The human affinity with nice, whole round numbers is congruent with Apple and its bevy of
phones. The technology giant can now boast of having sold a billion iPhones, something remarkable for a single vendor selling consumer electronic products.
“When you control a product as much as Apple does, it’s unusual to have that product sell as much. It’s not unusual for 20 manufacturers to sell a billion Windows devices, but when you have a billion iPhones running iOS, it’s something special.” – Justin Wetherill, President of uBreakiFix.
The something special that Apple does, is ingrained in the way Steve Jobs set out to chase what people wanted and could want in their phones, rather than what manufacturers felt was best at the time with their ever-evolving hardware. He also believed that the software should be controlled too, something that its users are now thankful for after seeing their Android counterparts squirm at the privacy scandals they’ve had to contend with.
The processes that were set in place from the time the turtle-necked man ruled the roost, were crucial when Apple suffered its first dip in iPhone sales since 2007, in the last year. It’s losses in iPhone sales led to a conclusive 13 percent drop in the company’s revenue, which was then skated over as “strong macroeconomic headwinds” and a grim outlook on the economy.
“The global smartphone market is slowing as the penetration of smartphones in major mature markets reaches saturation, and even markets like China start to see slower growth.” – Jan Dawson, president of Jackdaw Research.
Is it still better?
The key question that panders at any phone shop is one that involves the words “an iPhone may be better than a Nexus 5X, but is it $350 better?”. For the prudent, which is most of Asia, they have found that most affordable phones these days have already moved past the adequate threshold, and are thriving in the emerging markets.
Some staunch iPhone users would have us know that the $350 we speak of can be attributed to the security that the iPhone presents, something Android lags behind in – the typical Android update takes months to arrive on all their devices. Furthermore, Apple doesn’t allow carriers to hold up on its updates.
It will get tougher
With the greatest growth for cheaper smartphones seen in countries like Africa and India, Apple’s move into trade-in programs has helped contribute to its coffers, what with its launch of schemes for competitor phones, the iPhone, broken phones, and even ‘trade-up with installments’ plans.
Some say this points at Apple’s increasing exasperation at the increasingly saturated smartphone market, seeing as its rivals Samsung, for example, have turned up the heat with its offering of VR. But overall, the core reason for the slump in sales early this year has been attributed to slowing growth in China, a market that Apple has been investing heavily on in the past two years.
If growth in China has been lackluster of late, imagine the scenes in India, where Apple is struggling to get its phones into the smaller cities. “Apple has a long way to go to crack distribution in India” says Neil Mawston, an analyst at research firm Strategy Analytics. He also opined that Apple has probably only penetrated about 1% of vendors that hail from shops, market stalls, and websites in the country.
With many citing the decline of the Western Civilisation and the typical Asians prudence when it comes to a smartphone purchase, it is high time Apple paid some heed to words from a worker from India saying “most important is the price”, if it wants to see continued growth in Asia.