October 5th, 2011

Three reas­ons Apple launched the iPhone 4S and not the iPhone 5

Apple’s share price briefly dropped by almost 5% in response to the launch of the iPhone 4S — or more spe­cific­ally the non-​appearance of the iPhone 5.

How­ever, even though the iPhone 4S looks no dif­fer­ent to the iPhone 4, accord­ing to Apple “it is entirely new from the inside”.

It includes the faster A5 pro­cessor, a bat­tery with a longer life and a “world phone” chip to make it work on both CDMA, widely used in Amer­ica, and GSM, which dom­in­ates in Europe. A new anten­nae design allows file trans­fers at speeds com­par­able with 4G, not to men­tion bet­ter voice call recep­tion, and a 8 mega­pixel cam­era with 1080p HD video record­ing capabilities.

But per­haps the biggest selling point of the iPhone 4S is the inclu­sion of the Siri “per­sonal assist­ant” — or voice-​activated Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence soft­ware — which can be used to access inform­a­tion or accom­plish tasks such as enter­ing appoint­ments, provid­ing weather reports, read­ing and send­ing texts or find­ing the nearest res­taur­ant in response to a user’s spoken request.

iPhone 4S plus iOS 5 plus iCloud is a break­through com­bin­a­tion that makes the iPhone 4S the best iPhone ever. While our com­pet­it­ors try to imit­ate iPhone with a check­list of fea­tures, only iPhone can deliver these break­through innov­a­tions that work seam­lessly together.” Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice pres­id­ent of World­wide Product Marketing

Yet, des­pite the new fea­tures, the ini­tial response was one of dis­ap­point­ment. Given that expect­a­tions had been heightened by the delay in launch­ing a suc­cessor to the iPhone 4 this was hardly a sur­prise. So, why did Apple launch the iPhone 4S rather than the iPhone 5?

Here are three reas­ons worth considering:

1. Apple focused on the iPhone for ‘the rest of us’

Fact: More people are buy­ing Android-​based smart­phones than iPhones.

Accord­ing to recent estim­ates from com­Score, Android’s U.S. mar­ket share is 41.8% com­pared to Apple’s 27%. In Europe, it’s 22.3% for Android and 20.3% for iPhone. World­wide, some ana­lysts estim­ate that Android is clos­ing in on 50% of the smart­phone market

Whilst the iPhone is way ahead when it comes to prof­it­ab­il­ity — it cap­tured over 65% of mobile phone profits in Q2 2011 — Apple can’t afford to ignore the growth in Android uptake, par­tic­u­larly in coun­tries with enorm­ous poten­tial, such as China and India. And whilst there is more than one chal­lenge for Apple to over­come to com­pete effect­ively in these mar­kets — for example, tech­no­logy in India and car­rier rela­tion­ships in China — per­haps the biggest is price.

It was no coin­cid­ence that Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, star­ted the iPhone 4S launch by talk­ing about the open­ing of new retail stores in Hong Kong and Shang­hai, and explain­ing that 100,000 people vis­ited the Shang­hai store on its open­ing week­end. It took Apple’s L.A. store a month to reach the same number.

But whilst there appears to be an abund­ance of eager con­sumers in China, the iPhone can cost more there than it does in the U.S.

In India – the second largest tele­com mar­ket after China — Apple accoun­ted for just 2.6% of India’s smart­phone ship­ments in a mar­ket with 602 mil­lion sub­scribers, accord­ing to a recent Bloomberg report. Cur­rently, Apple ships more iPhones to Nor­way, Bel­gium and Israel.

Here too, amongst other issues, price is a concern.

In truth, price is not just an issue in those mar­kets. Apple has been com­pet­ing in most coun­tries against a range of Android-​based devices with a far greater spread of price points, as well as cheaper devices from RIM and Nokia.

Apple’s chal­lenge is to provide broader access to its iPhone through a greater range of price points without dilut­ing its high-​end brand caché. Retain­ing the iPhone 4 and 3GS whilst lower­ing their price allows Apple to offer more afford­able iPhones without cre­at­ing a sub-​standard iPhone. At the same time, Apple hopes, the new iPhone 4S, will do enough to appeal to high-​end users who would have upgraded anyway.

2. Apple focused on con­vert­ing more of us to more of Apple

Apple has long under­stood the value of cap­it­al­ising on the interest in iOS devices — first the iPod and now the iPhone and iPad — to attract users away from win­dows based PCs to Apple Macs. Again, it was no coin­cid­ence that Tim Cook spoke about the suc­cess of the latest Mac OS, Lion, and the Mac range, dur­ing the iPhone 4S launch event.

Apple has been beaver­ing away mak­ing ready its cloud-​sync ser­vice — the iCloud. To some extent Apple is play­ing catch-​up with Google and Microsoft in the cloud-​sync space, as well as pro­tect­ing its pos­i­tion as an enter­tain­ment hub against Amazon.

But, part of its appeal surely lies in show­ing off the bene­fits of seam­less integ­ra­tion between Apple products and in the pro­cess selling more Macs — if iCloud is launched successfully.

There will be some nervous­ness and a great deal of resource and effort focused on get­ting iCloud right, given that the fiasco that was the launch of Apple’s MobileMe — Apple’s pre­vi­ous foray into this area — is still not yet a dim and dis­tant memory.

3. Apple focused on get­ting it right

Apple is at its best when bring­ing high-​end products to the mass mar­ket. It is rarely first but often deliv­ers the solu­tion that sets the bench­mark. And if it feels that depend­ant tech­no­lo­gies aren’t yet ready, it has been known to delay their inclu­sion — 3G and, if the rumours are cor­rect, NFC being two examples.

It may well be that the iPhone 5 has been in par­al­lel devel­op­ment. But, if Apple lacked con­fid­ence in crit­ical tech­no­lo­gies com­ing together to provide a superb user exper­i­ence, it would true of the cul­ture at Apple to leave them on the lab shelf, irre­spect­ive of the expect­a­tions of users or the fin­an­cial ana­lysts. Apple is best at put­ting best before first.

Per­haps that’s what Tim Cook was refer­ring to in his clos­ing remarks when he said, “Only Apple could make such amaz­ing hard­ware, soft­ware and ser­vices and bring them together into this exper­i­ence. I am so incred­ibly proud of this company.”

iPhone 4S — The ‘small print’

Pro­cessor and bat­tery
• A dual-​core A5 chip deliv­ers twice the pro­cessing power of the iPhone 4 and crisp graph­ics
• A bat­tery life of eight hours of talk time on a 3G net­work or 14 hours on a 2G net­work.
• It can browse the inter­net on Wi-​Fi for up to nine hours and via 3G for six hours.

• The 8MP sensor has 60% more pixels than iPhone 4
• New cus­tom lens, a lar­ger f/2.4 aper­ture and an advanced hybrid IR fil­ter
1080p HD res­ol­u­tion video recording

iOS 5
• Avail­able to down­load to exist­ing iPhone 4 and 3GS hand­sets on 12 Octo­ber
• More than 200 new fea­tures includ­ing Noti­fic­a­tion centre, a way to view and man­age noti­fic­a­tions in one place
• iMes­sage, a new mes­saging ser­vice that lets you send text mes­sages, pho­tos and videos between all iOS 5 users
• iCloud, lets users auto­mat­ic­ally and wire­lessly store con­tent (ie music, films, TV shows and pho­to­graphs) in iCloud and push it to all devices

• iPhone 4S will be avail­able in black and white in three price/​memory bands
• $199 (US) for the 16GB model
• $299 (US) for the 32GB model
• $399 (US) for the new 64GB model
• Avail­able from 14 Octo­ber
UK and Ire­land prices have not been announced
• iPhone 4 (8G) avail­able for $99 (US)
• iPhone 3GS (8G) avail­able for free with two-​year contract

• Avail­able 14 Octo­ber in the US, UK, Canada, Aus­tralia, France, Ger­many and Japan
• In the US, it will be avail­able on Sprint Nex­tel Corp, as well as the exist­ing car­ri­ers AT&T and Ver­i­zon Wire­less
• All five of the UK’s mobile net­works will offer the hand­sets under con­tract
• By the end of the year, the 4S will be avail­able in 70 coun­tries on 100 carriers

1 comment to Three reas­ons Apple launched the iPhone 4S and not the iPhone 5

  • Heb deze pagina gevonden via Google en dit was pre­cies wat ik zocht. Heb het gelijk doorges­tuurd naar een vriend, hij was hiernaar opzoek! Mooie site trouwens!

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