Apple is doomed. Why? Because China. It’s true. I read it on the internet and you know they can’t put it on the internet if it isn’t true. Before dishing some heat on the ridiculous premise that has raised its head ever since electronic devices started emigrating to the U.S. from China, let me point out that not much has changed in journalism since Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden sum Gutenberg introduced printing to Europe back in the mid-1400s. Yes, that was before Columbus sailed the ocean blue.
Since then, journalism of the news and information variety has been more about sensationalism than it has insightful analysis, more about selling advertisements than it has about distributing facts. My case in point is Jason Perlow’s recent piece on the four horsemen of the iPhone apocalypse. Great title. Ridiculous premise. But headlines sell papers. Facts, not so much.
The four horsemen are Huawei, ZTE, Xiaomi, and Lenovo which are flooding the market with smartphones of such quality and low prices that not even Samsung and Apple can stop them. The so-called analysis basically is this:
- Smartphones are commodity items (they’re all alike)
- Chinese can make premium smartphones for less
- Apple’s iPhone cannot be differentiated
- Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones cannot be differentiated
- Marketshare is everything in business
- Price is all that customers consider in a purchase
- Hardware is all that matters in electronics
That’s it. The handwriting is on the wall. Apple is doomed. The coming iPhone apocalypse will be here any minute. Go ahead. Wait for it. It’s almost here. I’m sure it’s coming because I read it on the internet. Is that it over there? Hmmm. What’s wrong? They said Apple is doomed. Why hasn’t it happened yet?
Google ‘Apple is doomed‘ and you’ll be treated to scary headlines posing as analysis; headlines that date back to the last century. All that has changed in the Apple is doomed meme are the names of the executives and the product names the company sells that are, well, doomed. Mac, Apple Stores, iPod, iTunes Music Store, iPhone, iPad, Watch. If it has an Apple logo on it, well, it’s doomed and that cascading effect will doom Apple, too. Just you wait. You’ll see.
The very fact that Apple remains a few decades after the Apple is doomed memes began circulating should give you pause regarding any new headlines which cry apocalypse, right? Nevertheless, headlines sell and that’s what we get these days. Yellow journalism simply uses yellow digital bits instead of paper to convey the same messages.
How about some real analysis?
Are smartphones commodity items? Are the best cheap smartphones as good as a premium Samsung Galaxy whatever or an iPhone? In hardware? Maybe there are fewer discernible differences, but most of us use the software on our devices and in that comparison it looks bad for Samsung which runs Android (as do most of the cheap Chinese knockoffs) vs. iPhone which runs iOS.
Funny thing; true story, too– the Mac is more expensive than most Windows-based PCs, most of which are made in China and run Windows instead of OS X. Yet, the Mac prospers. How can that be?
Yes, China makes premium smartphones for less than what Samsung and Apple sell their Galaxy and iPhones for, respectively. Funny thing; and another true story, too. Galaxy and iPhones are made in China.
Alright, there’s more. iPhones are easily differentiated from other smartphones by design, engineering, brand, retail locations, service and support, iOS, the App Store, resale value, and a whole host of items which have zero to do with price tag.
Writers for tech magazines love marketshare, and that indicates they have little understanding of how business works. Sorry, folks. Business is all about two things. 1) profits, 2) shareholder value. What’s Toyota’s marketshare? What’s Samsung’s television marketshare? Who cares? If a company cannot turn a profit it won’t be around too long unless shareholder value remains high. If shareholder value drops too much, even profits don’t matter. Apple seems to be doing fine on both points, profit share and value.
How are the four Chinese horsemen of the coming iPhone apocalypse doing?
Well, if it’s not marketshare, then it’s price, right? Apple is doomed because of price? What part of price do tech writers not understand? Price is where the profit is. Higher prices usually beget profits. Again, Apple seems to be doing well here. Who else? Samsung to a certain extent. Anyone else? Anyone? Come on, there must be someone who sells a smartphone and makes a profit? No one?
Finally, there’s a disconnect between hardware and software, though both have a connective value. Good software– like iOS and the App Store– works best on good hardware– iPhone. People buy their smartphones for a variety of reasons; brand, price, service and support, applications, resale, and so on, but it’s always, always, always a blend of hardware and software, yet perspectives such as Perlow’s coming iPhone apocalypse is all about hardware and says nothing about software, ecosystem, buying preferences, usage, or any of the many variables that weigh on a decision to buy anything.
How much is a used Huawei, ZTE, Xiaomi, Lenovo, or Oppo smartphone worth after a couple of years? Zip. Nada. Zilch. Nothing. Now, compare that to a used iPhone’s price tag? There’s a huge difference and that helps to reduce the iPhone’s cost when considered against its price tag. Did ZDNet’s darling of the apocalypse discuss that? Nope.
Maybe, just maybe, if enough readers would employ ad blockers on such sites then digital rags which spew nonsense and rubbish would have their own apocalypse.