Sony: Apple Is “Missing Out” By Not Releasing New iPhones Twice A Year

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Apple was responsible for 15% of the world’s smartphone shipments in 2013, and as much as 56% of all the profit. Sony, on the other hand, accounted for only 3.8% of the world’s smartphone shipments in 2013, and is barely ekeing out a profit company-wide.

Despite all of this, Sony mobile chief and European president Pierre Perron told The Inquirer that Apple is “missing out” by only releasing yearly iPhone freshes, instead of flooding the market with incremental updates every few months.

In essence, his argument is that users want to always be getting the phone with the most up-to-date technology, and the state of the art in smartphone technology moves rapidly enough that Sony feels that a few months is enough to take the luster off of the phone in a customer’s eyes.

“There is a cycle in the chipset market which can give us the opportunity to launch a new product more often than once a year,” Perron added. “This market is going very fast. Because mobile consumers are more demanding when it comes to entertainment experience, [they] want to access music, game experiences, faster [and] easier, in a more integrated way.”

As evidence, Perron pointed to the Xperia Z2, which is being released just five months after the Xperia Z1, Sony’s previous flagship device. To Perron, it’s all about Sony bringing “the best technology on the best platform” to customers and “to make sure our consumers aren’t disappointed in any way.”

If this were true, and Apple was leaving money on the tablet, you’d think Sony would be doing better in the smartphone market. The truth is that Apple knows that well-integrated software and hardware will always trump bleeding edge tech… which is exactly why Cupertino makes all the money in mobile.

  • http://www.designstrategies.com Len Williams

    Exactly correct! Sony’s comparatively low sales of phones is testimony enough that their business strategy should be firmly avoided. Apple’s rock solid phones that last for years provide a superior and dependable user experience. Apple has proven that yearly phone updates are desirable and successful, making it the market leader that everyone tries to emulate. I believe that producing and delivering 2 new phones a year would be a detriment to the buying public, who would tend to hold off their buying because “something new” would be coming in 6 months or less. This kind of buyer who has to have the latest and greatest whiz-bang product with the most bells and whistles and specs isn’t the audience Apple sells to, or at least is only a small percentage of the audience. Sometimes too much choice can lead to confusion and dilution of the market. I’ve still got my iPhone 4S that I bought in 2012, and I don’t intend to upgrade until there’s a significant change (possibly a 4.5″ or 4.7″ screen enlargement). The 5 and 5s are great, but don’t offer enough of a dramatic change to make me want to drop another $200 on a new phone.

  • digitaldumdum

    “Sony: Apple Is “Missing Out” By Not Releasing New iPhones Twice A Year”

    And the only thing Sony is missing out on… is making a phone anyone wants to use. I think I’m safe in saying that Apple leads Sony by several orders of magnitude, not only in cell phones, but in computers as well.

  • Grunt_at_the_Point

    Am I missing something? First, there is this little thing called a two year contract which most mobile phone consumers are committed. And, to increase sales would mean Apple would have to take customers from other smartphone makers including Sony. Perron, what have you been smoking?

    • Mark Langston

      My guess is his comments are steeped in the global market versus the US-only market. In other parts of the world where cell phone contracts are almost nonexistent buying a new phone is probably something that happens more often compared to the US market that, as you said, is locked into two-year contracts.

      Still, the fact that this is coming from Sony is laughable. It’s like the loser in a market saying that the winner should adopt their business model because in their pathetic and ridiculous logic they know better than Apple.

      • Grunt_at_the_Point

        Good point….

    • lucascott

      I believe his logic is that in any given month someone’s contract is running out. And everyone wants to have something new and newest. So say my contract runs out the first of March. According to Perron I’m more likely to buy the new Galaxy which is coming out in March than wait until Oct for a new iPhone, but if there was a new iPhone also in April I might wait that long.

      What he misses is that iOS, Windows Mobile and Android are very different and once someone buys into one, in most cases, they stay. They don’t jump back and forth between them. The 5% who are geeks etc yes, but not the 95% who just want something they can use. They find one OS and tend to stick with it. And because of this, yes they will wait a few extra months and eventually all those contracts will line up to Apple’s calendar anyway.

      His advice is better suited for players in the Android market as Android tends to stay there and could be persuaded to jump over on hardware makers

      • Mark Langston

        But even if you’re in the topsy-turvy world of Android I don’t get why someone would be so impatient that they couldn’t wait another 5 or 6 months and get the latest model ’cause here’s the thing: if you’ve bought the same manufacturer phone for the past few years you’re more than likely to stick with that manufacturer, which means you’re more apt to wait for that company’s latest and greatest.

        I doubt there’s a huge consumer market where people jump from Samsung to HTC to Sony then back to Samsung then over to LG. Usually when you find a product you like you tend to stick with it.

        Even for Sony to believe that their customers want to trade out their phone every 6 months is ludicrous because as fast as technology moves there’s no way you can come up with a brand new idea in 6 months and have it be a proven, solid upgrade. Even once a year sounds too soon to me. I’d rather a company take the time to ensure that whatever new features they’re implementing make my life better and doesn’t take away or hinder what I already have.

        The Galaxy S5 for example has even less space than the previous model with more than half of the 16GB of onboard storage already taken up by the new whiz-bang features of the S5. Rather than take more space why not find a way to decrease the space of the stuff that are already there?!

        The GS6 will have no choice but to start at 32GB because there will likely be 10GB worth of garbage, novelty features along with the OS.

  • Brandon H

    Seriously though, Apple is doing it right. I would hate to be on android, being outdated every 4 months or so. Apple keeps the software updated so the older phones don’t feel outdated.

    • lucascott

      Although Apple could slow that down a tad. Its been a marketing point that even 4 year old hardware can still use the newest software but the experience isn’t always so great. Folks rarely praise but they do bash loudly. And, for example, iPhone 4 users ‘forced’ to upgrade to iOS 7 are being very very loud. Three iOS versions is enough I think. The 4th is just pushing things too much. Let it go i say. If someone has been hanging onto a phone that long it will soon be time to replace it anyway due to age and they can get the new software then. If they bought the ‘cheap’ phone they likely don’t need the bells and whistles of the newer software anyway.

  • AAPL_@_$101_Is_A_Done_Deal_:)

    I guess the Sony CEO didn’t bother to check Apple’s market cap or cash reserve before spewing his FUD. It makes no sense for Apple to put out a new iPhone less than once a year and I think a longer time would be even better to recoup R&D costs. I’d say 95% of the consumers out there do not need to replace their smartphones every year. I think Apple is on the right track for a premium smartphone. When most users are getting two year carrier contracts it just makes sense that Apple could easily get away with putting out an iPhone every 18 months. As far as I’m concerned I think smartphone manufacturers are already well ahead of the average consumers’ needs for new technology. Apple is not really competing against Android and shouldn’t attempt to follow Android’s constant need of tech rivalry.

    • D R

      The Sony guy wants Apple to release every six months, so Sony can copy from Apple every six months, instead of just copying once a year and then having to try to make a new product six months later on their own.

  • verity treacle

    if Apple released twice a year on any of their products it would annoy the hell out of Apples customer base… people know the one year cycle of Apples products and which get updated and when… if anything they just need to tweek the price of the 5c its too close to the 5s in comparison of spec…

  • http://www.bliss.pt Alexandre Silva

    Funny thing. Releasing one model per year is one of the reasons that make me buy an iPhone. Because I’m paying a lot for it (here in Portugal we buy them full price – €699 – 16Gb) so I want some guarantee that it won’t become “obsolete” 6 months later.

    Also releasing an “S” version the next year, makes me save some money too as I skip that version. So, my iPhone is an excellent investment when you think about replacing it only every 2 years!

  • http://twitter.com/gettysburg11s gettysburg11s

    This is all true, however, I believe it comes down to resources. Apple may firmly believe that software and hardware must be well integrated, but I bet they loath leaving money on the table. They simply don’t have the resources of a Sony or a Samsung. Apple has limited resources, and would be unable to produce two smart phones a year, that are up to their own lofty standards.

    • lucascott

      There is zero proof that a six month cycle would be leaving money on the table. Sony sure hasn’t shown that it has bettered their sales numbers and the R&D costs might eat any profit a slight bump could create.

  • lucascott

    You should do as we do advice is best left to those that are actually successful. Telling a company that makes scads more sales and profit than you how to do their job just makes you look like a nut case

  • Blank Reg

    The only thing Apple’s missing out on is the race to the bottom, which Sony exemplifies. Sony can have the bottom, Apple can keep their margins.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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