Something is missing in all the techno-punditry noise of ‘Apple doesn’t innovate anymore,’ or, ‘Samsung is the new Apple,’ etc., ad nauseam. Competitors have been trying to figure this out for years and don’t have much of an answer.
‘What will make iPhone users dump their iPhones?’
If you’re an iPhone user now, what would make you switch to a Samsung, HTC, Nokia, or Google smartphone? The same question can be applied to iPad owners.
‘What does it take to make you switch sides?’
You can be sure that Apple’s competitors are working on a way to dislodge a few hundred million customers from Apple’s ecosystem.
Actually, the answer is simple. It’s merely difficult to attain. In product marketing, differentiation is a key component. Products can be differentiated from one another on price, color, features, warranty, security, capabilities, usability, and much more.
Android device makers differentiate their wares from Apple’s iPhone and iPad on price in many cases, screen size in the case of smartphones, battery life, and, well, what else?
See? It’s a short list of differentiation because what used to separate computers– GHz, gigabytes, GPU, I/O and so forth– doesn’t matter much to smartphone or tablet customers.
Let me limit the key points of differentiation— iPhone and iPad to competitors– to screen size, weight, battery life, screen resolution, price, and apps. We’ll call it even on everything else. If Apple’s iPhone and iPad are the standards to beat, what must competitors do to differentiate their wares from Apple?
Screen size, weight, battery life, screen resolution often are quite close between competitor’s products and Apple. Apple’s prices are usually higher, but users also get a more robust ecosystem, and higher security.
For a competitor to dislodge Apple’s customers requires similar functionality at a lower price point, or vastly improved capability at roughly the same price point. Do Apple’s competitors have vastly improved capability in their products? No. Therefore, they have to compete on price, and while that can have an effect on Apple’s marketshare, it doesn’t impact profit share nearly so much.
Apple’s competitors have to do what Apple does best. Disrupt the industry with market changing innovations. Have they? No. All we’ve since since the iPhone and iPad launched are copy-cat devices with iterative improvements (often heralded as ‘innovation’ but not of the disruptive variety) on the status quo while both iPhone and iPad were industry disrupting innovations.
What will make iPhone (and iPad) users dump their iPhones (and iPads)?
Something better. Much better. Where is it?