There is no doubt that the iPhone has helped the smartphone market grow imensely, especially amongst the non-business user, which has been the target for the smart marketers over at Apple headquarter. However, with several competitors taking aim at them, hoping to bring the next “iPhone killer”, can Apple afford to take it easy with the 3rd generation iPhone, supporting the latest rumors that the upgrade will be a minor one? Some analysts says yes, but i argue that they could be playing a dangerous game.
Wired.com recently wrote about how some analysts feel that Apple will be sleepwalking through the much anticipated 3rd generation iPhone, expected to be announced now in June, maybe as early as the WWDC in San Francisco starting next week. Their view is that even with the much talked about launch of the Palm Pre, Apple has nothing to worry about for the near future when it comes to their niche of the market.
The iPhone 3G can look back at some impressive numbers for its first year, lifting Apple’s global share of the smartphone market from 5.3% to over 10%, and is currently the second best selling smartphone in the US market. Since the launch of the iPhone 3G the competitors have frantically tried to catch up and be the first to create the mythical “iPhone killer”, none has been successful yet, and the latest challenger, the Palm Pre, which shares a lot of similarities with the iPhone 3G, is also expected to fall short. That is why many analysts now feel that Apple can afford to take it a bit easy with this coming upgrade, and perhaps save some of the bigger upgrades, such as background processing and redesign until later in the year, or even next year.
I agree that Apple can probably afford to not put all their product development behind this next 3rd generation iPhone, but they have to be careful as well, as for many of us there are already some issues with the current iPhone that has been answered by competitors for a long time, such as a good digital camera, video recording, battery life and replacing, and a few other minor ones, some been addressed by the coming iPhone OS 3.0 release. Although at the moment the iPhone has an advantage on many competitors in terms of style and functionality, some competitors are working hard to challenge them and perhaps even go past them in innovation. Over 15 new smartphones running the Google Android operating system is expected out this year, which together with the Palm Pre and a few others are ready to challenge Apple and the iPhone.
It seems like a smart strategy for Apple to keep the iPhone a step ahead of the competitors, perhaps open up for more networks, and then increase their marketshare so they can increase their additional revenue from the iPhone and the App Store etc. Delivering another iPhone that will make it compelent to the market to buy an iPhone instead of any of the other smartphones coming out in the next few months can deliver just that for Apple.
At the moment that probably means that Apple can afford to deliver the minimum expected, such as improved processor, camera, and video recording, and still keep ahead of the pack, but many people i have talked to are already talking about considering other smartphones alongside the iPhone these days.
We are keen to hear your thoughts on this. Will you be happy with just a minor upgrade, or are you already considering phones from other competitors?