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May 25, 2017

Comments

Winter

@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.

paul

@Wayne

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.

Poit

@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:
https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/13/15782200/one-device-secret-history-iphone-brian-merchant-book-excerpt

paul

@Wayne

> I celebrate innovation

only and only if it comes from Apple.

Tomi T Ahonen

Poit

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
bye2
I happy you left.

Abdul Muis

@Tomi,

"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.

Tester

I think the move to touchscreen would have happened regardless of Apple's involvement.

Even before the iPhone, touchscreen devices got better and more usable, the biggest factor holding them back were those inferior resistive screens that made them a hassle to use.

The actual game changer was not Apple but the capacitive touchscreen. This finally made them usable by the common public. What Apple did was to combine a modern functional touchscreen with a good UI that fully exploited its capabilities.

Symbian always has been criticized for its obtuse UI, especially that the paradigm seemed to change from phone to phone so I do not really believe that this kind of UI would have prevailed.

The mere notion of improving what is there would have inevitably led to a similar design sooner or later.

Actually, the biggest thing Apple did was the app store and taking away control from the carriers. In the old scheme of things the carriers were able to block all and any innovation to software design for smartphones, because they had erected inane restrictions and requirements to get the apps into their 'stores'. It was nearly impossible to create good software for high end phones because to get something sold it also had to be available for the low end crap hardware and for many devices that could be programmed natively, most stores still only wanted Java Mobile which was a crappy programming platform and incapable of exploiting a good phone's capabilities even remotely.

I still remember the times when my former boss had endless discussions with those stores' operators about Windows Mobile software. Because it was natively programmed half the stores didn't want it because they were just incapable of delivering non-Java apps. Same for native Symbian. We could have done that but nobody wanted it and so for the most programmable devices of their time the software was of the same quality as for some basic dumbphone that cost a fraction of them.

Per "wertigon" Ekström

@Wayne, now you're just talking crazy. :)

"Nokia never had a chance to compete against real computer operating systems, they didn't have the talent -- even though they foresaw every development that was to come before anyone else."

Microsoft didn't have the talent either. Look at Windows 1.0 and compare it with MacOS - it was laughable. By the time 3.11 came around it was barely usable. And by the time Windows 95 came around... Well, you know the rest.

So, if Microsoft managed to get better and better at software with each iteration -
why not Nokia? There are no guarantees that Nokia would win though.

"Money matters. Apple has completely debunked your "marketshare is everything" nonsense."

So, why is it that they now are stagnating and losing ever more market share? Money isn't useless, and noone said it would be, but it's but one factor of many.

If I had to choose between piles of cash and over 20 percent market share, I'd go for the market share, because I know I'll make more piles of cash with those 20% than I'd ever have now.

Market share is the key deciding factor for platforms. It's that simple. And the Apple platform is slowly eroding the market share ever since.

Per "wertigon" Ekström

@Wayne: That's just like saying electricity would've never been invented without Benjamin Frankling. That's only true if you ignore Nikolai Tesla.

And you're missing my point. Talent, or the lack of it, isn't a skill one is born with. It's acquired. When opportunity meets preparation, that's when you get lucky. But it has very little to do with talent, and everything to do with preparation.

Noone is destined for anything, in the sense that they won't get there without a lot of hard work and dedication. But some people will get more opportunities than others, and even different kind of opportunities.

Now, would things look a whole lot *different* without Apple? Yes. Maybe we'd see more slider-style smartphones, with a hybrid touch/keyboard design. Maybe some other UI-paradigm would be the norm. Maybe the convergence thing actually happened instead of being a "Wouldn't it be nice if..." thought. And so on.

Per "wertigon" Ekström

@Wayne:

I am acknowledging that Apple had a very huge impact on the current smartphone factor.

Just as they had a very huge impact in how desktop UI works. They've set the standard in both cases.

But, Apple is rapidly losing the smartphone market. It's not evident yet, or for years to come, but it is slipping outside their grasp, and once they hit 10% market share, that's when we'll see the slip gradually accelerating...

Per "wertigon" Ekström

@Wayne:

You keep believing that. You'll see. Another down quarter YoY, and then finally christmas quarter... will be down... YoY... And then...

I don't see any way Apple can turn this around any more. India isn't developed enough to save Apple in the short term, and the rest of the world is simply too poor. By the time they lower prices it will be too little, too late.

Then, it's just a matter of how much cash Apple can burn through as they slowly fall. They will fall like a feather, but fall they will - atleast in Mobile. By then a self-driving car might save the company though... :)

chithanh

@Wayne Brady
> Turn what around? Apple is STILL generating far more cash than they need

If they are profitable, this just means that they will still be around in some form.
As I wrote before, Android will be relevant to the future of mobile, while Apple will be relevant to their shareholders instead.

> The falling iPhone market share has been meaningless for years already. All that's going on is the dumbphone to smartphone transition amount the poorest customers.

iPhone sales are also falling in absolute numbers.

Per "wertigon" Ekström

@Wayne: No, Q1 this year was again DOWN, YoY. So no, it's starting to become a trend.

Just as I predicted. :)

Winter

Apple are moving into AI, notably, autonomous systems. It seems Tim Cook does not have the audacity of Jobs to simply enter a new market heads on with hardware and all. They are going the software-only route.

https://newswatchtv.com/2017/06/15/tim-cook-finally-reveals-apple-working-self-driving-cars/

“We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects,” the CEO of Apple states in an interview with Bloomberg. “We’re not really saying from a product point of view, what we will be doing but we are being straightforward that it’s a core technology that we view as very important.”

This pretty much confirms what many had speculated or reports had alluded to, that Apple deep-sixed their effort to produce an autonomous car and instead are stepping back and dealing with the software only. Up until recently they had more than 1,000 engineers working on Project Titan.

Tomi T Ahonen

To all

So he lasted two years (almost to the day) this time, now all gone. He was quite prolific in that time, so that probably stings. I'm sure he (or she) will come back again, under yet another name. Lets see if he/she learns to be more respectful of our community and obey the rules.

As to all our regulars - ignore the trolls, don't celebrate past lunatics, lets move on and forget about that one weirdo. Plenty to discuss...

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

PS Gul

Thanks! Feeling strongly shared :-)

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

To all in this thread

I know you all obsess about the stats nearly as much as I do (some of you, haha, if that is possible - even MORE than I do). So here a VERY rare gem.

Last year's Top 14 smartphone makers, down to all who sold 20M or more in the year. Enjoy:

https://www.electronicsweekly.com/news/business/502156-2017-06/

Tomi Ahonen :-)

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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 www.tomiahonen.com 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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