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Emerging iPhone contenders charted, compared by RBC

post #1 of 72
Thread Starter 
With Apple's influence hanging over the Mobile World Congress event this week, the Royal Bank of Canada has released a comprehensive comparison chart of eight contenders that threaten to steal some of the iPhone's customers.

Though the firm still sees the iPhone as solidly superior to its competition, analyst Mike Abramsky told clients he's still concerned about the risk posed to Apple with the crop of newcomers.

"Some -- notably Google, Palm, Microsoft, HTC -- appears to offer 'good enough' functional alternatives, including PC-like internet browsing, consumer UI/navigation, touch manipulation, messaging, applications/services, carrier functionality -- with alternative hardware form factors (e.g. keyboards, sliders, etc) that may appeal to some potential iPhone customers," he wrote.

Abramsky believes multiple launches on North American and European carriers, expected in the second half of this year, could force Apple's hand on pricing and marketing as the newcomers compete for mindshare and carrier shelf space. The analyst said that any new iPhone models -- referring to his research note from earlier this month -- could enter a "more competitive landscape" than the previous versions of Apple's popular smartphone.

"We see possible revaluation...on revised growth/margin expectations, lowered visibility, and renewed uncertainty re leadership," he concluded.

Abramsky isn't the first Wall Street analyst to suggest that Apple may alter its iPhone pricing structure when a third-generation model hits the market sometime this year. Earlier this month, both Kaufman Bros' Shaw Wu and Bernstein's Toni Sacconaghi issued similar comments. Wu cited sources who said Apple and AT&T were discussing the possibility of offering customers more data plan options, including some restrictive but more affordable plans, while Sacconaghi simply cited comments from a one-on-one meeting with Apple's acting chief executive Tim Cook that suggest the company is looking into "different pricing/price points" for the hardware itself.

RBC Capital surveys the crowded landscape of iPhone's upstart competitors

Abramsky, taking a much more bearish view than most other Wall Street watchers who follow the Cupertino-based iPhone maker, maintains his Underperform rating and $70 price target on shares of AAPL.
post #2 of 72
It would have been nice if the iPhone had been included (preferably the first column) in order to actually compare.
post #3 of 72
Someone need to tell this guy that Apple makes other things beside the iPhone!
post #4 of 72
Monday, May 12th, 2008 - RIM announced a $150 million BlackBerry (NSDQ: RIMM) Partners Fund along with RBC, Thomson Reuters, and several private Canadian investors. Can anything RBC say regarding iPhone be taken seriously by investors? They should at the very least preface anything they say in this regard with "We have a massive financial reason to see iPhone fail". When is the SEC going to investigate these analysts, who clearly have a vested interest in seeing certain stocks move in certain directions?
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post #5 of 72
Did they intentionally pick the photos with the ugliest angles and the most cluttered screens? Since the author was trying to claim that the iPhone is nothing special, I'd have guess the opposite. Or is the iPhone really so much cleaner designed than the others that it's obvious from just a glance?
post #6 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Monday, May 12th, 2008 - RIM announced a $150 million BlackBerry (NSDQ: RIMM) Partners Fund along with RBC, Thomson Reuters, and several private Canadian investors. Can anything RBC say regarding iPhone be taken seriously by investors? They should at the very least preface anything they say in this regard with "We have a massive financial reason to see iPhone fail".

Doesn't look like the Storm made the list of contenders.

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post #7 of 72
This article makes me laugh. It has been nearly two years since the iPhone hit the market, with no overly significant upgrade, and the industry is still trying to play catch-up. These phones aren't even released yet, and the only one at that list that can even half-way compete is the Pre, and that's only because they blatantly ripped off Apple's UI. After all the "competitors" of the past (LG Voyager, Samsung Instinct, Blackerry Storm), nobody has been able to touch Apple, and it looks like it's going to stay that way for a while.
post #8 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Doesn't look like the Storm made the list of contenders.

Is that because all of the phones that were listed are 'upcoming phones' The Storm is already out.

I've played around with the Storm and although I love Blackberry - this thing is sluggish compared to the iPhone.
post #9 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

This article makes me laugh. It has been nearly two years since the iPhone hit the market, with no overly significant upgrade, and the industry is still trying to play catch-up. These phones aren't even released yet, and the only one at that list that can even half-way compete is the Pre, and that's only because they blatantly ripped off Apple's UI. After all the "competitors" of the past (LG Voyager, Samsung Instinct, Blackerry Storm), nobody has been able to touch Apple, and it looks like it's going to stay that way for a while.

Yep and I doubt Apple's R&D folks have been twiddling their thumbs these last two years either.
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post #10 of 72
I say again ...

When is the SEC going to investigate these analysts, who clearly have a vested interest in seeing certain stocks move in certain directions?
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post #11 of 72
price target of 70 lol just too funny
post #12 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by yalag View Post

price target of 70 lol just too funny

Don't laugh, if they keep printing this stuff it may just happen! Someone please drag RBC in front of the SEC.
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post #13 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Don't laugh, if they keep printing this stuff it may just happen! Someone please drag RBC in front of the SEC.

Here..here. They do have a vested interest in seeing the market move against apple...
post #14 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Don't laugh, if they keep printing this stuff it may just happen! Someone please drag RBC in front of the SEC.

Totally agree with that.

Didnt they say the same things about the iPod? It would never be able to compete? You can list all the stats you want (like 20,000 Apps for the Windows mobile phone ) and if the total package doesnt work as seamlessly, is it really going to steal market share? How many bajillions of iPod clones were there and doesnt Apple still have >70% market share?
post #15 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Don't laugh, if they keep printing this stuff it may just happen! Someone please drag RBC in front of the SEC.

You keep talking about bringing the SEC into this, but I'm curious to know what authority you think they have over RBC.
post #16 of 72
These analyst seem to mis an important consideration which is Mobile OS! Nothing on the market is as well done even considering that Apple has a long way to go to call Mobile OS finished. Thus Apple can easily address the competition by simply fleshing out Mobile OS. They can do that by addressing the following:

1.
Implement the major Bluetooth profiles and make the facility accessible from the SDK.

2.
Work on the robustness of the Mail app.

3.
Widely implement syncing across supplied apps. Here I'm especially interested in notes which should sync across Mobile Me and Mac OS. While notes is important they really need sync implemented on other apps such as stocks. Otherwise the the apps are nothing but toys.

4.
Implement, with in Safari, the ability to view far more media streams than is currently supported. I have no control over what any one web site uses for movies. As such I don't want to be limited in what I can view because the format is not native to Apple.

5.
Item four above highlights a big improvement to Safari and the iPhone in general. Safari itself needs a bit of work though. Specifically in the way that it handles scrolable text boxes on a page. Or more specifically does handle. There is nothing worst than reading an artical with some code embedded in a scrollable box and not being able to scroll that box to read the code.

6.
IPhone needs a common read/writable storage area for apps and for access from the Mac. In otherwords a home directory that can be mounted when attached via USB. The purpose is to have a place for user documents, for storage (like a USB drive), for use across apps and to allow apps such as Safari to save. It is most frustrating to want to save a web page or other document for latter reference on a real PC and to not be able to do so. Basically this is highlighting the need for apps to be able to open and save documents outside the sand box.

7.
While Notes is nice iPhone needs a text editor. The goal here should be to support larger documents than Notes and to be able to properly save those documents to a publically accessible area on the iPhone as described above. One does not want to write long documents on iPhone often but it does crop up, further editing said documents is very important. Ideally the editor would have transparent access to network residing files. If the editor could do highlighting of HTML, the various C's, Python and various other text files that would be icing on the cake.

8.
For Caledar we need an alarm option that does not shut off until acknowledged. The big problem with calendar is that you can mis alarms simple because of ambient noise. So we need an Alarm Forever option.

Ok these are just 8 ideas that come to mind real fast. The core OS does need work though. The thing is Apple has a substantial lead and can maintain that lead if they continue to push forward.

Dave
post #17 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHKOsta View Post

You keep talking about bringing the SEC into this, but I'm curious to know what authority you think they have over RBC.

OK the cavalry if you prefer. I wasn't trying to have a in depth discussion about regulatory bodies simply pointing out the motives that RBC have for this the second such attack on Apple in as many months. Some one needs to do something to protect share holders from this sort of thing. Who is responsible to prevent share price manipulation then, please tell me?
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post #18 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

It would have been nice if the iPhone had been included (preferably the first column) in order to actually compare.

I agree. How do we chastise the RBC dweeb?
post #19 of 72
When I want advise on my tech purchases I always turn to the Royal Bank of Canada.
post #20 of 72
I don't see much hope for WindowsMobile or Symbian, seeing as they're OS's with major legacy baggage. However, Android has a chance to catch up with OS X Mobile.

It's based off Linux and Apache Harmony (alternative Java implementation), and uses other robust code like WebKit. It's built by a company (Google) with good programming resources and a proven track record in developing internet applications. The first Android phone showed a lot of promise, even though Android is still showing its use. It also has an advantage over MobileMe, because a user can already sync their mail, contacts, calendars and other data with Google's free websites.

Also, I've read a couple of postings from developers who have argued that Android is *easier* to code for than the iPhone. It helps that developers can use Java, which is the most popular programming language. This means there will be potentially more apps sold on Google's app store.

There's also JavaFX Mobile, which is a promising mobile app development kit. However, it's not an operating system in of itself, so it won't compensate for WindowsMobile's and Symbian's shortcomings.
post #21 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by robinf1 View Post

When I want advise on my tech purchases I always turn to the Royal Bank of Canada.

Unfortunately their 'tech' advice managed to do severe damage to AAPL recently and this may again, but hopefully not.
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post #22 of 72
Since when are we taking advice on electronics from a bank and let alone Canada.

And LMAO @ anyone who thinks anyone of those "phones" are ever going to replace or even come close to replacing my iPhone.
post #23 of 72
AT&T should be able to drop pricing on their data plans given the high level of utilization that the iPhone has provided; it has allowed a significant portion of the investment in 3G to be recovered. The success of the next generation is largely going to be a function of the success of AT&T to retain customers and provide improved levels of service at a lower price point.

Sprint is going to be challenged just to stay in business to see the launch of the Pre.

As for competitor designs, too many are still going with the Kitchen Sink approach and trying to match Apple's offering. It is much better for most of these companies to try to fragment the market with mulitple offerings that focus on different needs... like RIM with the Bold and the Storm, only getting it right.
post #24 of 72
no mention that ONLY the iPhone has multitouch...

comparison: FAIL
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post #25 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Unfortunately their 'tech' advice managed to do severe damage to AAPL recently and this may again, but hopefully not.

That doesn't sound familiar to me. And it stands to reason that anyone considering buying or selling AAPL would come across information regarding RBC and their close ties to RIM. Big houses and day traders alike are wary of their analysis of tech stocks, particularly those significantly tied to the smartphone market. The only way RBC could have a legitimate effect on AAPL's market price is by not holding any shares, and it's their right not to buy them. By the way, RBC is big enough to have some effect on share pricing, if it was so inclined. RBC doesn't affect AAPL's intrinsic value or its dividend distribution, however. If RBC isn't playing for it, all the better for the rest of us.
post #26 of 72
This is a terrible assessment of challenges to the iPhone.

First Apple has jumped miles ahead of everyone else in terms of complete integration. Windows mobile is just know getting and equivalent to Mobile me in the free My Phone (I can see antitrust arising if Microsoft had any hope of being successful with this one). None of the other products listed is even remotely close to the iPhone in terms of integration. Symbian is borrowing money had over fist from Nokia, Google Android looks like and acts exactly like an Android much like the rest of google, how they have succeeded in creating function without elegance is beyond me. Gmail is just now becoming useful with themes and IMAP. Proprietary OSes listes in the last column, hmmm, let me think this stinks like IBM.

Secondly are they for real or is this there wishlist so they can get in at Apple at the $70. If they get lucky and Apple does in fact go that low they will be buying like stink cause they now their list is Bull.
post #27 of 72
A chart that ignores the software and seamless-entertainment dimension is useless in this era of mobile devices.
HUGE OVERSIGHT! NEXT.
post #28 of 72
That chart should be honeycomb shaped. Also, where is the "20k apps" come from under the WM6 column?
post #29 of 72
What Abramsky doesn't really highlight is that except for a couple of phones, Apple's next iPhone and iPhone 3.0 software will likely beat them to market. And I expect something big from Apple. You see, the iPhone 3G was pretty much locked down capability and design-wise by late summer 2007, so Apple only had a couple of months of iPhone-consumer interaction. Without having a hands-on market response, Apple was likely to be conservative with its design for the iPhone 3G. But Apple had over a full year's worth of reactions before locking down this next iPhone in late summer 2008. So I fully expect Apple to surprise us; to zig when everyone expects them to keep zagging.

Although Abramsky is looking at forthcoming models, he, like most analysts, is still looking backwards, just like the handset makers - they are focused on and comparing themselves to what Apple has already done. Rather, the handset makers should really be studying what experiences can be provided to advanced but mainstream users with soon-to-arrive future technology - touchscreens and App Store be damned! - and beat Apple to that spot. (Remember going to where the puck is going to be!) But Apple is so, so, so into their heads, that they've lost even before they've begun ...

Those that do look to the future often run astray in two ways. First, they add too many expensive hardware features and price themselves out of the mainstream market and into a niche market. Another way of saying this is they misjudge the appropriate balance of technologies. This looks to be the case with the Samsung Omnia HD (note the TBD price!), just like it was for the Nokia N95. How many people want to pay an extra $300 to get that super-duper camera in their phone? Wouldn't more people have wanted flash memory in those first gen N95s? Second, they poorly forecast technology such that the hardware turns out to not be able to fully support the software in providing the experience they were hoping for. (But if you're really good at software, you can sometimes better exploit hardware and be able to deliver the good experience first - a big advantage.) Microsoft's Origami and their partners UMPC are a shining example of running astray in both of these ways.
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post #30 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

This article makes me laugh. It has been nearly two years since the iPhone hit the market, with no overly significant upgrade, and the industry is still trying to play catch-up. These phones aren't even released yet, and the only one at that list that can even half-way compete is the Pre, and that's only because they blatantly ripped off Apple's UI. After all the "competitors" of the past (LG Voyager, Samsung Instinct, Blackerry Storm), nobody has been able to touch Apple, and it looks like it's going to stay that way for a while.

Actually..... First lets get the facts straight. There are multi touch gestures and UI patents that Palm has had long before the iPhone was available that pertain to the PRE. There are also patents that Apple has that are unique to the iPhone. The difference is very very visible. These 2 phones are nothing a like. 400 MHZ processor iPhone with the 900 MHZ processor PRE... Flash on pre... Flash not on the iPhone... The iPhone had a big head start and 2 years ago when it came out there were no other choices like it or in the same class of phone. A year ago after the launch of the 3G (which is identicle to the first gen but with a crappy GPS and 3G that goes out all the time) they sold it for a lot cheaper with still no competitors. This time around if apple doesn't do something soon all the people who are tired of not having Flash, MMS, Copy & Paste, and a LAG free phone are going to leave the iPhone behind for a phone that makes sense. So what if the iPhone has 5,000 flash lights and 3,000 fat noise apps for sale. This doesn't make the phone usable. Crashing apps, Crashing Safari, and laggy SMS/Contacts/phone app + the lack of features are going to end the reign of this phone if they don't do something soon.
post #31 of 72
"Though the firm still sees the iPhone as solidly superior to its competition"

post #32 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2005 View Post

What Abramsky doesn't really highlight is that except for a couple of phones, Apple's next iPhone and iPhone 3.0 software will likely beat them to market.

That's not the point at all.

The point is that the handset manufacturers and the carriers are negotiating on the price of the Pre, the G2,... RIGHT NOW --- which in turn is going to affect the negotiations of Apple and the carriers on iphone3 pricing.
post #33 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post

This article makes me laugh. It has been nearly two years since the iPhone hit the market, with no overly significant upgrade, and the industry is still trying to play catch-up. These phones aren't even released yet, and the only one at that list that can even half-way compete is the Pre, and that's only because they blatantly ripped off Apple's UI. After all the "competitors" of the past (LG Voyager, Samsung Instinct, Blackerry Storm), nobody has been able to touch Apple, and it looks like it's going to stay that way for a while.

1.1 million Voyagers from mid Nov 2007 to April 11 2008 (the only North American carrier selling LG Voyagers at the time was Verizon Wireless).

http://english.etnews.co.kr/news/det...d=200804110002

AT&T activated 900K in christmas quarter --- so 1/2 of that is 450K. AT&T activated 500K from Jan 1 2008 to third week of May 2008 --- so that's about 350-375K.

Therefore Verizon/LG Voyager outsold AT&T/iphone in this period.
post #34 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel0418 View Post


Crashing apps, Crashing Safari, and laggy SMS/Contacts/phone app + the lack of features are going to end the reign of this phone if they don't do something soon.

Hmmm.... None of the people(20+) that I know who have iPhones are experiencing your problems.
Did you by any chance jailbeak your phone?? Just curious.
post #35 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel0418 View Post

The iPhone had a big head start and 2 years ago when it came out there were no other choices like it or in the same class of phone. A year ago after the launch of the 3G (which is identicle to the first gen but with a crappy GPS and 3G that goes out all the time) they sold it for a lot cheaper with still no competitors. This time around if apple doesn't do something soon all the people who are tired of not having Flash, MMS, Copy & Paste, and a LAG free phone are going to leave the iPhone behind for a phone that makes sense.

LOL! Having been in the phone business for years, Palm should've been the one with the big head start. It's CEO certainly thought it had one! In Nov 2006: "Responding to questions from New York Times correspondent John Markoff at a Churchill Club breakfast gathering Thursday morning, [Palm CEO Ed] Colligan laughed off the idea that any company -- including the wildly popular Apple Computer -- could easily win customers in the finicky smart-phone sector. 'We've learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone,' he said. 'PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They're not going to just walk in.'"

He's still CEO. That about says it all, doesn't it?

Anyway, don't for one second think Apple will be like that Palm. If you knew anything about development cycles, you'd know the iPhone 3G (that you're using for comparison) was pretty much designed by late summer 2007. (BTW, that's about when Pre development began with Rubinstein having coming on board in June. And there are some who say Rubinstein was moved aside after disagreeing over the iPod becoming an iPhone.)

Both the Pre and the next iPhone probably finished design in late summer 2008, so I've no doubt that the next iPhone's ARM hardware will be at least in the same class as that of the Pre. And with Apple's purchase of PA Semiconductor in April 2008, I'd bet Apple was ensuring it exclusively had "PA's something extra" for its coming iPhone.

Palm hopes it will be an interesting summer, but in this battle, they're also handicapped with Sprint for 2009, and with creating new international partnerships.

Oh, yes, despite what you imply, iPhone still garners off-the-chart customer satisfaction scores.

But we'll soon know how it turns out. Isn't capitalism great?
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post #36 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by samab View Post

That's not the point at all.

The point is that the handset manufacturers and the carriers are negotiating on the price of the Pre, the G2,... RIGHT NOW --- which in turn is going to affect the negotiations of Apple and the carriers on iphone3 pricing.

I think you've got it backwards. I think the other handset mfrs are hoping Apple doesn't spring another pricing surprise.

Haven't you already seen how iPhone's $199 price has already affected pricing of all smartphones? Even Palm CEO Colligan, who initially scoffed at reporters who suggested Palm price the Pre at $199 or lower, has shut up.

Apple is the one putting pricing and margin pressure on all other smartphone mfrs (excluding Nokia). It has fixed the consumer price ceiling at $199, it gets the largest subsidy from AT&T, and it has the lowest component costs on some of the phone's most expensive parts (like flash memory) due to its volume and huge cash hoard.

And given its AT&T multi-year exclusive, you think Apple would actually leave the financial details until now? Don't make me laugh.
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post #37 of 72
The LG Arena has a capacitive multitouch screen, the Samsung Omnia HD is also capacitive, might be multitouch and uses the same processor as the Palm Pre, it also uses the same audio chip it manufactures for Apple for use in iPods and the iPhone.

The Nokia N86 is not a touchscreen at all, the omission of the N97 and 5800 is surprising.
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post #38 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHKOsta View Post

You keep talking about bringing the SEC into this, but I'm curious to know what authority you think they have over RBC.

They are licensed to trade across the Exchanges and therefore fall under SEC Guidelines.
post #39 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by samab View Post

1.1 million Voyagers from mid Nov 2007 to April 11 2008 (the only North American carrier selling LG Voyagers at the time was Verizon Wireless).

http://english.etnews.co.kr/news/det...d=200804110002

AT&T activated 900K in christmas quarter --- so 1/2 of that is 450K. AT&T activated 500K from Jan 1 2008 to third week of May 2008 --- so that's about 350-375K.

Therefore Verizon/LG Voyager outsold AT&T/iphone in this period.

You are looking at this from AT&T point of view and we are looking at it from Apple point of view. Between Oct 2007 and March 2008, Apple sold an average of 20,000 iPhone a day. You do the math.
post #40 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2005 View Post

I think you've got it backwards. I think the other handset mfrs are hoping Apple doesn't spring another pricing surprise.

Haven't you already seen how iPhone's $199 price has already affected pricing of all smartphones? Even Palm CEO Colligan, who initially scoffed at reporters who suggested Palm price the Pre at $199 or lower, has shut up.

Apple is the one putting pricing and margin pressure on all other smartphone mfrs (excluding Nokia). It has fixed the consumer price ceiling at $199, it gets the largest subsidy from AT&T, and it has the lowest component costs on some of the phone's most expensive parts (like flash memory) due to its volume and huge cash hoard.

And given its AT&T multi-year exclusive, you think Apple would actually leave the financial details until now? Don't make me laugh.

It's all predicated on the assumption that the carriers are willing to continue to heavily subsidize the iphone to the extent that AT&T has to pre-announce a profit margin warning. If the carriers are no longer willing to heavily subsidize the iphone, then Apple has to lower the prices they charged on the carriers for the iphone3.

Remember that when the 3G iphone came out, AT&T and Apple renegotiated on their original deal. Everything is negotiable.
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