The once revered Apple iPhone is in decline. The popular brand has seen its 18% market share slide to 16% in recent months. A lot of reasons have been given for that decline. One is the availability of alternatives to Apple’s model. Another is lack of disruptive and exciting features in the latest upgrades. But what most analysts have not talked about is that ‘almost everyone already has a smartphone’.
That insight is current. Yes, also largely correct. Steven McBride an American market analyst explains, “Apple gave smartphones to the masses. The masses now have all the smartphones they need.”
McBride recalls that when Apple launched the first batch of iPhone, there were barely 120 million cell phone users around the world. Fast forward to today, out of the 7.7 billion people in the entire universe, 5 billion now owns a smartphone, according to Venturebeat.com reports.
The question is where is the space for market growth? Maybe Steve Jobs would have loved that challenge. But unfortunately, someone else is sitting at the helm of affairs in Cupertino, California.
Manufacturers of goods and services adopt product variety once a market is saturated. Cola-Cola pushed zero coke, diet coke, and cherry as the cola market matures. In the same way, Apple Inc. is positioning its service segments, smartwatch and the proposed streaming portal as the next big frontiers to calm investors nerve. You notice the circumstances have become dire!
Every product goes through a life-cycle. There is the stage of conception; then launch or introduction. That is followed by market growth where the product is an innovation or taps into popular taste. There and then it has the opportunity to skim the market by charging higher prices. By the time growth phase elapses, general decline set in, as the market matures and competitions fill up the other spaces. Except the manufacturer repositions the product to recycle it back to the entry level, death is imminent.
It is not certain the iPhone will sooner become one of the collections in Apple’s museum as a reference to Jobs’ life of dedication and commitment to blending arts and technology in pursuit of innovation. But one thing is certain, one of the largest tech companies the world has ever seen is in urgent need of fresh and unique proposition to woo the growing but disinterested ‘trendsters’.
In my view, the iPhone trend appears to have lost its steam. Apple tried for years to conceal that fact. It hiked the prices of recent models but the strategy did little to revive the sagging sales. It delayed product launches, tested market opinions, and conducted stunts, but none is selling. The California business has even stopped disclosing sales of iPhone in a bid to further mask its diminishing status.
Survival is never a long time strategy. Apple Inc. already sees the hand-writing on the wall. Where does the iPhone go from here?
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