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« Anticipating Apple Strategy Shift with iPhone, with Warning From History | Main | It Opens Like a Book - How 'Good' Would a Fold-Open Screen Be Like? Anticipating Samsung Innovation »

September 13, 2017

Comments

Tester

@Lullz:

"A big change and let's face it, the need for a physical card is a thing from the past."

For Apple it may be a great idea. For anyone else, not so much. Being dependent on the phone to access your account is problematic at best and a dick move at worst - classic Apple to create more vendor lock-in and limit user options to what Apple approves of.

I cannot imagine that there's any carrier that may welcome such a move. Apple forced them into a corner once, and now they try again, and like last time, it's the carriers that will lose out in the end, not to mention the customers who will see far more limitations in the contracts they can purchase. - And, of course, if Apple plays this the hard way (which I'd expect) some actions from the European antitrust agencies.)

Abdul Muis

Funny thing is...

One of the reason CDMA was not popular and loosing the fight against GSM because CDMA in early age were cardless.

Apple virtual sim is a step back

E.Casais

"Buying a phone and being able to use it on any carrier".

But that is already the case -- exchange the SIM card for another one. There even are dual and even triple-SIM devices that allow you to use 2 or 3 operators nearly simultaneously. The virtual SIM card will not bring anything totally new, it may streamline some of this.

More to the point: a physical SIM allows you to change the _device_ you want to use (another phone, a wireless USB key, etc), just by switching the SIM card from one device to another.

How to achieve that with a virtual SIM?

CDMA devices were optimized for operators: one could not use a device with a different operator, nor use a different device with the same operator without some hassle and buying it from the operator (instead of just switching a SIM). I am not convinced that giving Apple (or any other manufacturer) the control of the SIM will not inevitably result in restrictions as to switching amongst devices -- except this time the manufacturer will be in control (and not the operator, nor the end-user).

The virtual SIM card is a nifty idea; except that there is always a price to pay for convenience (and it often is not worthwhile paying for it). I look forward to getting more in-depth information about everything it actually entails.

Isceald Glede

You missed the new big feature: the price.
Here is a phone that proudly screams "I have more money than sense" to gold-diggers everywhere. There are plenty of countries where that is the primary purpose of an iPhone.

Huber

Apparently, HMD releases a new low-end Nokia phone, the Nokia 2. Purportedly, it has a 4000mAh battery: https://www.xda-developers.com/leaked-renders-nokia-2-low-end/

Also, the new Nokia seemingly won't allow customers to unlock the bootloader:https://forum.xda-developers.com/nokia-8/how-to/response-nokia-unlocking-bootloader-t3669147

This move I don't understand: The pre-Windows Nokia phones always were developer-friendly. Why not keep this tradition? What could they lose?

E.Casais

"The pre-Windows Nokia phones always were developer-friendly. Why not keep this tradition?"

Once more, keep in mind that the only part of Nokia that was preserved in that venture is the brand. HMD and Foxconn have a corporate culture grounded in a history that is not beholden to the traditions of a defunct organization.

This being said, the first reactions to the Nokia 3/5/6 are pretty much what I expected when the venture was announced 1.5 year ago.

From the reviews I have read, the summary would be: not bad but unremarkable, few Nokia goodies: solidly built, but batteries are sealed and really do not last particularly long, wireless reception is at best average (the metallic casing takes a toll on reception). Rapid, long-term Android updates are only a promise for the time being. In short, no USP.

The verdict is "not terrific, not terrible, could be cheaper, must do significantly better to become a player in the heavily disputed Android market".

chithanh

@E.Casais
> keep in mind that the only part of Nokia that was preserved in that venture is the brand

You mean that HMD Global who designed the phones, and has headquarters located in Building 2, Nokia Campus in Espoo and employs former Nokia people did not preserve anything except the Brand? And the former Nokia owned factories who now produce these phones for Foxconn didn't either?

> must do significantly better to become a player

Surely Nokia/HMD will have to play it safe for now. They cannot yet afford to invest in expensive duds. They can sell to those who demand solid Nokia phones with Android, and it appears that there are quite a few of those.

> Rapid, long-term Android updates are only a promise for the time being.

Rapid updates is nice but doesn't drive phone sales in the mainstream.

John A

iPhone X is what it is, very expensive. But it coming late at the year. So I suppose this give the new Pixel 2 devices a chance to compete. Will be shown october 5.
For the iPhone 8, they got some nice features but look kind of old with the huge bezels.
And for those who dont mind that I think the new Sony phones is a alternative, they are also shipped with android 8.0 out of the box. Especially here in the european market Sony might have a chance.

I think its a huge opportunity for Nokia 8 to, pricing is fairly low and it got good reviews. I think it might be a alternative vs iPhone 8.

Some people will of course buy iPhone X no matter what. But with the $999 pricing I think even previous iPhone fans will consider other options.

A interesting observation Paul Thurrott a writer that mostly covering Microsoft/Windows and a huge iPhone fan for many years just switched to Android for his daily driver. So that might be a sign that will affect Apple if this trend continues. In any event it will be interesting to continue to follow the smartphone wars.

Huber

@E. casais: Once more, keep in mind that the only part of Nokia that was preserved in that venture is the brand.

Yes, but usually it's the smart move to keep the USP of the brand you buy.

So releasing developer-unfriendly nokias doesn't strengthen the brand value, i'd say. In the old days of Symbian, we had lots of tweaks. Some people even installed Android on their Nokia N8.

But these days are gone now. For me, the new Nokia has become uninteresting now. No bootloader unlock, no sale.

E.Casais

@chithanh

An organization is much more than a collection of a few old-timers. HMD employs about 500 people -- this is way, way less than NMP did in its heyday -- and this certainly means that technical decisions regarding the design of the mobile phones now largely originate at Foxconn (as an ODM).

Besides, there was a break during the years that Nokia Mobile Phones became part of Microsoft. And that break was precisely very deep in the manufacturing division.

Thus, the former NMP plant in Sriperumbudur was mothballed since 2014. No employees, no operations. It is now in the hands of Foxconn -- and it is the Foxconn corporate culture that reigns there now.

Not to mention that the current Nokia also changed quite a lot. The acquisitions of the network divisions of Siemens, Motorola, Alcatel-Lucent have made it quite a different beast than the Finnish specimen it was 15 years ago.

"Surely Nokia/HMD will have to play it safe for now."

I am split on this. The Android market is so competitive that one must have a USP to become outstanding. I do not believe reviving a faded brand is enough. On the other hand, betting on heroic technical achievements (like Nokia did till the 808, for instance), or forcefully attempting some "disruption" are risky endeavours and require resources to shoulder them that HMD does not have. It will be a hard struggle for HMD.

@Huber

"Yes, but usually it's the smart move to keep the USP of the brand you buy."

Oh, we are in perfect agreement. I also find the first batch of new-Coke Nokia devices unremarkable and unappealing. Just like the Nokia N1 tablet of a couple of years ago. Let us see how things evolve.

Olivier Barthelemy

I wouldn't call the iWatch a failure:
1- Apple is certainly making lots of money off of it
2- it's a wonderful lock-in tool, once you've got one you've got to keep an iPhone
3- the market was severely limited to start with since it does require an iPhone (or did, not sure if the new one can sensibly be used on its own); within that limited market, I'd guess it has a nice attach rate.

It certainly is not the next iPhone; but it does bring in money and lock-in, which are the two things Apple cares about.

Abdul Muis

@long

"If you canĀ“t afford to buy an iPhone then you should inroduce yourself to a concept called "saving money to your savings account". Then maybe after certain amount of time you can pay that $69.01* more to get an iPhone instead of that crappy piece of Android. iPhones have much longer usable life than the Android phones just simply because you get OS and security updates in timely fashion. Giving away or selling an old iPhone is safe thing to do."

Funny you say that. You should go to hong kong where average office worker change their phone EVERY YEAR. And paying full price. I'm talking about average hongkong-er. And I'm talking about flagship samsung or flagship sony phone.

john F.

@Long

As a group, The Swatch/omega group consists of 17 brands in total.

In Apple's presentation the comparison was based on independent brands, thats why Rolex takes a second place, there is not a single brand in the swatch group that sells more than rolex.

Swatch/Omega total revenue (2016) is 7,5 billion dollars

Anyhow, as you point out, Apple watch will surpass 10 billion this year and will be well on its way to a fortune 500 by 2019

chithanh

@E.Casais

Do remember that the phone division's sale to Microsoft happened on Nokia's terms. Nokia had the ability to keep all engineering talent they wanted to keep. So the new Nokia phones contain exact amount of Nokia that Nokia wants them to contain.

> It will be a hard struggle for HMD.

No, they just need to be smart. Read Tomi's blog about Sun Tsu. Attack the enemy where it is weak - and in Android that is updates. Once they carved a niche from which they can fund R&D for the mainstream market, they are safe.

@LongAAPL1997
> Apple is heading after the Intel processors.

The comparison with Intel is not a flattering one. Intel is in a situation that is not much unlike Microsoft's. They are king of x86 and deriving massive profits from that, nevermind a small setback they recently suffered from AMD becoming somewhat competitive after like 10 years again. But basically Intel is a one-trick pony, and x86 is holding them back from making more efficient chips. Expensive ventures into mobile, IoT, wearables all went bust.

However, Apple making an ARM CPU which performs better than a Core ULV one will not bother Intel one bit. People will not suddenly stop buying x86 Ultrabooks and start buying iPads in droves due to that. Ironically, it is Microsoft with Qualcomm-based Windows 10 S devices who is the biggest threat here, using binary translation to run x86 code on ARM. If that turns out to be successful (questionable, but it might), then you could see Intel being pushed out of that market. Until then, no chance.

Olivier Barthelemy

@Jim GLue: I find it weird that there's more talk or replacing x86 with ARM than of converging iOS and MacOS.

Even if it's done via dual UIs instead of a single versatile one, it sounds like a much more sensible long-term strategy. MS is doing just that,via dual UIs; and x86 emulation for the odd Windows app, I'm sure Apple could do that too. WHy fragment your developer base and userbase when you could work at unifying them ?

Wayneborean


Doesn't anyone remember Universal Binaries?

Gonzo

@ John F

OK, as I can see, there is not much understanding of the watch market over here.

Well, spot on, a lot of uninformed talk, thanks for bringing some clarity, I am one of those that uses the watch and found it extremely useful, just can't imagine it having a phone and the new features, sadly plenty of people never owned an iPhone or watch but feels experts in criticizing or predicting absurdities.

Funny that Tomi wants an apple camera, something else to carry but sees no value in a phone in your wrist with so many features, the camera on the iphone is more than perfect for 99% of the people

The watch is a sleeper and the segment will be totally changed by Apple in the years to come, the ones who predicted this is a fad of won't have a second generation are in for a surprise.

Tester

@Gonzo:

"The watch is a sleeper and the segment will be totally changed by Apple in the years to come, the ones who predicted this is a fad of won't have a second generation are in for a surprise."

I still predict the watch to be a fad. Why? Because right now it's a must-have item for some morons to be considered 'cool'. The very moment they need to own another thing to remain cool, it will be over.

I think it's a very telling sign that nobody except Apple with a huge built-in customer base of rich but stupid people was able to gain any traction in this market. Which is an ultra-clear sign that it's not a viable long-term business. Grab the cash as long as you can but be prepared for a quick exit would be my approach here.

Olivier Barthelemy

@Gonzo:

I'd call smatwatches (Apple or othermise) neither a fad nor a must have. They have extremely narrow use cases due to severe limitations in both features and ergonomics. All that whining about huge phones that need to hands... well, smartwatches take up 2 hends, for much more limited features.

I've bought a handful for people around me; one recipient loves it, the other four (incl. me) junked them.

Maybe adding LTE will be a big thing, though Samsung watches have had that for years (admittedly, in a style that's, if not downright ugly, at least bulky and manly) but haven't really been successful.

Tester

@Jim Glue:

"Are Rolexes a must have? Does any watch that costs more then $50 have a reason to exist?"

Most definitely not.
But be it as it may, we are talking about items here which people buy to show off, not because they have some inherent value that makes them better than the competition.

You can safely put the Apple Watch into the same segment - but it comes with one huge caveat: It's a tech gadget - not some item of genuine value. Once the tech part's attraction wears off the entire product category will disappear. 'Cool' can change rather quickly in such a market segment, and the reasons for one item's coolness disappearing will be hard to predict. What's left then is the die hard iFans and I somehow doubt that they alone can carry the business.

But all that nonwithstanding, I see the typical fallacy with judging Apple's business again: People only ogle at the profits. The really interesting question is: How large is Apple's market share in the entire watches business? The mere fact that Apple is not disclosing any meaningful numbers speaks volumes, they cherry-pick the information that makes them look good but omit the rest.


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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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