Many Androids, One iPhone
Rita is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
Ever wondered why Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) launches its products on Fridays? So that businesses don’t lose profitability. This way people won’t end up missing work or studies the next day as they have to wait in a long, long queue to get their hands on the latest from Apple, and also so that they can get a weekend to enjoy the device and thus not lose concentration while working. Such is the craze for Apple’s products. And now, ahead of the holiday season, Apple will launch the much awaited next generation of iPhones and craze again seems to be skyrocketing. What started just as a glimpse of the camera, some rumors about the iPhone connector-pin size, screen size and others has now turned into the biggest wait of the year. The smart phone maker will be unveiling the device at an event on Sep. 12, and will start shipping the product on Sep. 21. Yay!
Apple’s iPhone is not just important for the company, but also for the industry as it sets the benchmark every time a new generation of the device is launched. The company, which revolutionized the consumer electronics space even after all it has done, fails to reach the top position according to the latest report from IDC. Let’s take a look at what this report has to say.
The Apple-Google Supremacy
The smartphone OS space is now facing something similar to a duopoly, though not in the fullest meaning of the term. The entire space is being dominated by Apple and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG). Together, these two giants now account for 85% of the market while leaving 7.4% to Research In Motion (NASDAQ: BBRY), 5.4% to Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Windows Phone and the balance to Symbian, Linux and others.
Android shipments increased to104.8 million in the second quarter, up from 50.8 million in the prior year quarter, signifying a whopping 106.5% growth. Apple also did well with a 27.5% surge in shipments. Apple would have had a better quarter had the sales not been down due to lower shipments of iPhones as consumers withdrew from buying the device in anticipation of the new version. However, the best growth was displayed by Windows Phone, as shipments soared by 115.3% year on year.
Among the top two, Android occupies 68% of the market while Apple accounts for only 17%. From the study we clearly see that Google has the lion’s share of the smartphone operating system space and Apple finishes in the second spot. Even in the smartphone handset space, Apple is in second place while Samsung is the market leader. But, does Apple deserve to be in the second spot? I don’t think so and this is why:
Apple is the true contender for No. 1 position – Quantity aspect
- Analyzing the smartphone operating system space:
Google’s Android is an operating system that is being used by several phone makers such as Samsung, LG, HTC, Motorola, Sony and many small players. Thanks to all these players, Android has the maximum market share. On the other hand we have Apple, a company that is the sole provider of iOS. There is just one handset in the entire world running an iOS, against hundreds of handsets powered by the Android. So, when we say Android has a 68% share in the world wide smartphone OS market, we are basically referring to hundreds of smartphones together constituting this market share. But iOS is fighting alone. So that is an OS which is in use through only one handset and still accounts for 16.9% of market. That’s remarkable!
- Analyzing the smartphone devices space:
In this 2012 second quarter, the total number of Android powered smartphones shipped were 104.8 million, out of which 44% was shipped by Samsung. This comes to a figure of 46 million Samsung-Android smartphones, against only 26 million iPhones. Again this is not the total number of phones shipped by Samsung. The final figure is even higher since it also ships Bada and Windows Phone powered handsets. So, we can say, Samsung is the market leader with the most number of smartphones shipped. Right?
But now, we must remember when we say Samsung is the market leader when it comes to smartphone unit shipments, we are taking into account all the smart handsets that Samsung manufactures, and this includes a huge range of devices varying from high-end specs to low-end specs. Whereas, Apple has just one handset – iPhone. So, does the opinion change when we consider the number of handsets in both company’s portfolios? Definitely. Apple’s portfolio has just iPhone, while Samsung’s portfolio has as many as 20 to 25 handsets, if not more, with Galaxy Note and Galaxy S III being the show stealers. So, that’s more than a score of handsets competing against the mighty iPhone and then surpassing Apple’s shipment count. Hats off to Apple! If you ask me, no other handset alone stands a chance against the iPhone.
Considering the huge power of the iPhone, won’t you say Apple actually deserves to be the No. 1? Is there any other phone which alone has a greater market share? Apple as a company may not be a leader in the devices or the OS space, but iPhone surely is and by the virtue of this Apple automatically deserves the top spot.
Apple is the true contender for No. 1 position – Quality aspect
Apple is truly the forbidden fruit, as once someone gets the taste of this fruit, he just becomes addicted to it. Seriously, such is the power of an Apple product and especially the iPhone. So, what makes it so desirable and addictive? The revolutionary technology along with a sense of simplicity, elegance and class – that’s what. Apple has always been extremely careful about the quality of user experience and that has truly put the company in a totally different league.
There is a fundamental difference between Apple and Google when it comes to the OS and its experience. Unlike Apple, Google made Android for the masses. A user can have the Android experience in a low-priced handset as well as in a high-priced one. But is the quality of the experience the same in these two cases? No. A person using a Galaxy S III will be very pleased with an Android, while a person using a Galaxy Y may not be that pleased. Apple never intended to have a varied opinion about the user experience it offered. The company always makes sure the entire feel of the device is top class. Apple has always been a fan of quality more than quantity and this was and is getting reflected in everything the company does. Even when it comes to the App World, Apple is very careful regarding which apps to keep and which ones to shunt. Unlike Google, Apple never allowed any aspects of abuse to enter the space. Isn't such control and ability to deliver the best admirable? These are also reasons why Apple deserves to be at the top.
Though as per the numbers, Apple is not ruling the smartphone space, it surely rules in the hearts of millions of fans and industry experts. Apple has always made sure it delivers the best each time, every time and I am sure that’s how things will be this Sep 21. There have been a lot of rumors about the device and now that the back case for the device got leaked, it seems many of the rumors are actually true. From the form factor of the back case it is understood that the new iPhone is surely going to have a bigger screen and a much smaller pin-connector.
Apart from this, Apple is going to endow the phone with Bluetooth 4 and the company will make this also available in the new iPod Nano. Now, Apple users can pair the devices and wear the iPod as a smart watch, another exciting feature to look forward to. And there is good news for investors as well. Analysts are expecting the huge success of the iPhone to push up the share price in the next few months, and a $1,000 per share figure is not looking ridiculous any more. Apple is all set to rock the streets and make everyone feel any phone other than an iPhone is just another phone. Three cheers for Apple!
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