Well that was a nothingburger. Apple's event is over. The new flagship iPhone X has what? Wireless charging and face recognition. Oh, and don't forget the animated emoticons. For this the price is jacked up by more than 200 dollars to $999 without contract for the cheapest Model X. Seriously? The screen is SLIGHTLY larger in a slightly smaller body. Then the rest is utter cosmetics and trivial tweaks. But the flagship iPhone price is suddenly jacked up by a quarter? This may bring nice revenues from most loyal iSheep but some who were already concerned about the price evolution of the iPhone line, and had started to ponder a possible rival phone, they may well now feel that this is just going too far.
I did expect SOME magic to suggest this, the largest leap in iPhone's price in its history (as percent compared to previous flagship) but no. Nothing there. So while yes, the loyalists will stand in line for the X, this flagship will not grow Apple's iFlock. In fact, this will scare away some who were lukewarm nearly iBelievers and this is a great opportunity for many rivals to snatch SOME high-value iCustomers to the Android fold. And this underwhelming iX comes at a time when Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 is doing record business for the Sammy; and various next-tier players from Huawei to Xiaomi to Vivo are reporting hot sales - and even a nearly-forgotten Nokia brand is doing a flagship for us. The iChains are strong but they are not unbreakable. Some will say they can't see the value in the iPhone X, not if they have to pay $999 or more.
At the same time the other two new iPhone models numbered 8, are also priced very highly and not priced to move the model line into any new market segments at all. The only stuff Apple has for those lesser mortals who would pay TWICE THE AVERAGE RATE of a smartphone - is old obsolete iJunk smartphones. All this spells to me - lackluster iPhone sales into the Christmas quarter ie calendar Quarter 4, and poor performance in China's New Year gift-giving period that follows in the January-March calendar Quarter 1. With Q4 lukewarm sales - after how this year has gone for the iPhone - we can expect roughly flat iPhone unit sales vs year 2016. We could see a fall in iPhone sales vs 2016. That would be the second year of falling iPhone unit sales. (Warning bells? Anyone? The overall smartphone INDUSTRY is still growing. Why is Apple not able to even match the growth level of the industry?)
Worse than that, is how it bodes for the start of next year. This is Apple's 'best shot' of the year, and it is truly underwhelming - combined with highway-robbery level price increases. Any sensible rival can make SMALLER price jumps, but put in some more exciting tech, and steal some of Apple's potential customers - in particular those who are not yet fully in the iSheep camp. Samsung's next Galaxy flagship has a HUGE opening now to move some goalposts (and there is the persisting rumor that we will get a folding-display to double screen size). If we get two years of falling iPhone sales, as is now quite possible - it then sets quite large hopes/expectations for the XS model for this time in 2018. And there IS a surging Huawei coming. It has held the third-ranked smartphone manufacturer title for four years in a row (annual unit sales) and certain to add this year, to make it 5 in a row. In that time Apple has fallen from 20% to 14% while Huawei has climbed from 5% to 10%. By the summer of 2018 we should see individual Quarters where Huawei inches just ahead of the iPhone - and then that will be a dramatic shock to many who have truly iBelieved in the iMagic and in imaginary iEconomics. Around year 2019 we may see full-year sales for Huawei on par with Apple and a true race for second place (Samsung is obviously safely the largest smartphone maker now and then).
Well.. the old adage holds true - to see what Apple will do next on its flagship, just look at an old Nokia flagship. Wireless charging? Nokia had in 2014... Now as to things like OLED displays haha, those have been staples on various rivals from Samsung to Nokia for YEARS.
Will this new iPhone 8 and X model line sell well? Yes. Will Apple make massive sales revenues and humongous profits? Sure. But will these phones grow Apple's market share? Of course not. Apple has not just stopped growing market share (5 years ago) but it has now stopped even growing mere unit sales. And if you thought last year was an anomaly, and the 'anniversary iPhone' would somehow fix the 'temporary' drop in unit sales then no, that will not happen. These iPhones will continue the slow decline in annual unit sales of iPhones. And while most iFans will just cheer on, giddy in ridiculous-level profits - some sensible analysts will start to get a .. little bit .. alarmed that wait, haven't we seen this movie before?
Now about movies seen before. I gave you a prediction on this blog about a total flop for the Apple Watch. I said there is no market for smart watches and the iWatch, sorry the Apple Watch will not survive to 3 editions. On that, today I have been proven wrong. Apple did get its third edition Apple Watch out - so yeah, I am not infallible and I got that call wrong. As to smart watches? They are a disastrously bad market opportunity for anyone. If Tim Cook wasn't personally married to the apperance of the Apple Watch as his first 'post Steve Jobs' product, he'd have killed it already. But yeah. There is SOME sales. The sales numbers are so bad - that Apple refuses to give us the numbers and hides behind guesses made by analysts. We know from that, that the true Apple Watch numbers are EMBARRASSINGLY bad. But yeah, I predicted that Apple would pull the plug at this stage. They rather maintain the embarrassment for another cycle. Ok, I got that guess wrong. I still hold that there is no big market for smart watches and that if Apple honestly felt the Apple Watch was a success, they'd be yelling about those sales numbers and publishing them at every Quarter. Apple know the iWatch is a total flop. But ok, they did make a third edition. I did get that call wrong. I am sorry about that. Just don't be mistaken into thinking there is any sustainable mass market for any wrist-based media etc... Some iSheep will wear the iBracelets yes, but there is no mass market for smart watches. It will be a fad that will soon be gone.
Back to iPhones. Am truly disappointed in that Apple had nothing amazing for us, yet it did that outrageous price bump. Again their timing is off. Apple COULD have done this when they did the phablet screen bump. At THAT point, Apple left so much money on the table and had a missed opportunity (I told you then, calculated on this blog, that a market for $1,000 dollar price premium smartphones was viable). But this move now, with this lame an upgrade, is going to hurt Apple. Not that they would be in any danger for their total revenue growth or profits, but for unit sales - now it looks like a second year of unit sales numbers actually fall - or at best, are flat vs 2016. There is no 'recovery' powered by the anniverary iPhone.
Now finally. We do know how Apple intends to revise modern mathematics. The new iMath by Apple goes like this, based on iPhone model numbers: 0, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 7, 8, X. No ones, no nines. And the 'cool way' to 'write' a 10 (which by octa-math is of course what we know as an 8 on our decimal system) is with X. I could go with that, but by that logic, shouldn't a 'zero' then be a slash? like / or would the zero be \? I am not sure...
I am not saying Apple is doomed. I have NEVER said that on this blog. I AM saying, that this X model and the 8 iPhones will not resurrect the iPhone line into unit sales growth. And yes, obviously, I was correct back when I said that Apple's market share had peaked. That has never recovered either. More market share declines coming. But Apple the company will be fine, more revenue growth and more profits yes. Just don't think the iPhone or iOS is anything more than a niche market. Rich, large niche yes, but a niche market. The mass market and digital future of the next decade (indeed, this century) belongs to Android and Google.