My Photo

Ordering Information

Tomi on Twitter is @tomiahonen

  • Follow Tomi on Twitter as @tomiahonen
    Follow Tomi's Twitterfloods on all matters mobile, tech and media. Tomi has over 8,000 followers and was rated by Forbes as the most influential writer on mobile related topics

Book Tomi T Ahonen to Speak at Your Event

  • Contact Tomi T Ahonen for Speaking and Consulting Events
    Please write email to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com and indicate "Speaking Event" or "Consulting Work" or "Expert Witness" or whatever type of work you would like to offer. Tomi works regularly on all continents

Tomi on Video including his TED Talk

  • Tomi on Video including his TED Talk
    See Tomi on video from several recent keynote presentations and interviews, including his TED Talk in Hong Kong about Augmented Reality as the 8th Mass Media


Blog powered by Typepad

« Anticipating Apple Strategy Shift with iPhone, with Warning From History | Main

September 13, 2017


Jim Glue

Hi E,

You are cherry picking your Apple wireless stories. Is not bluetooth wireless? No I know you don't buy Apple products, but I can assure you that the W1 chip/Apple Airpods is far and away the absolute best wireless experience there is for bluetooth.

Everyone buys their wireless chips from Qualcomm/Intel - even Apple. The original iPhone being 2G probably had more to do with negotiations with Cingular and the fear of iPhones crashing their 3G network (as Verizon learned when they finally got the iPhone).

I'm confident of two things with respect to the Apple Watch 3 LTE....Apple will fix the problem with a software update...or Apple will fix the problem in hardware and replace all of the defective watches.

Jim Glue

Well, the Google/HTC announcement is very odd. Google didn't buy HTC, they paid $1.1 Billion to hire away HTC's engineers and non-exclusively license HTC's technology. HTC saying that they retain the world's best engineers and will continue to put out their own phones. Really!? I smell BS.

This feels remarkably like Microsoft bailing out Nokia in order to keep Msft's own plans from falling to pieces (which they did anyway). Google needed HTC to continue to exist as it's actually been HTC designing and manufacturing Google's Pixel. This is Google paying HTC money to stay in business and keep the people that were already working on the Pixels to remain working on the Pixels.

So HTC is getting a much needed cash infusion, and reducing their payroll. I sincerely doubt that what remains will make money and HTC will run through that $1.1 Billion in short order forcing Google to pay even more.

Jim Glue

I know it's a fun meme for some here to suggest the iPhone is irrelevant. Well, if so, why is Google making their own phones...even to the extent of buying the engineers from HTC?

The iPhone. That's it. What so many here are loathe to admit is that the iPhone is kicking Android's nether regions due to Apple's unique ability to control the hardware and the software. The iPhone is getting abilities that Android phones simply can't have and the future of this trend is even worse.

Don't think so? You can't explain Google's actions based on chasing market share. Google has all the market share and almost every sale of a Pixel is going to come from Samaung's piece of the pie, not Apple's.

These are not Google Nexus phones. Phones that were "pure Google Android" experience with less than cutting edge features for less than top premium phone prices. Pixels are Google starting it's journey on being able to control the hardware and software like Apple does. You will see in the coming years Google ARM chips, Google GPU chips...everything you see Apple doing now, Google wants to do.

That's a lot of money to spend when it's not going to advance Android's market share and it's going to piss off Google's largest partner.

Google is doing this because they can't let Apple get an insurmountable lead...and Apple is threatening to do just that. Google already has the poor of the world sowed up. It wasn't a contest. Apple has no interest.

But each phone user is not equally valuable. Google knows this which is why Google full supports the iPhone. Google CAN'T ignore the iPhone market. Google did ignore Windows Phone because they could.

Google is experiencing with Apple what they feared from Msft. The company that controls the platform can detrimentally affect your business. The Apple maps fiasco was also a Google maps fiasco. By withholding turn by turn voice directions from it's iOS app Google forced Apple to make their own maps. And as bad as the initial roll out was...Google still lost 60% of the iPhone maps business. Siri search is powered by Bing.

Google is still the default search engine for Safari, but Google pays billions for that to be so. Any time Apple wants to, they could turn that off....and make DuckDuckGo the default (which Apple could spin as a security feature).

Google is an American company and is located in Silicon valley. This notion that the iPhone is irrelevant is simply not true where Google lives.

Google's purchase/bailout/employee transfer from HTC is just one more obvious sign that Apple is setting the agenda and direction of the smartphone world.


@Jim Glue

You seem to be very confident about what Google is up to with its "acquihiring" of HTC. At this point, without precise details about what the deal with HTC entails, we can only speculate. One of the rumours is that Google is taking over the HTC RF Lab. Mobile wireless is an essential competence -- but Google has several projects, possibly even more important than phones, that require mobile connectivity: wearables, home automation (Nest), self-driving vehicles...

Besides, Google exhibits a disturbing tendency to launch major endeavours just to let them fall or wither on the wine shortly thereafter. I would not bet on anything specific regarding its plans.

"Apple is setting the agenda and direction of the smartphone world."

Ah, things are changing.

The recent announcements by Apple show that it is now _also_ reacting to and following the directions set by others (mostly Samsung and to some extent the upcoming Chinese).

The case in point is the iPhone X.

Let us see: a phablet; with an AMOLED display; with the most powerful CPU possible; with face recognition; with wireless charging; dust/water resistant; with minimal bezels; very expensive.

These are precisely the specs of current and recent high-end Samsung (and others) phablets, and which have been always touted by the aficionados of those brands in comparison to Apple offering.

Sure, Apple may provide a better face recognition subsystem, a more powerful CPU, a more gorgeous display. But in essence the iPhone X looks like a "me-too" answer to a typical high-end Android phablet. It is also the first time since the iPhone 3GS that there is such a long period between the launch and the availability of the product.

Clearly, Apple is trying to stake its claim in a very rare subsegment where it feels pressure from competitors (mostly Samsung, as we know).

And it did not achieve this by providing some innovative form factor or fantastic novel functionality (the portrait lighting is a beta feature at this point, and nobody is going to splurge 1000 bucks just for that and animojis), but by packaging the _same set_ of important, directly usable features as its competitors, while outbidding them in performance. A similar product as the others are offering, except with a better implementation (till Samsung&co counter with their own improved products). And it is not just that Apple _must_ provide equivalent features, it also _must_ grab the minds of customers early -- even if they have to wait almost 2 months to get the very first units.

It is a defensive posture, not a leading one.

That concerns only the iPhone X, though. With iPhones 8*, Apple follows unerringly in the path it set a while ago; there is no marked influence of what its competitors are doing.

Apple has _not_ become a slavish copier of what is trending amongst Asian manufacturers. Apple had been previously a follower (on 3G, on large displays, on cameras), but these were individual, albeit important, features. With the single iPhone X, it is the first time it is a follower in a product -- while continuing its own, specific way with the iPhones 8*.

It looks as if Apple management has identified some ground that Samsung has occupied, and wants to dislodge it from there. And it has not found any other response than pushing an equivalent product with an equivalent feature set.

Interesting times. I am curious to see how the phablet competition will turn out (though those are definitely products I would myself never buy). If Apple continues in that direction, I expect genuine, differentiating innovations to appear with the iPhone Y (or XI or whatever) -- possibly linked with the "neural engine".

Jim Glue

Speaking of Google's plan to emulate the success of the iPhone via custom hardware: what custom hardware is coming out of HTC? Does HTC make it's own OLED screen? Make it's own CPU's? It's own anything?

No. (but please correct me if I'm wrong).

Acquiring the phone design talents of HTC is just a baby step in the long term task of owning the entire chain ala Apple. Google needs a PA Semi equivalent to buy to gain the ability to make custom chips the way Apple does. I'm sure Google will, I just don't know what company is out there waiting to be acquired.

Google has a LOT to gain from custom chips and not just in it's Pixel phones. Google has huge data centers that would benefit from Google designing chips just for their own special AI needs (among others).

I find it interesting Google didn't buy HTC's Vive. Does this show lack of commitment for VR on Android smartphones? Google is already revamping it's Tango project to be a lot more like Apple's ARKit. There simply wasn't enough interest by manufacturers or customers.

This is where Apple has a huge advantage in that it's entire base is made up of premium smartphones. Even with Android's huge global install base advantage...Apple will own the largest AR capable market by far. Apple will get the developer attention and effort (again) because there is a larger unified market to sell into.


“Isn't there an "aeroplane mode" where _all_ wireless connectivity is disabled?”

You missed the point. User turns off Bluetooth or WiFi from Notification Center and *expects* them to be off. But they are not.
Because.... Well, just because!!!!

Jim Glue

Well...speaking as a former frequent flyer...the new Airplane mode is what I want when I go on a plane. I want to turn off cellular because, allegedly, something bad will happen to the airplane if cellular is on. You can still use bluetooth and you can still use wifi while the plane is flying.

Before the new mode, I'd turn on "airplane mode" then have to go back and turn on Bluetooth (for sure) and wifi (not that I used wifi on a plane all that much, but sometimes).

So, horror of horrors, if you want to turn off cellular AND bluetooth AND wifi, you will need to do so individually.

That's it, I'm selling my iPhone and switching to Android where Airplane mode has nothing to do with Airplanes and is merely a "monk mode" where you don't want to be contacted, or listen to your bluetooth music, or interact with the internet.


> Well, the Google/HTC announcement is very odd. Google didn't buy HTC, they paid $1.1 Billion to hire away HTC's engineers and non-exclusively license HTC's technology.

Google basically bought patents from HTC which it needs to protect the Android.


Crushing it.

"“According to a new report posted by a Korean news site today, Samsung Electronics is seeking to win back the Chinese smartphone market with the Galaxy Note 8,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple,” [but] preorders for the new Note 8 pale in comparison to those for Apple’s new iPhone 8. ”

“Preorders of the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 reached 8,310 and 5,292, respectively, at JD.COM and Alibaba’s Tmall, the two largest online retail marketplaces in China, as of 2:40pm on September 19,” Purcher reports. “Considering preorders through Samsung Electronics’ official websites and stores, the figure is estimated at over 20,000.”

Purcher reports that Chinese IT news outlet reported, “The iPhone 8 received more than 4 million preorders but the Samsung Note 8 received only thousands of preorders.”"

That is called power.


Let´s get one thing straight.
Apple do not copy or steal things.
They buy things from the component makers.
The problem with the component makers is that they have to ramp up their production to meet the Apples demand in volume and quality. While they are doing it they might sell the component to somebody else and then that OEM can then claim that they were there before Apple. Apple always add their own things to the mix and they will wait that they are ready and happy with the result.

This thing happened with the first iPhone. LG made the touch display. So LG was there before with the LG Prada. Apple added to the mix Multitouch and Gorilla Glass. Apple needed to get the Multitouch ready and wait for the Gorning to start and ramp up the production for the Gorilla Glass. Steve Jobs himself fixed that.

Component manufacturers always talk first with the Apple because they are the richest kid on the block. Deal with the Apple is the best what you can get as a component manufacturer so they go and meet with the Apple so that Apple knows what is coming. Making a product takes years so this happens years before the product actually sees the daylight. This also a problem in reverse order. When Apple went to component manufacturers looking for the components for the Apple Watch they got to know that Apple is going to make a watch. So they immediately started to plan their own watch. They got in to the panic mode. They wanted to be there before Apple. Apple does not care because the second mouse gets the cheese. Apple wants to make sure that their product satisfies the customer so they know that they can wait and let the others embarrass themselfs. Apple also has a road map that only they know and they can also change it very rapidly. (iPad was made to iPhone and later realeased as its own.)

Jim Glue

Apple copies just like everyone else. Well not "just like" everyone else. Apple doesn't clone other companies products whole hog and then try to sell them on the cheap.

But - Apple does follow industry trends led by others in addition to setting their own trend. If Dell had not pioneered the large screen smartphone and Samsung popularized it...we would not have large screen iPhones today. Apple had a principle about the primacy of single handed use. Apple ALSO had the incentive to sell tablets. Small screen tablets were also popularized by others forcing (or enticing) Apple's response.

Other times the trend is obvious and others just beat Apple to delivery. 3G, LTE, small bezel "all" glass screens.

Even when Apple copies - Apple typically puts their own spin on it. I seriously doubt we'd have a HomePod from Apple if the Amazon Echo had not appeared. Apple was setting up the AppleTv to be the center of the connected home. But, seeing the idea in front of them and seeing it catch on....I truly believe Apple THEN came up with the idea of the HomePod as a premium device distinguished by being a great speaker.

Music streaming was not pioneered by Apple. Apple ended up buying Beats to get a jump start on FOLLOWING Spotify.

All the best and greatest ideas will never come from a single company. Apple is smart enough to NOT have a "not invented here so it's not important" mindset.

And yes, iOS has gotten features first delivered and popularized on Android (and vice versa)

Jim Glue

Happy "Aren't you glad you bought an iPhone Day"! New iPhones are available for sale at stores (probably have to stand in a line)....AND....your existing iPhone gets an update to the latest and greatest version of iOS. Day One! Probably for a good five years after you bought your iPhone you still get to run the latest and greatest OS.

Every matter where you purchased it. You don't have to sacrifice buying an iPhone with the cutting edge features or the more generic "Nexus" brand...or a top of the line Pixel. If you have an iPhone that's not older than 5 years old, you get the new OS (if you want it).

You could spend $1000 on the top of the line Galaxy Note 8 and it comes with LAST year's Android. There is no timetable on when the NEW phone you JUST bought will get the new Android. It's typically been 6months or more and then waiting for your carrier after that.

If you are buying those "look how cheap this is and how great the specs are" phone....even at $400 or $500 or $ aren't EVER going to get that new Android version....let alone the next 4 after that.

Yeah...that also means developers have little incentive to update their apps to take advantage of the cool new features of the OS in the first place.

If you buy that new Pixel - direct from Google - at iPhone money - you STILL are only guaranteed 2 years of updates. And that's still only if you buy the unlocked version without any of the carrier incentives.

Happy You Bought an iPhone Day!


Queues barely form at Apple's flagship stores for the launch of its iPhone 8

Olivier Barthelemy


Your HTC story doesn't make any sense.

1st, MS had to buy Nokia because it was the single WinPhone OEM. Andorid has no such problem.
2nd, TC already ahd $1b in the bank, duoubling that gives them plenty of time
3rd, why would Google be forced to pay again since they bought the Pixel team ?

James Glu

The lines should have been down. The exciting iPhone isn't out yet and STILL there were lines all over the world.

Google didn't buy HTC’s manufacturing - so if/when HTC burns through this money, Google will have to save them again.

Android is in no trouble. Google's Pixel phone would have been in trouble if Google had let them fail.

James Glu

Dxo Labs says iPhone 8 cameras best ever in a smartphone. Same company that crowned the Pixel last year. Just goes to show you that you can't tell what has or hasn't improved by reading the specs.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Available for Consulting and Speakerships

  • Available for Consulting & Speaking
    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

Tomi's eBooks on Mobile Pearls

  • Pearls Vol 1: Mobile Advertising
    Tomi's first eBook is 171 pages with 50 case studies of real cases of mobile advertising and marketing in 19 countries on four continents. See this link for the only place where you can order the eBook for download

Tomi Ahonen Almanac 2009

  • Tomi Ahonen Almanac 2009
    A comprehensive statistical review of the total mobile industry, in 171 pages, has 70 tables and charts, and fits on your smartphone to carry in your pocket every day.

Alan's Third Book: No Straight Lines

Tomi's Fave Twitterati