For the first time since the launch of the iPhone, another smartphone has sold more copies in a quarter than Apple's iconic device. It is not hard to guess which one -- Samsung shipped 18 million Galaxy S III units from the start of July until the end of September, compared to Apple, which delivered 16.2 million iPhone 4S units in that time.
This was a period when the arrival of the iPhone 5 was anticipated but not yet available, which pushed down sales of the iPhone 4S. This is when Samsung itself launched several rival models like the Galaxy Note II, which surely cut down on sales of this company's flagship model. Thus it's possible to conclude that the era of general iPhone fascination is reaching its end.
Recently-published figures from market analysts support this statement. Research conducted by Strategy Analytics has shown that 88% of iPhone owners in the USA said they would remain true to iOS with their next smartphone. While that might seem wonderful, it seems less so when you consider that this number has dropped from 93% a year ago. In Europe, the same survey result has dropped from 88% to 75% in the last year.
Apple purchasers are still exceptionally loyal; still, it has become evident that significantly more smartphone owners around the globe are thinking of switching from iOS to some other operating system. Nearly an identical trend has been recorded among tablet owners in the past months, along with the recent arrival of Windows 8.
A Fatal Flaw
There has been a serious drop in the price of Apple shares, which have been plummeting downward for the past three months. But what's causing this? One would be mistaken to conclude that the reason for this decline was from market saturation with their 'awesome' products. What is really making more room for other manufacturers is the fact that one of the biggest beliefs Apple has managed to sustain for its users around the world for years -- that its products are perfect -- has been diluted.
The iPhone 5 arrived on the market with several cardinal errors, admitted by Apple or justified as inevitable (poor Maps, peeling of the color on the black model, etc.) and as such, it is not perfect at all.
The fourth-generation iPad was launched only a few months after the third-gen one, leaving iPad 3 purchasers feeling fooled because Apple was tacitly admitting their device was not perfect.
The iPad mini arrived with a screen which has a low pixel density, and too high a price for such a product. This is also not a perfect device.
In a time when the Windows 8 notebook market is literally flooded by Touchscreen models, not even the MacBook Pro with Retina can be called perfect because the display is not a touchscreen.
WWSJD (What Would Steve Jobs Do)?
It is hard not to wonder, if he was still alive, would Steve Jobs have allowed the launch of an imperfect iPhone 5? Would he have allowed the launch of the fourth iPad so soon after the third one? Would he ever allow the launch of iPad mini, and would he hesitate this much on presenting a Touchscreen MacBook? It seems the religious aura that once surrounded the bitten apple logo has started fading after the departure of the spiritual leader...
Apple execs must be aware of all this, at least because of the issues at the stock exchange. We can expect they aren't standing around with their arms crossed as they are losing their 'mojo'.
Will Apple regain the status of the special and prestigious technological innovator, or will it continue down the path toward becoming just an average Silicon Valley giant (once again). The answer to this will depend on Apple's future moves -- above all its future products.
For the last fifteen years, Dragan Petric (www.draganpetric.com) has been working as an IT journalist, editor and analyst, with special interests in telecommunication technologies and services. In addition, he authored five books and published over 2,500 articles in many magazines and newspapers in Europe. He has attended about 30 telecommunications and IT congresses around the world and won several journalists awards for his work.
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