do this, but it has clearly failed. Google's lax management of Android's software platform has resulted in an app platform that isn't sticky enough to keep Android customers from upgrading to iOS.

Similarly, Google's lax management of Android's software platform has resulted in an app platform that isn't sticky enough to keep Android customers from upgrading to iOS. Even many satisfied Android smartphone buyers also buy an iPod touch or iPad to have access to Apple's iOS platform, rather than seeking out a Galaxy Player or Nexus tablet.

That's the kind of erosion that Apple's beleaguered 90s era Mac platform suffered at the hands of Windows PCs. Today, Apple's working hard to make sure that it's easier and more attractive to buy an iOS device than to shop around for alternatives on various platforms.

There's nothing too controversial or really novel about noting that Apple is doing a good business with iOS because it started with a good product and then built a rich, sticky ecosystem around it. But there's also a third component that is also helping Apple to maintain a lock on profits in the mobile industry.

The ability to fuel the auxiliary sales among supporting partners



When Microsoft copied the Mac's desktop environment to launch Windows 95, it leveraged its background as the vendor of MS-DOS to establish strong marketing partnerships with Intel and various PC hardware makers. Windows software was a killer app for hardware vendors who were trying to sell computers against Apple's Macintosh.

Microsoft was extracting the most profits from the PC industry, but it was also enabling Intel to sell chips and hardware makers to sell PCs. Both Intel and PC makers would also have made money selling Unix PCs or DOS PCs, but if they supported Microsoft Windows, they could earn even more money because they were tapping into a platform customers were asking for by name. That demand was enough to push Intel and PC makers to support Microsoft even when it wasn't in their long term interest, effectively making them Microsoft's indentured servants.

Eventually, PC makers couldn't afford to not sell Windows, forcing them to endorse Windows to their detriment and blocking them from supporting alternatives ranging from OS/2 to Linux to ChromeOS because consumers demand Windows. At the same time however, there hasn't been much criticism from Intel or PC makers (at least until recently) about the constraints and costs of Windows because it has fueled their sales. Now that Windows 8 isn't continuing to do that, they're starting to complain. Apple has stoked a demand cycle for iPhone that also fuels a critical demand for data service.

Somewhat similarly, Apple has stoked a demand cycle for iPhone that also fuels a critical demand for data service. Rather than partnering with hardware makers as Microsoft did, Apple has partnered with mobile service providers. So many customers were flocking to buy the iPhone by name that Apple could extort favors from the carriers it chose to do business with. AT&T willingly gave Apple control over apps and content sales, software updates and key services like Visual Voicemail because access to the iPhone had the ability to fuel the auxiliary sale of a killer app: expensive data service.

While Microsoft had the market leverage in 1995 to push essentially all PC makers to support Windows in one fell swoop, Apple had to slowly built out partnerships with select carriers worldwide. It didn't have an agreement with Verizon, the second largest carrier in the U.S., until its fourth year on the market. It gained the number three carrier (Sprint) and the support of several US prepaid carriers nearly a year later, and has only achieved support across the top five American carriers when it partnered with Tmobile and US Cellular in its sixth year on the market.

Imagine if Microsoft had only started selling Windows 95 with HP PCs, and wasn't able to sell Windows through Dell until 1999, and couldn't reach agreements with the majority of PC makers until 2001. Apple is just now reaching the point where most of the primary service providers carry the iPhone. It may be hard to believe, but Samsung, Nokia and BlackBerry still have established sales agreements with far more mobile carriers globally.

While Microsoft demanded co-marketing and exclusivity agreements from its PC partners, Apple has asked for more from the carriers: control over customers, handset designs and software and service features, and massive sales commitments, paid for up front. These demands were a tall order, explaining why it took so long for Apple to sign up the majority of US carriers as iPhone sellers.

Apple could only do this because it had the first two factors: a product with clear value to a large audience and a platform that makes it sticky and resistant to competitive erosion. Armed with a proven ability to sell customers lucrative data contracts, Apple can demand a lot from carriers.

iPhone ASP
Source: Asymco


Highlighting Apple's leverage power is the fact that many carriers were adamantly opposed to partnering with Apple until they realized they had no other option. The iPhone is expensive for carriers (as noted by Dediu's average selling price chart for phones, above) in the same way that Windows was more expensive than DOS or Linux. But also like Windows, Apple's iOS attracts enough buyers to more than make up for the amount Apple asks from its partners.

After the failed launch of BlackBerry's iPhone-like Storm at the end of 2008, Verizon bet heavily on Android as a second attempt to duplicate the iPhone's ability to attract buyers and sell data contracts. Verizon mocked the iPhone in 2009 in an "iDon't ad" campaign and continued to assail iPhone 4 through the middle of 2010 in ads that promoted Motorola Droid X.

However, Android as a platform couldn't match the iPhone in attracting valuable customers to Verizon's network. As a result, Verizon embraced the iPad at the end of 2010 and added a CDMA version of iPhone 4 at the beginning of 2011. As a result, the company announced its largest launch ever.

Sprint and T-Mobile have similarly noted to investors that their inability to carry the iPhone were their top reasons for losing customers to rival carriers. After Sprint joined Apple as a carrier, it too announced its most successful smartphone launch ever.

At the end of 2011, Mary Dillon, chief executive the fifth largest American carrier U.S. Cellular told analysts her company had opted against carrying Apple's iPhone because of its upfront expense, describing the investment as "unacceptable from a risk and profitability standpoint."

A month later, Ted Carlson, the chief executive of U.S. Cellular's parent company TDS, revealed at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference that the carrier was focused on building out its 4G LTE service first, before trying to offer the iPhone.

"We're never going to say never about the iPhone," he said. "The iPhone for us would need to be at the cutting edge of where we're going, and then there might be an opportunity to consider it."

Dillon has since followed Verizon, Sprint and Tmobile in changing her tune, recently stating, "we have a number of strategies in progress to increase loyalty and attract more customers, including our announcement today that we will begin offering Apple products later this year."

As noted in a tweet by Dediu, "U.S. Cellular promised to buy $1.2 billion worth of iPhones over three years, That's roughly 2 million phones."

In reporting the about-face, a report by AP noted, "In the 18 months since she talked about rejecting the iPhone, the company has lost 268,000, or 5 percent, of its customers on contract-based plans, which are the most lucrative."

Fated to go the way of Windows?



Apple, like Microsoft, has a huge platform advantage that it could lose if if fails to keep the iPhone a product with clear value to a large audience, and iOS a platform that makes it sticky and resistant to competitive erosion. It's also at risk if it loses the ability to fuel the auxiliary sales among supporting partners. There's no indication that Apple is yet slipping in any regard, but its clear that its competitors are aware of these factors, and are working hard to chip away at public perception.

Microsoft is actively losing its Windows platform dominance as the iPad erases the Windows PC's status as a product with clear value to a large audience. Windows itself is also losing its position as a platform that makes it sticky and resistant to competitive erosion. And increasingly, Windows is losing the ability to fuel the auxiliary sales among supporting partners. Apple now has a roadmap of "don'ts" to follow if it wants to avoid Microsoft's fate.

These include ignoring problems like Windows XP's security flaws until they became massive distractions; failing to update the platform for years and then introducing massive changes like Windows Vista; and spending billions copying competitors efforts (Zune, Slate PC, Surface) rather than identifying new, original businesses. So far, Apple has avoided these particular traps while Google's Android has fallen for each of them.
post #2 of 201

Interesting article.

 

It goes to show the market is dynamic, and it's a matter of innovation.  10 years ago who would believe that M$ no longer is the dominant company, let alone being beat by a company that was ready to bankrupt at any moment?

 

Also, "Source: Reddit User Submission"?? Could you not attribute it to the actual reddit user?

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/1cbken/1993_vs_2013/

post #3 of 201
Some valid points.
post #4 of 201

Nice editorial, worth reading, but I do not agree with it.

 

Apple is losing market share worldwide and sales (numbers) are not growing at the pace of others. Yes, you may say that's because others make cheaper devices and some OEMs are on crisis and the market (worldwide) is far from saturated, but the fact is that even Apple's profits are down, so...

 

The conclusion is that they reached the maximum of the current business model, and that's a great business model. However, for iOS to be dominant, the leader, they need something else.

 

For me, it seems obvious that another premium high end line, with a bigger screen and software to take advantage of it, and even a cheaper line (250€) that offers something that the others don't (put an a5 chip, 2 year old components but just give it the same camera as the iphone 5, so it gives something that the competition can't offer at that price) are a fast, secure and solid way to create a platform that will dominate for years to come.

 

I want that, because for the first time the ones dominating are the ones that truly innovate.

post #5 of 201
Silly comparison.
post #6 of 201
"Apple is losing market share worldwide and sales (numbers) are not growing at the pace of others. "

it's usual business for Apple.

-

anyway, the new Windows is Android. Same business, Same road, Same boring stuff.
post #7 of 201
Great article, as usual, by Mr. Dilger. Thanks.
post #8 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by Macdaddyimac View Post

Interesting article.

 

It goes to show the market is dynamic, and it's a matter of innovation.  10 years ago who would believe that M$ no longer is the dominant company, let alone being beat by a company that was ready to bankrupt at any moment?

 

Also, "Source: Reddit User Submission"?? Could you not attribute it to the actual reddit user?

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/1cbken/1993_vs_2013/

 

The original post is clearly attributed and linked in the story. 

post #9 of 201
With Jony's flattening of iOS7 it may indeed be the new Windows (or at least like the new Windows).
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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post #10 of 201

Ugh I'm blind. Thanks.

post #11 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

Nice editorial, worth reading, but I do not agree with it.

 

Apple is losing market share worldwide and sales (numbers) are not growing at the pace of others. Yes, you may say that's because others make cheaper devices and some OEMs are on crisis and the market (worldwide) is far from saturated, but the fact is that even Apple's profits are down, so...

 

The conclusion is that they reached the maximum of the current business model, and that's a great business model. However, for iOS to be dominant, the leader, they need something else.

 

For me, it seems obvious that another premium high end line, with a bigger screen and software to take advantage of it, and even a cheaper line (250€) that offers something that the others don't (put an a5 chip, 2 year old components but just give it the same camera as the iphone 5, so it gives something that the competition can't offer at that price) are a fast, secure and solid way to create a platform that will dominate for years to come.

 

I want that, because for the first time the ones dominating are the ones that truly innovate.

 

First, all units are not equal. Clearly an iPhone 5 or GS4 is worth more to the manufacturer than an iPhone 4 or $150 Android device. So looking at global market share across the entire range of things that are called "smartphones" is very misleading if you're looking for clues on where things are going.

 

That's pretty obvious when you look at a market like the US, which while certainly not 100% premium devices, is more representative of the valuable segments of the smartphone market than throwing in numbers from India and China, where most phones are low end and contribute nothing to platform value (certainly not relevant to developers trying to sell apps). And US market share shows Apple advancing at the expense of Android, not the other way around.

 

Apple certainly needs to address the pricing disparity in the EU, where subsidies are less likely to hide the iPhone's price. 

 

Saying "Apple's profits are down," is clearly misleading, because this is not some trend developing. There are very clear cyclical patterns on the products it sells, so observing every spring that iPhone sales are down is rather silly. Even with slight variations in its peak quarterly profits, Apple continues to make more than everyone else in the mobile industry.

 

Apple doesn't have to sell every phone to dominate the market. It also doesn't have to dominate every aspect of the market to remain incredibly profitable. That should be evident from comparing its very small unit share against its very large profit share. Add in the sticky platform, and the fact that carriers continue to invest billions in Apple just to have access to its devices (when there are plenty of cheaper alternatives available) is something to think about.

 

I do agree with your idea for premium devices. I think Apple could make a super high end iPhone that sells well (although there's a clear advantage to continue selling an exceptional device that is still mass market, as the iPhone 5 is), I think it should continue to sell high end workstations and Retina Display MacBooks at a premium, and I think it could get into the enterprise business. But for all the things Apple could do, it's doing an amazing job of picking the ones that are the most important and valuable. 

 

I also share your opinion that "for the first time the ones dominating are the ones that truly innovate."

post #12 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

Nice editorial, worth reading, but I do not agree with it.
Then it isn't a nice article is it.
Quote:
Apple is losing market share worldwide and sales (numbers) are not growing at the pace of others. Yes, you may say that's because others make cheaper devices and some OEMs are on crisis and the market (worldwide) is far from saturated, but the fact is that even Apple's profits are down, so...
While true do we really know why. My impression is that it has nothing to do with iPhone sales. After all Apple is still getting a good price per handset.
Quote:
The conclusion is that they reached the maximum of the current business model, and that's a great business model. However, for iOS to be dominant, the leader, they need something else.
Well this I agree with. IPhone should come in a range of sizes.
Quote:
For me, it seems obvious that another premium high end line, with a bigger screen and software to take advantage of it, and even a cheaper line (250€) that offers something that the others don't (put an a5 chip, 2 year old components but just give it the same camera as the iphone 5, so it gives something that the competition can't offer at that price) are a fast, secure and solid way to create a platform that will dominate for years to come.
Apple has the same supplier base everybody else has. The only way they could put together something nobody else can is to develop it them selves. Apples A series processors are part of the equation, a relatively easy part of the equation, but the rest of the unique technology base will take awhile.
Quote:
I want that, because for the first time the ones dominating are the ones that truly innovate.

Well we will see, I'm not convinced that Apple will dominate given their current direction. They need to expand the array of iPhone devices they sell. Further they need to make sure the value equation isn't out of whack with reality. What I mean here is the rather high prices they are charging for a little bit of extra flash storage. They have not adjusted the flash tiering lately and that is a problem as the market has change considerably in the last few years. So really are they innovating and really positioning themselves to dominate the market I'd say no.
post #13 of 201
Nice work Dan! It is good to read some positive analysis of Apple rather than the hit pieces that mainstream media (looking at you NYT!) use to generate page views and try to drive down the Apple share price.

I remember playing with a Palm in 2003 in Taiwan and thinking that it would be cool to have something hand sized to keep calendar appointments & notes etc. How far we have come!

Save your friends from Skynet - whoops, Google.  Recommend they use StartPage for search..

...and no, I am not paid to say this..

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Save your friends from Skynet - whoops, Google.  Recommend they use StartPage for search..

...and no, I am not paid to say this..

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post #14 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

Nice editorial, worth reading, but I do not agree with it.

Apple is losing market share worldwide and sales (numbers) are not growing at the pace of others. Yes, you may say that's because others make cheaper devices and some OEMs are on crisis and the market (worldwide) is far from saturated, but the fact is that even Apple's profits are down, so...

The conclusion is that they reached the maximum of the current business model, and that's a great business model. However, for iOS to be dominant, the leader, they need something else.

For me, it seems obvious that another premium high end line, with a bigger screen and software to take advantage of it, and even a cheaper line (250€) that offers something that the others don't (put an a5 chip, 2 year old components but just give it the same camera as the iphone 5, so it gives something that the competition can't offer at that price) are a fast, secure and solid way to create a platform that will dominate for years to come.

I want that, because for the first time the ones dominating are the ones that truly innovate.

Apple sells three iPhone models. It's great to expand market share with cheap crap but you won't get any profit. Profits are down but they still generate a lot of profit.

I do believe a complimentary 4.5-5" iPhone is in the works, I don't believe they need a new low cost phone. That will eat away at the profits.
post #15 of 201

iOS didn't copy anyone like Windows copied the Mac OS.  Windows was for the rest of the folks and the Mac was a premium in upfront costs, but over time made up for it.  To say iOS is the new Windows is completely wrong except that the iPhone enjoys a healthy margin and its ecosystem is thriving more so than Android.

post #16 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post


Apple sells three iPhone models. It's great to expand market share with cheap crap but you won't get any profit. Profits are down but they still generate a lot of profit.

I do believe a complimentary 4.5-5" iPhone is in the works, I don't believe they need a new low cost phone. That will eat away at the profits.

I agree with you....I would love to see a iPhone 6 with a 4.5 screen and IOS 7.

Sorry a little off topic but........I am confused as to how all these analysts can predict doom for Apple. IOS dominates and the iPhone is the single best selling phone in the world. Market share is growing......platform (IOS) is growing. Profits are always great. Where is the down side? Too much cash?

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"Eventually Google will have their Afghanistan with Oracle and collapse"

"The future is Apple, Google, and a third company that hasn't yet been created."


 


 

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Tallest Skil:


"Eventually Google will have their Afghanistan with Oracle and collapse"

"The future is Apple, Google, and a third company that hasn't yet been created."


 


 

Reply
post #17 of 201
Excellent article Dan. I think your point about a 'sticky platform' strategy is absolutely critical, and that strategy will always beat the 'cheap and nasty' strategy in the long-term.

But, as you say, the 'sticky platform' strategy won't work forever if it doesn't support innovation and the redefining of existing markets as the iPhone and iPad have done. And that, I believe, is why Microsoft have come unstuck. Apple have designed iOS to be both 'sticky' and highly supportive of innovation, both within Apple and in the much wider software, hardware and services industries.

That combination is going to be extraordinarily difficult for Apple competitors to overcome if they keep looking at their bottom lines and market shares instead of doing many years of really hard work to design and build a platform that can really compete with iOS.

I think it would be great if some company succeeded in doing this, but I really can't see evidence of any company, or CEO, who has the brains, guts and determination to follow the great Steve Jobs down this long, difficult and ultimately successful pathway. Thanks Steve and Apple.
post #18 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

I don't think iOS will ever come close to being as dominant or as ubiquitous as Windows but I applaud your enthusiasm. I see Android taking over from Windows since it occupies every form and price range under the sun while iOS is limited to only Apple products. Android is available from basically free to devices to the very high end and everything in between. 

 

iOS will continue to generate huge profits for Apple but for them to take it to the next level they will have to expand by making a more affordable version and an iPhone with a larger display. They would also need to continue to expand to TV, cars, and other markets. 

 

Linux "occupies every form and price range under the sun" but did not ever become as "dominant or as ubiquitous as Windows."

 

The thing is tho, Linux is useful for specific tasks where you want flexibility you hand craft (servers, dedicated devices) and you don't want to pay for somebody else's integration. Linux hasn't become very popular on PCs because the integration work Microsoft did was more valuable than the ~$15 it charged OEMs.

 

In smartphones, the integration work Apple does is generating far greater profits. That model is also supporting Mac sales, which are holding up a lot better than Windows PCs and not losing any ground to Linux. In fact, if you want to do Linuxy things, you can buy a Mac and use the command line for your technical needs, then return to a well mannered desktop to run apps and games. Once that became a reality, the Linux PC market essentially disappeared. Nobody want to fiddle with a desktop PC, and certainly not a notebook, running DIY software.


In mobile devices, Apple's integration is even more valuable. Android offers very little price competition on comparable hardware to end users, and to licensees, the additional fees paid patent holders who own the IP Google casually appropriated means that using Android isn't free at all. 

 

If Linux couldn't gain traction on the PC where it offered a significant savings over paying Microsoft for Windows, how is Android going suddenly start allowing OEMs to make any profits now that its more expensive than ever?

Also, do a mental comparison between the profitability of generic PC makers selling against the Mac and generic phone makers selling against the iPhone and iPad. 

post #19 of 201

Good article. iOS is in the "Windows position" because it's a coherent platform. For whatever reason, everybody has conveniently forgotten that Microsoft's success came from defending its platform and destroying anybody who tried to copy it or build on top of it, not from merely being widely used. Apple solved that problem with the App Store model. Google apparently isn't even interested in having a platform. It just creates a set of open source APIs and hopes manufacturers and carriers will also want its services. We've seen widespread APIs in mobile before. JavaME was on 2 billion phones and nobody cared. Symbian was on 385 million and nobody cared. Getting your APIs on a lot of phones is a completely meaningless metric.

 

Windows was dominate not because the Windows APIs were everywhere but because Microsoft retained control over them. If anybody had been able to fork Windows or arbitrarily alter the way Windows works, Microsoft would've made about as much money from Windows as Google makes from Android ($0). They then leveraged that control to put Windows everywhere. The "open beats closed" crowd have rewritten history and are now claiming Windows won because it was "open" (even though not so long ago it was supposedly the archenemy of openness) while the Mac was "closed." Windows won because Microsoft made it so you had to use Windows. Microsoft could do that because they had control over Windows. Putting it on lots of different hardware was merely the means they used to overcome the manufacturing bottleneck (a strategy that would make absolutely no sense today given that every PC company outsources manufacturing).

post #20 of 201

Apple doesn't care about any of this. They have repeatedly said they don't care about market share.

post #21 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by oomu View Post

"Apple is losing market share worldwide and sales (numbers) are not growing at the pace of others. "

it's usual business for Apple.

-

anyway, the new Windows is Android. Same business, Same road, Same boring stuff.

It compared iOS with Windows dominance. Nothing about the business, nor road, nor boring stuff.
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post #22 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

Apple doesn't care about any of this. They have repeatedly said they don't care about market share.

You know when someone keeps repeating things over and over, they not trying to convince someone else but themselves of it.
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post #23 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flufflesworth View Post

Great article, as usual, by Mr. Dilger. Thanks.

thank your for your second post, mrs.dilger.
post #24 of 201

I agree.  Very silly article, when iPhone's market share worldwide is threatening to drop to single digits in Q3 and when Apple has dropped to less than 50% of the tablet market share (a market many pundits thought they would dominate forever) and clearly heading rapidly to 20%

 

Yes, Apple's mobile business is clearly heading the same way as their Mac business did - niche devices with a small market share. By next year we are going to see apps debuting first on Android before iOS, and having better versions there, e.g Facebook Home. The downwards momentum is pretty strong for Apple at the minute.

 

The only way Apple is like Microsoft is that they both make lots of money, but their share price will remain stagnant for the next 10 years.

 

 


Edited by fredD - 5/4/13 at 6:04pm
post #25 of 201

"Fated to go the way of Windows"???

"Apple has a roadmap of do's and don'ts to follow"???

 

Ugh. The danger Apple faces isn't failing to defend the stickiness of their platform. That just doesn't work. Microsoft tries desperately during the 90s to make sure Windows remained sticky, and they identified two threats to that stickiness: the World Wide Web and Java. This was the era of "embrace, extend, extinguish" tactics. Microsoft pushed "Best Viewed in IE4" badges on Web sites, and tried to add Windows-only libraries to Java until Sun won a lawsuit against Microsoft that ground that to a halt.

 

Defending stickiness is NOT a long-term growth strategy. It's a short-term time-buying strategy. If you have to actively defend it, then market trends are making your platform irrelevant. The forces that make it irrelevant will reward (new) players who adapt, and wipe out those that try to oppose it. The forces that finally felled Windows are: fast ubiquitous 3G/4G Internet, touch screen phones and tablets (iPads, for the most part), and consumer appetite for using technology to access web services such as Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and Instagram and Pandora, more than to run Windows-specific applications. Ironically, one of Microsoft's technologies, XHR, helped make this possible (Microsoft may have originally wanted XHR to be Windows-specific, but they didn't stop anyone else from implementing it, thus seeding Windows' future doom). The shift to using technology to access Web services (from anywhere) with connected, always-on portable devices is what will decimate Windows and PCs in consumer markets. PCs will still be relevant on the content creation side for the foreseeable future.

 

For Apple, the threats to "iDevice" stickiness will be streaming media. The iPod (and later iPad) owes much of its popularity to the popularity of iTunes sourced content (which have grown from just songs to movies, TV, and books). If Spotify or Netflix (or Google Play or Amazon Instant MP3/Video) start to eat into that, that will be an early warning sign that Apple had better get on the winning side of that trend. Inflection points for new technology can flip perceptions and consumer market share in as little as two Christmases. If Apple is smart, they'll offer the best streaming music and/or video service before anyone else does. If you think about it, on demand streaming music (personal radio) is something that would even make iCloud irrelevant for media storage, because your music is already on a server. Higher wireless data caps and/or even better music compression could be a tipping point for this.

 

There might be other trends that'll make smartphones passé. Wearable computing is one of them (smart watch or Google Glass). Advanced natural language human interfaces (talking to your device as fluently as talking to another person), are all longer-term bets about the next big thing that'll replace the smartphone/tablet as the trending way to access data and services.

 

Apple shouldn't follow Microsoft's do's and don'ts, and I don't think they will. It's not in their DNA. Apple has to do two core thing right to stay on top:

1. See where maturing technologies are coming together in the future to form great new products and services

2. Don't be afraid to cannibalize your own markets.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #26 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by fredD View Post

I agree.  Very silly article, when iPhone's market share worldwide is threatening to drop to single digits in Q3 and when Apple has dropped to less than 50% of the tablet market share (a market many pundits thought they would dominate forever) and clearly heading rapidly to 20%

 

Yes, Apple's mobile business is clearly heading the same way as their Mac business did - niche devices with a small market share. By next year we are going to see apps debuting first on Android before iOS, and having better versions there, e.g Facebook Home. The downwards momentum is pretty strong for Apple at the minute.

 

The only way Apple is like Microsoft is that they both make lots of money, but their share price will remain stagnant for the next 10 years.

That can happen, but only if developers go full-retarded. Why? 

 

  • Apple provides the best tools to develop;
  • iOS is by far the best as a platform;
  • iOS devices are, in average, one billion times more capable/better than the average Android device;
  • iOS has the best users;
  • Apple is building a huge set of awesome services for the future, services that will become unmatched.

 

How can you argue with this?

Having said all that, Facebook Home sucks and is a huge disappointment to everyone, even Facebook. Compare that to the iOS app.

post #27 of 201

Recent research shows the Android platform already has more download potential for developers and revenue is I think less but also catching up. The revenue element is obviously most important, but that will very likely exceed the iOS platform by next year.

post #28 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

Nice editorial, worth reading, but I do not agree with it.

 

Apple is losing market share worldwide and sales (numbers) are not growing at the pace of others. Yes, you may say that's because others make cheaper devices and some OEMs are on crisis and the market (worldwide) is far from saturated, but the fact is that even Apple's profits are down, so...

 

The conclusion is that they reached the maximum of the current business model, and that's a great business model. However, for iOS to be dominant, the leader, they need something else.

 

For me, it seems obvious that another premium high end line, with a bigger screen and software to take advantage of it, and even a cheaper line (250€) that offers something that the others don't (put an a5 chip, 2 year old components but just give it the same camera as the iphone 5, so it gives something that the competition can't offer at that price) are a fast, secure and solid way to create a platform that will dominate for years to come.

 

I want that, because for the first time the ones dominating are the ones that truly innovate.

How come all the demands for "innovation" end up with -  1) make cheap crap, 2) make larger screen? You really think these are so original and brilliant that nobody at Apple hasn't thought of?

post #29 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by fredD View Post

Recent research shows the Android platform already has more download potential for developers and revenue is I think less but also catching up. The revenue element is obviously most important, but that will very likely exceed the iOS platform by next year.

 

Eric Schmidt already said that. Last year. And the year before that.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #30 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plagen View Post

How come all the demands for "innovation" end up with -  1) make cheap crap, 2) make larger screen? You really think these are so original and brilliant that nobody at Apple hasn't thought of?

 

LOL. I have noticed the bar for innovation is usually lowered so that any gimmicky, spec-sheet-lengthening, kitchen-sink feature that Android handset makers put in there can be praised as "innovation" and then raised so that any feature or improvement Apple puts into its products is a sign of a "failure to blow us away."

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post #31 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by fredD View Post

Recent research shows the Android platform already has more download potential for developers and revenue is I think less but also catching up. The revenue element is obviously most important, but that will very likely exceed the iOS platform by next year.

Ah, the old Android expression is back once again: Soon. Soooooon. Sooooooooooooon Android will be profitable. Sooooooooooooooooooooooooon Android will not be fragmented. Soooooooooooooooooooooooooon Android will be the bestest in all the land.

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post #32 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by igriv View Post

If you look at how fast Samsung profit is ramping up, I think you can safely conclude that Android IS profitable.

No. No you can't. You can say that Samsung is profitable and you can say that Samsung make a profit using Android, but you can't say Android is profitable.

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post #33 of 201
Given how tainted the Windows brand is, I found the headline to be to totally wrong.
I read it as "iOS is the new loser".
post #34 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


No. No you can't. You can say that Samsung is profitable and you can say that Samsung make a profit using Android, but you can't say Android is profitable.

Good point. "Android" doesn't make money for anyone, in and of itself. The only way it makes money for Google is if it generates ad revenue; otherwise, it's just a free operating system for whatever gadget company wants to use it.

post #35 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post

Given how tainted the Windows brand is, I found the headline to be to totally wrong.
I read it as "iOS is the new loser".

That was my first impression, too. lol

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post #36 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

 
It was a product with clear value to a large audience, a concept cleverly captured in a photo posted to Reddit comparing 2003 to 2013.

 

Judging from the devices, I'm pretty sure that should be 1993, not 2003.

 

--

 

As for the comparison to Windows and DOS, my first thought always goes back to the way that PCs took over partly because they went with hardcoded graphic sizes at first... while other OSes were trying to be totally hardware and size independent.

 

The hardcoded VGA/SVGA graphics looked much better at first than the resolution independent setups, even though the latter made more sense for the long haul.

 

iOS reminds me of that aspect of PCs.

post #37 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post


Not necessarily. Selling a more affordable iPhone might have similar if not greater margins than their current model of selling older iPhones as their cheap offering.

Apple doesn't do cheap.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

You know when someone keeps repeating things over and over, they not trying to convince someone else but themselves of it.
Like how Android is winning?
Quote:
Originally Posted by fredD View Post

I agree.  Very silly article, when iPhone's market share worldwide is threatening to drop to single digits in Q3 and when Apple has dropped to less than 50% of the tablet market share (a market many pundits thought they would dominate forever) and clearly heading rapidly to 20%

Yes, Apple's mobile business is clearly heading the same way as their Mac business did - niche devices with a small market share. By next year we are going to see apps debuting first on Android before iOS, and having better versions there, e.g Facebook Home. The downwards momentum is pretty strong for Apple at the minute.

The only way Apple is like Microsoft is that they both make lots of money, but their share price will remain stagnant for the next 10 years.
Heavens forbid Apple keep making lots of money. I thought the goal was market share even though that doesn't pay the bills.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fredD View Post

Recent research shows the Android platform already has more download potential for developers and revenue is I think less but also catching up. The revenue element is obviously most important, but that will very likely exceed the iOS platform by next year.

Ah. Good old projections. In 2009, net books were predicted to rule the PC world. In 2006, windows mobile and blackberry were projected to dominate smart phones for the foreseeable future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by igriv View Post

If you look at how fast Samsung profit is ramping up, I think you can safely conclude that Android IS profitable.

Samsung is profitable. Android is not. No one else has made money selling androids.
post #38 of 201

Really enjoyed the article...Thanks for the "weekend reading!" :)

post #39 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by igriv View Post

1. No one but Apple has made money selling iDevices.

2. As for Android not being profitable, I didn't realize that charity was such a strong motivating factor for hardware companies. My opinion of human nature is increased.

You're all sorts of wrong on everything here. Android is not Samsung and Samsung is not Android. Google owns Android and is still many billion in debt for it. Samsung is the only vendor using Android that is well above breaking even.

Foxconn sells iDevices. They sell them to Apple. The price they sell them to Apple is what is determines how much is paid to the holder of licenses for patents, specifically wireless patents.

Oddly you want to call of Samsung's profits profits for Android but you don't want to call any of Apple's profits profits for Foxconn. Do you really not see how you're not understanding what companies control what brands?

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post #40 of 201
Fortunately, Apple is not charging outrageous prices for each new version of iOS. Now there is a place Android and Samsung could go.
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