Recent developments should put a stop to ‘Android is eating iPhone market share’ shenanigans. As discussed earlier on this blog, Android isn’t necessarily eating in to iOS’s market share. For the most part Android has created new markets. In addition, it was riding on the anti-incumbency factor that goes with someone using iPhone for 2-3 years. Android has also gone to places where iPhone hasn’t gone before – the cheap smartphones. What if that is all set to change? What if Apple does what Android does?
Apple has been strict in its way of operating. I am sure Apple has its own reasons. But it is beginning to challenge at least two of its own beliefs – going with select carriers and releasing a cheaper iPhone. If Apple has to win back some of the share it has ceded to Android then it has to do three things. Release its iPhones to more carriers than it already does. Release a CDMA iPhone and a cheaper iPhone.
Create more Verizon Effects
How hard could that be? Apple has decided to release the iPhone to Verizon network in the US and for the first time since 2009, Android has seen a drop in the US smartphone market share. Apple has seen one of the steepest hikes in its smartphone share too. Android share has dropped from 52.4% to 49.5%. Remember that this is the first ever drop for Android. There could be other reasons to explain the drop, but the biggest of them all is the Verizon effect. [CNN]
Apple should create more Verizon effects not just in the US but across the world. In India, Apple has tied up with Airtel and Aircel to sell its iPhone 4. A lawsuit was raised for unfair practices as collaborating with just two carriers is anti-competitive. An IDEA or a DoCoMo subscriber would want an iPhone too. Why stop them from having it? In fact, the lawsuit has done Apple a favor in a way. It can sell unlocked iPhones to most of the carriers. There are people who like their gadgets and there are people willing to spend $600 on an expensive bananas. I was one of them. Why not create the respective Verizon effects in the respective countries?
Release a CDMA phone
There was a rumor that Apple is releasing CDMA phone and in India it is in talks with Reliance and Tata. That still remains a rumor. In India 1 in 4 mobile subscribers are CDMA subscribers. Even if you target the top 10% of the CDMA subscribers, it still is a good market. People will flock to a CDMA iPhone. You know why? There aren’t many alternative smartphones for CDMA subscribers. There are few Blackberry’s and Samsung’s but that’s about it. A CDMA iPhone would propel Apple’s fortunes. More than that, it will hurt Android’s.
Release a mini-iPhone
There is no better time to release a cheaper iPhone than now. The market is brimming with $300 Android powered phones from HTC, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Samsung and LG. At that price level Apple really doesn’t have a dog in the fight. It desperately needs one. Even a pug would do. Apple has been skimming the top level and it is time to skim the next level. Besides what does Apple got to lose? Its OS will still be the same. It just have to add one more product to its already clean product portfolio.
I am sure Apple cannot possibly stoop to $100 to compete with Micromax’s and Videocon’s. But $300 is good enough and not necessarily cheap enough.
There’s really no shame in adjusting to the market dynamics.