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« Some Numbers Updated and Milestones Noted: 7.6B Subs, 5.0B Uniques, Mobile minutes 95/day, and Uber goes SMS | Main | Tidbits from Smartphone Wars - Carl Zeiss, HTC, Sammy and look out for Huawei vs iPhone next two quarters. »

July 04, 2017

Comments

Antonio

Hi Toni,
Great analysis but "easy to use" everything Apple? Not if you go below the surface (I know, the world will never agree on this). 3 years ago I bought an Imac to try the "Apple Experince", having followed the PC industry since the Mac was launched and later when IBM launched their first PC in 1981.

I subsequently bought an Iphone, an Ipad, a Macbook, Apple TV and an Apple router. I don't think I have ever spent so much time on google trying to figure how to do rather simple tasks - I would rate myself an expert user - and quite often find out that 'that wasn't possible to do' on the Iphone and another thing not being possible to do on an Imac. Just ask any mac user how to do a 'forward delete' or how to type the @ sign to send an email on a Danish keyboard!

I sold my newly acquired Apple colletion after about 6 months in frustration. I couldn't believe the simplicity, lack of features and the infamous Apple 'tyranny'/'dictatorship' concerning how things should be done or if they were supposed to be possible to do in the first place. And I am not in any way a 'geeky' user.

Apple does magnificient design - though often copied from Braun - and their operating systems are fast and very responsive. That is a pleasure. But doing office related tasks, trying to use Iphoto etc, impossible. I still think that Apple re-invented tech twice big time. The first personal PC with a graphical user interface in 1984 and the Iphone in 2007 which brought together a lot of advanced user interface tech and great opererating system to create an unparalled user experince. For me, as a marketing guy, Steve Jobs introduction of the Iphone stands as the best product presentation in history.

For most people that use computer tech to look at facebook, post photos, write email, surf the web and similar simple tasks, Apple products are great although I don't know if that is more difficult on Windows or Android. I believe that the 'easy to use' myth stems mainly from the first Mac in 1984 - that certainly was easier to use than anything on the market (as was their very first product from 1976- The Apple I).

Antonio

I think we should distinguish between:

1. Easy to operate (user interface)
2. Easy to use (accomplishing tasks)

Abdul Muis

@Antonio

"I think we should distinguish between:

1. Easy to operate (user interface)
2. Easy to use (accomplishing tasks)"

Agree with you. By having a more complex interface, android (and windows, and linux desktop) UI have more power to accomplish things (easy to use).

By having less complex interface, apple product were easier to operate.

And I dont think apple have the advantage here. Because new user mostly a more educated in electronic era (kid, nowdays). I think apple strength will be their weakness in the future.

And BTW, I think apple OS is getting more complex with each update, and android OS is getting smarter (thus easier) with each update.

Jim Glu

Hi Huber - good thoughts you put forth. And while I agree mismanagement by the competition played a huge role, it's not all that relevant to the point I was making.

The iPhone was a different type of product and appealed to a different class of consumer. Those who already had bought into the Blackberry/E90 style product were not the ones who were attracted to the iPhone. All the early criticism about not having a physical keyboard, no selfie cam, no video...for heaven's sake, no copy and paste: all of those criticisms were right on target.

If, that is, your target was the Blackberry/E90 phone and email/messaging phone.

What was good about the iPhone was the "computer in your pocket" plus the convergence of iPod/iTunes with the phone in a much better way than the derided Moto Rokr. A new user experience paradigm, the multi-touch, that needed no keyboard and mouse, needed no stylus. That was the big breakthrough. The most important computer app, the browser, delivered in a pocketable device with a user experience designed for the size and on-the-go nature of a mobile product. Throw in maps, youtube and email and you had the basic starter set for the first year, early adopter experience.

The iPhone was thus inadequate to the needs of those already in the smartphone market using it for heavy messaging, phone calls, and to a MUCH MUCH less extent, apps. But the iPhone opened up smartphones to a whole new class of user.

By considering the original iPhone the same thing as a Blackberry/E90 -- one will forever be confused as to how to explain the massive success of the iPhone. Truly, for the first 5 years or so, one could easily point out how every feature was a poor/under spec’d version of what had existed already for years in the competition.

But a one sided race was on…a race where a NEW class of device is delivering NEW must have features while catching up to “once in demand, old school features”. Hear me out. I’m not saying that cameras were ever unimportant. I’m saying that having a great browser experience was NEW and much in demand for a NEW class of consumer who hadn’t already been wedded to a Blackberry/E90. The iPhone’s “OS/X in your pocket” was a great driver of the new features (apps) but came at the huge cost in processing power and battery life. Many more iterations and improvements in the processor and OS had to occur.

Seriously - you think Apple couldn’t have sourced better cameras from the same places the competition was buying them?

It would have been a two way race had the Blackberry/E90 phones even tried to compete as genuine computers in your pocket by improving them (ok, the Storm was Blackberry’s really awful attempt at improvement). Instead, EVERYONE went to their new platform. New platforms take time. Could Apple improve the iPhone faster than Msft, Nokia, Blackberry, Pam and a few others come up with their own modern pocket computer answer.

Well, no, they couldn’t because Google pivoted fastest. Google then gave away their OS in order to have Google Services running on as many handsets as possible (including the iPhone). Once Google released Android, the new paradigm was set and the Blackberry/E90 were put to rest.

So yes, the original iPhone was a terrible competitor to the Blackberry/E90. For a few years afterward, the Blackberry/E90 crowd could still crow about how late and lame all of the iPhone’s specs were (camera, video, MMS, keyboard, etc.) Meanwhile the iPhone was mopping up with a NEW set of customers. And then with Android the new category product with the old category’s name “smartphone” eventually surpassed the Blackberry/E90 in even the very things those phones were great at.

It was foreseeable - they day of the announcement of the iPhone by Steven Jobs. And those who reacted instantly (Google/Andy Rubin) were richly rewarded. Those who evaluated the NEW iPhone with OLD “what a smartphone should be” glasses were doomed.

Tester

@Jim Glu:

"It was foreseeable - they day of the announcement of the iPhone by Steven Jobs. And those who reacted instantly (Google/Andy Rubin) were richly rewarded. Those who evaluated the NEW iPhone with OLD “what a smartphone should be” glasses were doomed."

True. I can still remember when my former employer got their first iPhone. The unanimous reaction went "The UI is truly great - just too bad that the phone cannot be programmed." But it was also clear that Apple would come around quickly and fix those problems.

But the dismissive reactions by the rest of the industry were truly baffling: Trapped in some hoard mentality that took success of their model for granted but never ever asked themselves what the customers wanted. The reality was, most customers were sick to death of those shitty user interfaces 'classic' mobile phones came attached with - touchscreen or not. Nobody ever thought about a satisfying user experience. And the worst thing is, they didn't even understand when the iPhone was finally there. It's ironic but if you think about it, inevitable, that two outsiders managed to take over the entire business in a handful of years.

And of course the web browser problem...

Jim Glu

It took two. As we ponder the impact of the iPhone, you can't ignore Android...no more than you can talk about what the Mac brought to the computing world without Windows.

Here's an article from The Verge which makes the case that Windows Phone was killed by Android and not the iPhone: https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/14/15970082/google-killed-windows-phone-not-iphone

There is no doubt in my mind that Android with it's open source distribution (but not REAL open source as normally envisioned as community collaboration) is what both killed off the existing competition dead (Windows Mobile, Symbian, Blackberry, Palm) but made sure that nobody else could rise up (Windows Phone, Meego, Sailfish, Bada, Firefox OS, etc. etc.)

Apple is never interested in creating software for other companies to make hardware. Apple makes a vertically integrated product. Apple uses it's software and services to justify higher prices/margins - delivering a product with enough differentiation that competitors can't copy (try as they might).

So it takes a Microsoft or a Google who has a different mission in mind to take Apple's revolutionary user-friendly interfaces to the masses. You can certainly copy enough of the ideas of Apple (and yes, all companies copy from everyone else to some extent, even Apple) to go to market. And by selling or giving away your operating systems, you can get far more traction and marketshare (as a whole combined platform) than Apple ever will.

Let's imagine that Android never came about. It would not be the case that everyone would have iPhones today. We'd have Windows Phone, Web OS and or Meego either as one dominant response or some combination. But Google responded with Android so much quicker and did such a good job that it was Android that truly destroyed the sales of the competition and prevented their iPhone-response OS's from succeeding.

But you can't get past the following:

"Rubin was so astonished by what Jobs was unveiling that, on his way to a meeting, he had his driver pull over so that he could finish watching the webcast.

“Holy crap,” he said to one of his colleagues in the car. “I guess we’re not going to ship that phone.”"

The Android that took over the world was not the Android in development at the time. The Android that took over the world is the Android that was completely revamped to be an iPhone-Style smartphone.

Tester

@Jim Glu:

"Here's an article from The Verge which makes the case that Windows Phone was killed by Android and not the iPhone"

Well, I'd rather say that WP was mostly killed by Microsoft itself with a string of bad business decisions that just incrementally alienated more customers.

- first, releasing the OS with a new UI that was nearly universally derided by customers.
- second, not reacting to customer feedback and fixing the UI.
- third, forcing the same disliked UI onto their desktop users as well.

And at that point all goodwill was gone for good. The thing is, had WP been any good and with a decent UI (in the eye of the public), the Nokia partnership would have yielded some results.
Ultimately this ended up in a hopeless fight against an opponent with such a strong advantage that the end was foreseeable before the thing even started. The product just wasn't competetive.

James Glu

Hi Tester,

I'm sure Msft did plenty wrong. I'm sure each company did. However, since all of the existing platforms were swept away in a short amount of time and NONE of the other platforms were able to be established...then what iPhone/Android did right is the driving force(s).

Two companies, neither of which had ANY Telecom experience destroy the market for a collection of large, powerful and well established experts/pioneers in the industry...that's worthy of multiple text books and study for generations.

Apple/Google are from Silicon Valley in the US....far away from Finland, Japan or even Canada where the mobile telecom Lords lived.

Read the article. Google was afraid of Msft and THAT's why they bought Android in the first place. However American and wrong headed was that? Msft wasn't ruling Mobile...Nokia was. And much smaller but the next biggest power was RIM. A clueless, American centric company was an unlikely candidate to unseat anybody, let alone might Nokia and RIM.

What happened was that Apple was first to DEFINE a new paradigm that obsoleted every existing platform. Not day one, but the end was never in doubt. Andy Rubin instantly recognized this...knew there was no point in delivering the product he had been working on for years and was about to release.

Android was simply infected with the iPhone virus first....transformed at the DNA level from the old paradigm to the new.

Mr. Monk

@James Glu

I was wondering if you have daughter who has unfortunate event with her iPhone, and you punish her with cheap android.

Tester

@James Glu:

All correct, but when talking about Windows Phone it might be better to ignore the old Windows Mobile because both had nothing in common.

Microsoft tried to release an Android competitor in 2010 when the market already started to sort itself out. This being Microsoft with a lot of money, of course they were able to temporarily buy some market share.

And if their product had been any good it might have gone further. At this time Android still suffered from some annoying problems that only got fixed later and a WORKING competitor might have been able to do some damage here.
But no matter how this gets twisted anf turned, WP was anything but a working competitor - WP7 was a crippled cheap shot that just screamed 'wait for next version', so many potential users waited. And then the next version came - completely incompatible with its predecessor - and any smart person knew immediately that Microsoft was incompetent in the mobile space and had to steer clear of them.

The main issue to point out is, that Microsoft orchestrated its inept actions perfectly to doom their entire endeavour right from the start and never fixed the problems in the process, all culminating in their CEO being fired.

James Glu

Hi Tester,

Without Android, WP or Meego or WebOS would have risen to challenge the iPhone for the same reasons Android did. The iPhone set expectations that HAD to be met.

You couldn't keep on producing DOS and DOS apps after the Mac was released. Even though the first Mac was a toy that couldn't do hardly any real productivity task that computers were used for. Not at first.

But because there was Android, and because Android was given away for free, and because Android beat the others to the market with enough of the right stuff...the need for an iPhone-killer was filled.

Apple's "there's an app for that" campaign was perhaps the final death blow. A marketing coup that set expectations that one HAD to have these wonderful apps. For this there needed to be developers who then had to support iOS and Android which was hard enough. No,third platform could hope to draw the needed developer support.

I don't disagree that Msft made its share of errors, as did Nokia, RIM, Palm. For that matter so did Apple and Google. But whar Apple and Google did right is what mattered most,

Tester

@James Glu:

"I don't disagree that Msft made its share of errors, as did Nokia, RIM, Palm. For that matter so did Apple and Google. But whar Apple and Google did right is what mattered most,"

Correct - but when one looks at the list of errors those companies did one can only scratch one's head. The combined amount of ignorance there was what enabled Google to take over in the first place. Even though they were first to follow Apple, it would have been a good deal harder, had they had any competition that was seriously trying to catch up.

Ultimately they all did their best to do themselves in:

- Microsoft by not listening to customer feedback about their OS's weaknesses and acting in the most boneheaded manner imaginable.
- Nokia and RIM by simply ignoring realities and sticking to the old for too long and for Nokia the icing on the cake was then having a panic reaction that destroyed what was left in an instant.
- Palm also basically killed themselves by bad management decisions.

Lullz

@Tester

"Nokia and RIM by simply ignoring realities and sticking to the old for too long"

They didn't have the next generation product ready in time. Nokia's biggest mistake before 2011 was to start over the work on MeeGo UI in August 2010. That pretty much guaranteed that Nokia was not able to ship MeeGo in 2010. A huge mistake.

Tester

@Lullz:

Nokia's biggest mistake was not realizing that they had to change when the iPhone was released and not even reacting when Android was released. They held the first MeeGo back because they feared it'd cannibalize their own product line, screw the fact that it was about to become obsolete rather sooner than later. And that ultimately resulted in their product not being ready in time.

Of course you cannot dismiss the market share they still had at the end of 2010. Had they not panicked then and bet on the wrong horse they still might have been able to salvage a sizable chunk of their business.

chithanh

I don't think that Nokia needed to react to the iPhone in a way that cannibalized Symbian. Tomi pointed out multiple times that the vast majority of Nokia's sales were in a price range where Apple doesn't even have a product.

Android however was a whole other matter. Most of Nokia's Symbian customers defected to Android when Nokia decided to become a Windows-only vendor. Nokia was advised by industry experts to launch Android phones, before they fired Elop's predecessor.

About holding MeeGo back, there are different theories, involving Moblin, suddenly porting everything to Qt because of the Trolltech purchase, MeeGo proper vs. Harmattan (actually Maemo), etc. being what actually caused it to be not ready in time.

James Glu

Hi folks,

The common thread in all of these "they screwed up" accounts is the very real pressure that the iPhone created. Didn't matter that the iPhone wasn't available at all price points. What mattered was carriers across the globe demanding an iPhone competitor.

You must be iSheep

@James Glu a.k.a Jim Glu a.k.a baron95 a.k.a wayne brady

"What mattered was carriers across the globe demanding an iPhone competitor."

Going back to your favourite tag line heh?

Lullz

@Tester

Maybe Nokia could have salvaged some sales with Android. MeeGo however was seriously delayed and it's questionable if few phones released in H2 2011 could have been able to compete against Android. The hardware for MeeGo phones was ready but the problem was on the software side.

@Jamel Glu

Nokia probably panicked because they thought Apple would soon start rolling out low end iPhones. They never did but Nokia didn't know that.

James Glu

Hi Lulz,

I don't think Nokia panicked about the iPhone ever. Much to their demise. By the time Nokia reacted it was because of Android...and they couldn't get Google to treat them special, so they chose Msft and Msft's money.

I do think the carriers panicked as the iPhone was stealing their best customers. And remember, before the iPhone, carriers dictated to the manufacturers what their phones were to be like.

The carriers that didn't have the iPhone put out attack ads against the iPhone. Think of how ludicrous that is. You are a CARRIER and you are having to try and convince your customers that a particular PHONE was undesirable. And we are talking about the world's most powerful carriers.

Even when those carriers finally got decent Android phones to sell, they spent tens of millions on ad campaigns attacking the iPhone. A PHONE. Even though they had the best networks and perfectly good Android phones to sell by that time - their business was still threatened by the iPhone.

Until the exclusivity agreements ran their course and Verizon and the like could sell iPhones too. Then those carriers stopped spending money trying to convince their customers the iPhone was bad.

Then the ever cheaper Android phones started coming and there was no holding Android back. They won big

Lullz

@James Glu

I've read the book from Jorma Ollila and from there got the impression that Nokia was panicking about iPhone in 2008 when Apple was starting with the App Store and iPhone 3G was starting to sell really well for a phone that expensive. It may have been easy to think that if iPhone was expensive and selling that well, how well would it be selling as a Nano version. Lots of blogs suggested that Apple was going to launch a cheaper model and there you have it. Lots of reasons for a small panic.

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