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May 25, 2017



A historical annecdote.

When the first Macintosh came to market, a PC had, what, 128kB Ram(?) The maximum a Wintel could address was 640kB. The CPU of the Mac could have addressed several MB. Apple could have cornered the market if they had produced a Mac with megabytes of Ram. They never did, and nobody understood why?



Please educate yourself about the rest of the world!
The counties where Apple's presence is a bit stronger are mainly those which see a lot of cultural influence from the US. In the rest of the world things look a bit different.

And I guess you are grossly overestimating Apple's influcence on the market. Yes, they were the first with a modern-era smartphone, but aside from UI details it was an inevitable evolution as computing power became ever more affordable.

Sure, I fully understand how Tim Cook ticks. He's truly a master when it comes to making money from inferior products. But the problem still stands: Apple's speaker is only compatible with iPhones. All other speakers are compatible with everything INCLUDING iPhones.

Which means that Apple has two choices:
1) Lose all the customers which need non-Apple support.
2) Wall themselves in even further by dumping all the apps that connect with the other speakers. But if they do that, be sure they get sued to hell and back for anti-competetive behavior.

And it only makes Apple ever more dependent on the continued success of the iPhone. They do not innovate anymore, and if they release new products it's feature restricted version of competitors' ideas. So once the smartphone market sees the next major disruption, what then? With the Apple from 10 years ago they'd be right in the middle of the disruption, but with the current management and their ideas to maximize profit they'd be late to the party for sure. And will have lost the early adopters. Apple can consider themselves lucky that everything they tried recently are just market niches - a bit extra money for sure but nothing that'd make or break their continued existence.

About the first Macintosh: Sure they could have put multiple megabytes of RAM into it, but what would that have cost? RAM wasn't cheap back then, there was a reason why PC's only came equipped with 128kb. If more would have been economical it would have been done.


"RAM wasn't cheap back then, there was a reason why PC's only came equipped with 128kb. If more would have been economical it would have been done."

I know. But a mac with more money was not to be had for any money. And there was demand, even at those prices. PCs were expandable, so you could get one with more memory. This was made impossible in macs. Mac ram sizes followed where it could have dominated.

There have been several people at the time who wrote like you do now that Apple could have taken the growth path away from Wintel. They did not.



That may or may not be, but let's not forget that this was a different time. It took a long time for computers to get such 'insane' amounts of RAM and consider it normal.

It was also the norm that computers were not designed to be extensible. The PC had been the only system that was extensible by design, and that's what ultimately caused its victory over so many supposedly superior systems.

I still remember back in 1993 when the game Doom was released that many people couldn't play it because they only had 2MB installed. This was the time when 4MB just became feasible.


@Tester: "Depends on what you need. That's pretty much on the high end of quality already, most people can make do with a lot less."

I fully agree.

I can also understand if somebody isn't interested in sound quality at all and hence uses a Samsung Galaxy S-series or an iPhone and a cheap sound system.

But what I find funny is when self-declared "premium" customers use a "premium" smartphone along with cheap speakers. This doesn't fit together _IF_ one is interested in sound quality. And _IF_ you want a sound system I consider "good" then you have to spend at least €2500 for the whole system. And this shouldn't be too much for a "premium" customer, should it?


@Wayne Brady

You are going totally overboard with your enthusiasm for Apple.

"Without Apple, there would not be a smartphone market the size of the one we have today."

Those kinds of counter-factual, uchronic statement are exceedingly dubious.

You simply forget what were the growth rates of mobile phones _before_ the iPhone came into play, that technical evolutions (cheaper flash, touch-screen, wideband data) were already being taken up independently from the iPhone, and that many manufacturers were busily fighting to occupy the high-end smartphone segment.

"Without Apple making it easier to buy music than to steal it, we might not have a viable music industry today."

There you are entirely wrong. iTunes provided a welcome respite to the downward trend in income and revenue for both production companies and artists, but this has been over for _years_ already.

Income and revenue are down in all segments -- media, downloads and even _live concerts_. The only segment which is growing is streaming -- and, surprise, Apple was quite late there, whereas streaming does not yet compensate the reduction in the other sectors anyway.

There are actually well-founded worries about the viability of the music industry. A decade ago, the plan was that iTunes-like downloads would take over from CD, and concerts would always provide the necessary base for artists to thrive.

None of this is true any longer. In an increasing number of countries and genres, concerts are not profitable as such (artists make the difference either with sponsorships, or with side-sales, like catering). Electronic supply of music no longer ensures income either: downloads are down, streaming brings only peanuts to artists.

No, Apple did not ensure the viability of the music industry to this day. The issues it faces are more fundamental than what Apple did or can provide.

"Without Apple, Android phones would look like Blackberry's and still have physical keyboards."

Extremely dubious.

Touchscreen devices, both resistive and capacitive, were already on offer _before_ the iPhone was launched. Since Google has a habit of experimenting with many things, it is on the contrary obvious that by now there would be a wide range of Android touch-slabs, not just keyboard-operated devices.

Apple repeatedly gave the impulses that changed the directions the IT industry was going. The iPhone was a major one in terms of UI and mode of usage.

But attributing to Apple every evolution taking place in the electronics industry, and blowing actual contributions out of proportion severely degrades the credibility of your arguments.


"That may or may not be, but let's not forget that this was a different time."

Except that Apple choose margin and exclusivity over reach. Nothing changed in that respect between 1984 and 2017.


@E. Casais:

"Extremely dubious."

Let's be honest here: If Google hadn't reset Android it may just have tanked. Would that have made any difference? I don't think so. iOS may have been the best touchscreen experience in 2007 but it neither was the only existing nor the only in-development option. Regardless of what some people may think, the road would have led to a more PC-like approach with a professionally designed UI, full web access and good third-party software support anyway. The technical developments would have made that inevitable. If you got a miniature computer in your pocket, nobody would want to run that with a crappy first-generation mobile operating system and all its shortcomings.



"Except that Apple choose margin and exclusivity over reach. Nothing changed in that respect between 1984 and 2017."

I don't think you can compare these two products and come to that conclusion. Back in 1984 things looked a lot different. The original Macintosh was neither overpriced compared to its competition (like most of Apple's stuff is today) and neither was underpowered. They had to strike a balance between features and price and RAM was a huge factor back then which due to its high cost could make or break a new system.


Cook Says Apple Is Focusing on Making an Autonomous Car System

I guess that would be called iCar (or iCrash)?

Abdul Muis


According to GizChina, Xiaomi sold 13Million phone in Q1 2017, so Xiaomi should be number 8.

And it will sell 20 million device in Q2 2017



"Cook Says Apple Is Focusing on Making an Autonomous Car System"

Yes, but where's the iStreets it can drive on...??? :D:D:D


"Cook Says Apple Is Focusing on Making an Autonomous Car System"

A logical market for expansion.

In all cases, Apple sold their luxurious, high margin, product on the back of a mass market of low margin equivalent products. Macintosh vs PC, Macbooks vs Laptops, iPod vs MP3 players, iPhone vs feature phones and then Smartphones. The iPad and iWatch were the exceptions, and that never were the raving cash cows of their other products. Apple never developed their own mass markets (e.g., Apple II, Lisa computer, Newton, iPad, iWatch).

The self driving car is predicted to be a revolution, and this is a market that is potentially might be as big or bigger than the smartphone market. There are many other players that will develop the required infrastructure, regularity easing, and market demand. Apple will just try to position their iCar to capture the high margin sector of the market.

I do not see any other new market on the horizon where Apple might make as big a splash in money terms.



> Google the video of that LG Prada phone and see for yourself how "obvious" that a touch screen phone would be just like an iPhone.

I did that and it is obvious that Apple copied LG Prada!



You are not even entitled to your opinion on LG Prada because that is a fact that iPhone copied LG Prada! See:

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Abdul

Thanks. I always love any sources of data. This however is a dubious source and none of the major analysts agree with those numbers so I'm not buying it. Also no concurrent reporting suggested big success for Xiaomi in Q1 (a surprise hit phone in China) but there was plenty of doom from Xiaomi management... But lets see if any sources collaborate that and if Q2 numbers show better stats for Xiaomi by the other analysts..

Tomi Ahonen :-)


@Wayne Brady
"Apple was the number one seller of personal computers with the Apple II."

There was no sizeable PC market then. That took off only after the IBM PC came to market. And what market there was, was dominated by the Commodore 64.

You missed my point completely.

Apple had success in markets that were already developed by others, PCs, Laptops, Music players, Feature phones, Smart phones etc. Apple always catered to a minority of the people. They made a lot of money, maybe even most money of all, but always by catering to a minority of the people.

Where there was no mass market product, Apple did bad. The Newton comes to mind, as do the Smart watches. Many other product categories are niche products.



Out there are companies which have accomplished more than Apple in music industry, phone market, and in computer business. Your view is completely flawed because in your Apple bubble, Apple is not compared to any other company. And Apple Watch is a flop and the smart watch market is sinking and few years it will be completely gone. Also HomePod looks like the next iFlop. Now Apple is trying to build a car called iCrash.


@Wayne Brady
It seems that folks at Apple are reading this blog. Now that we got to talk about the Prada, they quickly launched a story how Apple had no-button touchscreen plan in 2004 already:



> I celebrate innovation

only and only if it comes from Apple.

Tomi T Ahonen


Haha yeah, more than just Applefolks read our blog and the long discussion threads too..

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi everybody

On the counter-factuals (if there was no iPhone, what would have become of smartphones?)

First. Obviously. Smartphones were invented a decade before the iPhone and were already 10% of all phones sold by the time the iPhone arrived. Cameraphones, internet phones, smartphone apps, games were all well in use before the iPhone. There would most definitely have been an evolution to smartphones even if Apple never gave us the iPhone. Touch screen phones did exist before the iPhone and even the one-touch large-screen LG Prada/Chocolate type of 'slab' phone form factor - like we now think of as the iPhone form factor - existed prior to the iPhone and was destined to have at least SOME success even if there was no iPhone.

It is fair to say that the iPhone DRAMATICALLY accelerated the transition to smartphones - but most of the benefits derived from smartphones did not come via Apple so they would have been with us regardless - from QR codes (China mobile payments today) to mobile wallets. It would be fair to say that the PACE of the change to smartphones would have been significantly slower. We might be at 1/3 of all phones in use today being smartphones and perhaps half of new phones sold now, would be smartphones. Nokia would safely be the largest smartphone maker as they would never have felt the crisis that led them to hire Elop...

It would be fair to think most smartphones today would be button-operated - although even Nokia had pursued screens larger than on the original iPhone before the iPhone had launched (only Americans never saw those smartphones, so Americans never knew this). Because Nokia had launched a touch-screen web tablet device before the iPhone - to results that Nokia deemed as a total failure (similar to how the gaming phone N-Gage was seen as a total failure - both of these sold so many that at Palm or Blackberry or Samsung those sales volumes would have been called a 'hit product' haha) so Nokia would have been remarkably reluctant to try touch-screen smartphones - we'd probably see today a world where many Asian phone makers (Samsung, LG, Huawei, Sony etc) would adopt touch screen phones but Nokia would be slow to join that world. Its conceivable that today Nokia would be the largest smartphone maker but doing its 'Communicator' and various slider-type phone form factors, with large screens but also with buttons.

In that way, the iPhone dramatically altered the landscape, and its fair to assume, had Apple not introduced the iPhone ten years ago, while we would definitely have touch-screen phones today, they may well still be a minority or one category of phones - not the total smartphone space and part of non-smartphone featurephones as they are today.

The app store hysteria stage would almost certainly have been averted, and we'd have gone very naturally to the mobile web, rather than that silly diversion we had for 8 years.

Now about Android. Android would have DEFINITELY have happened anyway for two major reasons. One, Google had decided to pursue mobile relentlessly - before the iPhone. So their money and investment would have been there. And secondly, the Symbian alliance was starting to unravel before the iPhone, out of differences of opinion of its direction. So some of the alliance within Symbian would have definitely have preferred a world without Nokia dominance and 'First Do No Harm' Google (of that time) would have seemed a nicer partner to have than bully-ish increasingly arrogant Nokia. American partners in particular (Motorola) in Symbian and then the opportunists (Samsung) would likely have jumped onboard Android immediately. Meanwhile as we saw, HTC was utterly disgusted with Microsoft and the moment Android was viable, HTC jumped onboard Android. So Android would have had a significant footprint in any case - giving cause for miscellaneous Chinese and other manufacturers to go 'pure Android' or to use Android as one of their platforms.

Would Android be like it is today? Almost certainly no. It is very much a copy of the iOS operating system similar to how Windows was a copy of the Mac OS. I think Android would have been far closer to a 'modern version' of Symbian (with buttons and/or hybrid touch screen and button control).

Note that if smartphones had not taken as large a slice of the mobile handset market as they have today, the total mobile MARKET would be almost identical to what we have today. Most of the growth of the world mobile market was utterly unrelated to the iPhone - haha look at India or Nigeria for example - and its main impact would be that the featurephone side of the mobile market would be a vibrant still-growing part today, not the last dying stages at its end as it is now.

Most of all, if there was no iPhone, we'd still have today a large array of American phone brands, no doubt - Palm, Dell, Motorola, HP, etc (and probably Danger) and of course Blackberry would still be alive and kicking... What Apple killed was not Nokia or the Asian brands, it killed the American brands (and operating systems, Palm, Windows, Blackberry OS, etc)

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Gul Dukat

@Wayne Brady

Thanks GOD
I happy you left.

Abdul Muis


"Most of all, if there was no iPhone, we'd still have today a large array of American phone brands, no doubt - Palm, Dell, Motorola, HP, etc (and probably Danger) and of course Blackberry would still be alive and kicking"

I think the one that killed the large American phone brand is not iPhone, but Qualcom, Mediatek, and a bunch of other phone SOC. The thing is, before the iPhone era, phone manufacture (i.e. Nokia) have to have big engineering skill to custom build, put lots of chip for functionality. That's why we have a big phone with small capability. In iPhone era, the chip manufacture (Qualcom, Mediatek, etc), have integrated all the function needed into single chip. So, it's easier to develop mobile phone.

"Would Android be like it is today? Almost certainly no. It is very much a copy of the iOS operating system similar to how Windows was a copy of the Mac OS. I think Android would have been far closer to a 'modern version' of Symbian (with buttons and/or hybrid touch screen and button control)."

Well, Android is MORE A COPY of modern symbian (the symbian in nokia N8/E7), than the iPhone. That's why the learning curve for symbian user to use android is minimal. Android home screen using the same UI style as symbian, with an app drawer.... Home screen is the one that we can put icon & widget..... app drawer, is the one that only contain apps from installation.

Whereas in iPhone, the home screen & app drawer is fused, with no widget.

Without iPhone, I think most brand will have both the symbian and android and see which one sell more. Just like HTC, Samsung do both Windows & Android.

Abdul Muis

"Whereas in iPhone, the home screen & app drawer is fused, with no widget."

The way iPhone UI works is a direct copy of Nokia S30 OS.

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    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Hong Kong but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

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