Former Nokia executive Tomi Ahonen prognosticates in iPhone In Memoriam: A History from its Peak Moment of Success. But who copied whom?
The iPhone changed everything about the mobile industry and is now the most copied design and form factor, and has single-handedly re-energized numerous areas of mobile that had been tried before, from touch screen to app stores. And the iPhone is hot and selling well. Yet its time of ascendancy has come to an end. The decline of the iPhone has started.
That was April 9, 2010. 11 days later, Ahonen updated his prediction:
It is important to understand, my forecast of ‘Apple iPhone market share has peaked’ was based on the pattern that iPhone sales ‘always’ decline after the Christmas Quarter. The quarterly sales in the Christmas Quarter 2009 was 8.7M and now the Jan-Mar quarter sales was also 8.7M units. That data goes totally against my hypothesis. I am, therefore adding this warning to the top of the blog, current data does not support my view, and we have to continue to monitor the performance. it is still possible Apple iPhone annual market share has peaked, but it is not now ‘certain’ by any means.
Later the same day, Ahonen finds the mistake in his numbers which accounts for Apple’s higher than expected iPhone sales:
I have ‘found’ the ‘missing million’ iPhone unit sales that none of the analysts had expected to see. They were due to Chinese New Year gift-giving where the Chinese culture does not celebrate Christmas, but gives gifts at the Lunar New Year which happened Feb 14 this year. I analyzed Apple numbers and foudn (sic) that this is where the million were.
Later the same day, Ahonen figures out that the iPhone isn’t growing market share at all:
Today we know the overall market size of smartphones for Q1 of 2010, which is 52.6 million units. That means we can calculate Apple’s market share for this quarter. It did not grow. For the third quarter in a row, Apple’s market share is stuck at 17%. Please consider that fact when you evaluate the plausibility of Apple’s market share perhaps having peaked. My thesis is looking ever stronger…
Except for a couple of gotchas that even a cursory analysis would provide. Is it possible that Chinese customers will buy iPhones during the year end holiday season again? And, what defines a smart phone? Some are available for less than $100, while Apple’s is worth about $600. How much of the premium smart phone market segment does Apple have? What is Apple’s share of revenue and profits among smart phone makers, vs. the anemic unit count?
I think I know why Tomi Ahonen is no longer working for a living.