Everybody likes whining about Apple. The company doesn’t innovate anymore, critics say. Their new phones are boring, the same old wine in a line of colorful new bottles. The “S” releases are always just tweaks of yesterday’s iPhone, and are not fundamentally different. Android phones dominate global market share, and have caught up to and zoomed past Apple in every relevant way.
The naysayers can say nay all they want: Apple’s iOS market share numbers are about to explode like an iPhone 5 plugged in with a cheap Chinese charger.
America Loves iPhone
It’s a telling fact that iOS is already stealing market share from all other players in United States and the only mobile platform that’s growing marketshare in this country.
How can this be?
The analyst firm comScore this week issued a report on mobile platform market share in the United States for the three-month period ending in July, Their shocking finding: Only iOS grew during that period.
According to the comScore numbers, Android declined in this period by .2 percent, BlackBerry went down by .8 percent, Microsoft’s share stayed even, neither growing nor shrinking and Symbian declined by .2 percent. (In other news, Symbian still exists.)
Yet during this time, iOS actually grew by 1.2 percent — the same amount the others declined.
This is shocking news because iOS was the only mobile platform to have no new products announced or shipped during that period or in the months preceding this period. The last iPhone and iPad was announced a fricken year ago! Yet so many months later, the iOS platform is taking market share away from Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and Symbian platforms — all of which have announced major new products in the interim.
If Apple’s old product is beating the mobile platforms with new products in the United States, wait until Apple has new products.
The New iPhones are Designed to Thrill China
As I wrote in a column on another site, both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C lines are designed to thrill China. And thrill they will.
One third of all smartphones in the entire world are sold to Chinese consumers. It’s a huge market.
Chinese consumers want one of two things out of a smartphone — either high status or low price. And they’re pretty hardcore about both extremes. There are smartphones in China that go for thousands of dollars, and wealthy Chinese buyers snap them up. On the other hand, there are Android smartphones that sell for $80 unlocked and less. It’s a crazy market. And it’s a hostile market for the likes of Apple, which sells its one, high-quality phone for a high but reasonable price — no insane luxury model, no bare-bones, stripped-down plastic model for the low end.
Apple’s special and unprecedented rollout in Beijing Wednesday (September 11) will see the unveiling of two tiers of iPhone — a status-oriented model and a budget model. No, these models won’t tickle the extremes. But they will give China a little more of what it craves.
Specifically, the gold-colored iPhone 5S will be viewed as a somewhat affordable luxury item and status symbol for dozens of millions of Chinese consumers who crave such a phone. And the plastic-backed iPhone 5C model will throw a bone to the budget consumer who doesn’t want to spend as much but still wants a quality, well-known brand.
The big picture is that the new iPhones are designed to dramatically crank up market share for Apple in China.
China Mobile Will Drive China Sales Through the Roof
China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile carrier by far, and the only one in China that does not carry the iPhone.
That company’s 740 million subscriber accounts (no, that’s not a typo) have been craving iPhones for some time, though denied authorized iPhone accounts on that carrier because Apple and China Mobile could never reach an agreement, despite years of trying.
I believe it to be a near certainty that Apple will announce a carrier relationship with China Mobile Wednesday. It’s possible that this new business relationship could double China market share numbers in a very short period of time.
NTT DoCoMo Will Drive Sales In Japan, Too
NTT DoCoMo, co-owned by the Japanese government, is the China Mobile of Japan. It has more than half of the lucrative and active Japanese mobile market. Yet they’ve never offered the iPhone.
Reports coming out of Japan suggest that Apple and DoCoMo have reached an agreement to sell iPhones on the carrier.
DoCoMo has 53 million customers. That sounds small compared with China Mobile’s gargantuan numbers. But remember, this is Japan we’re talking about. Everybody’s got a smartphone — feature phones are very rare in Japan, unlike China where half the mobile phone carrying phones carries feature phones.
The NTT DoCoMo deal will provide a huge boost to Japanese iPhone sales and market share.
The World Gets An Affordable iPhone At Last
Globally, hundreds of millions of users will be moving over the next year from dumb feature phones to smart smarphones. Apple created the iPhone 5C for these new customers. It’s an entry-level iPhone with a plastic back and a lower price tag.
The iPhone 5C will push Apple and iOS into entirely new markets and market segments.
When you add up all these radical changes, it’s a no-brainer that Apple’s iOS market share numbers are about to explode in unprecedented growth.