The new iPhone is not a very Apple device. In fact its pretty much a Samsung-like device, with a large two-handed screen, a protruding camera, no chamfered edges and NFC mobile payments. It is in fact rather ugly, and we can almost hear Steve Jobs spinning in his grave.
It is amusing to see the US tech media struggle to understand why Apple is moving so far away from their previous guiding principles, particularly when it comes to NFC, when Apple has its own competing technology with iBeacons.
The answer – that Apple is having to embrace de facto standard because they are becoming increasingly irrelevant, is a very difficult concept for US tech journalists to understand.
Despite selling millions of handsets Apple only has 11.9% market share in Q2 2014 according to IDC, and seems likely to dip into single digits next year. In Europe Apple only has 14.5% market share and dropping, and 13.2% in Urban China, according to July 2014 Kantar numbers.
USA is Apple’s stronghold, and even there it only has 30.9% market share, down Year on Year from 42.7%. Sure, the numbers will rise in Q3/4 2015, but will crash even further than usual in Q1 and Q2 2015, as the world continues gobbling up Android phones.
With such a low market share Apple is simply unable to roll out a feature exclusive to iPhone users. Retailers will not adopt a payment service 6 out of 7 of their customers can not use.
Claiming that retailers that are aiming at high spending high end customers can still be Apple exclusive is denying the reality – that more high end Android phones are sold than Apple phones – according to IDC more than 50 million Android phones sold for more than $400 in Q2 2014, while only around 30 million iPhones sold for more than $400.
Apple has also been increasingly unable to make deals, as many industries sense the same reality, and work to avoid being disintermediated by Apple. The failure of Apple to make deals with the TV industry is just one example.
The market is slipping rapidly away from Apple, both on the high end and low end, and Apple is struggling to remain relevant by emulating Android handsets. While US tech journalists bizarrely still lump Apple’s market share with Android to talk about a duopoly, it is clear that that boat has long sailed.
And Apple’s large share of the smartphone world profits? If profits really mattered Microsoft would get a lot more respect.
So US tech journalists – despite all your friends having an iPhone and despite everything you write being on a Macbook, Apple is yesterday, and its time to get over it.
PS: And to answer the question many of our readers will have – Why am I writing this editorial on a Windows Phone site? The reason is simple – US tech journalists need to move beyond their duopoly mindset – there is Android and the other smaller players, with Apple just being one of many. Treating Apple fairly ( as less important than they are portrayed to be) will also mean Windows Phone will be treated more fairly, as a significant force in Europe for example.