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December 28, 2017

Comments

Jim Glue

You are right, Winter. My mistake about Qualcomm and the needing to build fabs. Is it any better that the falloff in volume at the premium end has to take away priority and pricing advantages when compared to Apple?

And yes...copying western IP and manufacturing it ultra cheaply has indeed been the hallmark of Asian manufacturing. I think the Chinese are wanting to go up the food chain, as the Japanese did and the Koreans.

And they have been selling below cost to buy market share. It's going to be very hard for Chinese to go up market with innovation driven by profits when there are no profits to begin with...or JUST ENOUGH to stay alive as a commodity assembler.

All of these factors are just as real as the benefits that come from selling the most specs for the cheapest prices brings unit market share.

Yes, the day is coming when phones are "more than good enough" at very low prices. The PC world reached that long ago. But with that came a huge drop in the amount on innovation and improvement in PC's.

I, for one, would love to see a nice long run of profit fueled innovation in smartphones.

Abdul Muis

A good profit makes innovation
Too much profit just make the CEO of the company become fat/rich.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPe5xYBP0D8

Abdul Muis

The iPhone battery exploded in Apple Store

http://www.newsweek.com/iphone-battery-mysterious-explosion-causes-apple-store-evacuation-776529

An Apple Store in Zurich, Switzerland, was evacuated Tuesday after an iPhone battery reportedly overheated and exploded, burning one staff member.

Police said 50 workers and customers were forced to leave the store on Zurich’s Bahnhofstrasse shopping avenue after a repair worker burned his hand while removing the battery from the device.

Abdul Muis

https://www.euroweeklynews.com/3.0.15/news/on-euro-weekly-news/spain-news-in-english/147118-apple-store-in-spain-evacuated-after-iphone-battery-fire

Apple store in Spain evacuated after iPhone battery fire

Abdul Muis

2 Apple store, one in spain and one in zurich have a minor fire incident after iPhone battery on fire...

2 apple store.... in 2 days...

Jim Glue

Bad news for Hauwei, their deal with AT&T was pulled hours before the big reveal at CES. Now they will have to sell via Amazon and other online stores. Tough break as 90% of USA phones are sold through carrier channels.

What I liked about the Mate 10 is the $799 price. I want to see more competition for Samsung and Apple in the premium space. But I think premium phones are an even tougher sell via online.

Not many Americans pay $799 upfront. The subsidy model is gone in the US but it was replaced by leasing plans. If Hauwei were to come out with a payment plan option for buying their phone, that would help quite a bit. It's practically necessary if they want to move any volume at all.

Good news for Samsung.

Winter

@Jim
"And yes...copying western IP and manufacturing it ultra cheaply has indeed been the hallmark of Asian manufacturing."

They learned from the masters, the USA. The whole of the US technology (and other) industry was build on breaking European IP. (learn your history)

@Jim
"I think the Chinese are wanting to go up the food chain, as the Japanese did and the Koreans."

You do not have to "think" that. That is a stated policy goal of the Chinese government.

@Jim
"And they have been selling below cost to buy market share."

Government subsidies are a staple in all industries. They, again, learned from the masters, the USA being a prime one.

@Jim
"It's going to be very hard for Chinese to go up market with innovation driven by profits when there are no profits to begin with...or JUST ENOUGH to stay alive as a commodity assembler."

Innovation in China will be paid for by government R&D grants, like everywhere else.

Abdul Muis

@winter

"Innovation in China will be paid for by government R&D grants, like everywhere else"

Actually, American and others should be happy if china company 'subsidize' non-china-citizen.

The thing is, no one want to make a money losing business. But everyone will try to join a money making business. Some, even willing to risk their life as long as they can make money.

Abdul Muis

" I think the Chinese are wanting to go up the food chain, as the Japanese did and the Koreans."

Is there something wrong??
Are you saying the Chinese doesn't have the right to go up in the food chain??

Jim Glue

Abdul, Winter: of course countries want to go up the food chain and more power too them. I'm speaking of the need for profits to drive the innovation, service, support and brand building to succeed at the upper end (Samsung and Apple now...but Sony, Motorola, Nokia, Blackberry before).

The Hauwei's and Xiaomi's of the world are going to find out that there is no "there, there" because they've driven the profits out of the manufacturing of smartphones. And there is a long line behind them that will CONTINUE to drive all those profits out.

There is too far a gap to become Apple and control your destiny by controlling almost everything about their device. Even as Hauwei builds their own chips...they don't own or control the OS that runs on their chips. They don't control the API's that software developers will use to bring out the most in the apps that run on those chips.

Look at Samsung and their wonderful Pen enabled Galaxy Note. Only Samsung makes software that uses that pen.

Look at how many years it's taken for the Chinese to even hope to start making a big brand play in the West. And they have "Apple profits" in their fevered dreams. Truth is, they won't even have "Samsung profits" available to them. Samsung doesn't have "Samsung profits" of 4 years ago any more.

I do find it tragic that the AT&T deal fell through. I really wanted to see if Americans would pay $799 for a Huawei phone head to head against Samsung.

Jim Glue

http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/12/africa/rural-nigeria-lagos-mit-startup/index.html

This. This story is the "how mobile is going to transform the world" and lift up the third world. This is everything you folks have ever been writing about the value of cheap Android phones...even though it's a story about a Nokia feature phone.

Nokia fans can read it and their hearts will swell 3 times larger with pride.

Wayneborean


Abdul,

I know batteries. You should see the sizes of some I’ve sold (over 3000 kilograms).

As to performance numbers, you didn’t provide anything that looked reliable. Try again.

Abdul Muis

Wayne

I'm really sorry for you if you can accept that as a fact at what @Huber were saying.

I also happened to know battery. Sold many of big 2A battery for backup system.

Abdul Muis

*2V

Per "wertigon" Ekström

@Abdul:

2V batteries are very small, are you sure you don't mean 2A?

Abdul Muis

@PWE

Nope. 2V, not 2A.
BTS system mostly use 24V or 48V DC power.
So, if the system 24V, they use 12 x 2V = 24V.

The battery is big.
About 50cm-80cm long x 20cm-30cm x 20cm-30cm
and 40kg - 80kg.

one system (battery + rack) with 48V (24 x 2V) could be as heavy as a car.

Wayneborean


Heh. The batteries I sold ranged from 12 to 96 volts, and were for forklifts and tow tractors. I do know a bit about power systems, I used to design and sell catalytic converters and particulate filters for gensets.

Jim Glue

Apple will announce Q4 17 (Q1 18 Apple Fiscal) results Feb 1. I'm going in with 83 million iPhones...which would be a 6% bump from the year ago quarter. I think Apple will do better than 6% growth full year, but the iPhone X released in Nov...which gave it less time to sell and could have acted as a depressor to iPhone 8/8+ sales.

Apple doesn't break out sales by models, but I hope some light is shined on Apple's strategy of more and cheaper models on unit sales during the year by the analyst houses.

ピコ太郎

http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-iphone-repair-experience-shows-retail-stores-are-too-disorganized-2018-1

I had an Apple store experience from hell — and it's clear there are larger problems with Apple's retail presence

Chaos and confusion

Upon arriving at Apple's new store in downtown Brooklyn, I was impressed by its stunning facade. With its high, sloping ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows, the store itself is a masterpiece — architecturally, at least.

When I stepped inside, I was immediately struck by how many employees were working on an average Sunday afternoon. The store was packed with people, and about half of them were employees. Somehow, they all seemed busy.

There was no clear place to stand or person to approach, and I wandered aimlessly before finding an available store employee. He passed me along to someone else, who in turn handed me off to a third person.

The fourth employee I talked to was my technician, who took my phone and promised to repair the screen in about two hours. There were no Genius Bar appointments in Apple's online system for at least two days, so I considered this a stroke of luck.

For the next four and a half hours, I went grocery shopping, went home to pack, did laundry, and watched an entire NFL playoff game — still no word from Apple. Finally, I got an email saying it was ready for pickup.

I returned to the store and was once again handed among three different employees, then told to go stand near a table that displayed Apple Watches. This, I was told, doubled as the repair pickup station, although there was no way to know that by looking at it.

Employees moved frenetically from the table to the back room, then back again, shouting out customers' names and waving around their newly-repaired devices.

I stood around waiting for my phone to come out, trying to find a spot to stand that was out of the way of all the chaos. There was seemingly no rhyme or reason to the way things worked, and despite all the employees working — the ratio was about one employee to every customer — everyone seemed harried and stressed out.

Finally, after about 20 minutes of waiting and $150-plus-tax later, I had my phone back, complete with a beautiful new display. I thought I was in the clear.

Nope.

Everything seemed fine until I landed in Las Vegas the next afternoon. My phone had been working normally the previous evening, and I hadn't had any issues that morning. But in the process of sending a text, my screen went black. The Apple logo flashed once, then it went black again.

I won't bore you with the details — my phone was bricked.

I tried doing everything you're supposed to try — a hard restart, plugging it into iTunes, attempting a factory reset — and nothing worked. But I was in Las Vegas about to embark on a week at the biggest tech show of the year. There was no time to go back to the Apple Store.

Luckily, I had brought along a Google Pixel 2 review unit to try out the camera at CES, so I swapped in my SIM card and hoped I didn't miss too many iMessages.

Different store, same problems

Upon my return to New York a week later, I went back to a different Apple store for visit number two. Unfortunately, it was another disorganized mess.

I walked into the lower level of Apple's World Trade Center store and waited several minutes to chat with an employee. But that conversation ended up feeling like a game of "Clue."

"Take the staircase on the right and go to the second floor," he said. "Find the person holding the red iPad."

This meant walking around the entire upstairs and peering at each employee's iPad until I found one with a red cover.

I then had to make another appointment to return in about 30 minutes.

Upon returning, I was told to find the person with a red iPad again (a different employee this time!) who told me to go sit at a table and wait. So I did.

Someone came by my table to get more information — he still wasn't my technician — and finally, 20 minutes after arriving for the second time, the technician I needed came over to look at my phone.

But after all that, he tried all the things I had already tried, then gave up, and handed me a new iPhone.

A waste of time and money

There are two silver linings to this saga: One is that I had a backup phone with me in my time of need, and that phone worked fabulously. I can't say enough about the Google Pixel 2's camera, and the phone is dead-simple to set up and use. I would recommend the Pixel 2 to anyone, and the only reason I'm not switching to that phone entirely is because I still haven't paid off my iPhone 6s.

The other silver lining is that I now have a new iPhone 6s. My second visit resulted in them handing me an Apple-refurbished device at no extra cost, since you automatically get a three-month warranty from Apple when you get your phone repaired by an Apple technician.

But the overall problems with Apple's retail experience were too clear to ignore.

The lack of signage indicating where to stand and who to talk to is extraordinarily frustrating. Having no clear points of contact or direction is confusing for all types of customers, even someone who knows exactly what she needs and how to ask for it. I know that Apple envisions having a store where customers can flow in and out, or congregate like a "town square," but sometimes, it's just easier to stand in a line. At least from a customer's standpoint, you know where you need to be.

And while doing away with traditional cash registers seems like a great retail innovation on its face, it doesn't work in a busy store. There's no clear destination to head towards, and no refuge if you're confused. In traditional stores, there's at least one person behind a register who can devote his or her sole attention to you and help you solve your problem.

This brings me to the biggest issue I had: In Apple's world, every employee seems charged with helping every customer and every other fellow employee at once. Nearly every time I spoke with an employee during my week-long Apple odyssey, they interrupted me to talk to someone else, or were interrupted by a customer or fellow employee. The result made me feel like no one was listening to me or taking my concerns seriously — and the shoddy repair job from my first visit didn't instill me with any more confidence.

In the end, I paid $150 for a brand-new screen I was able to enjoy for less than 24 hours, and I never got that money back. Since my phone worked perfectly before I went in for a repair — I had even tested my battery the week before to check that my phone wasn't being throttled, and it was just fine — I can only assume that some kind of mistake was made in the repair process.

And so, after a week of frustration, inconvenience, and too many trips to the Apple store, I'm left feeling like there's much to be desired with Apple's repair process, and its retail stores in general.

E.Casais

Regarding the post by ピコ太郎.

a) I doubt that reposting entire articles is appropriate. A link to the original page, with original comments, should be enough.

b) From the events that article describes, I gather that Apple is facing a scaling problem -- a typical one, actually.

When Apple was still a relatively (relatively) small player, the original Apple service points worked: limited store surface, comparatively few employees who were either multi-competent or could rapidly shift to the specialist just a couple of meters away, no massive afflux of customers.

Large service points, possibly on several storeys, with many employees and a constant rush of customers cannot be operated based on the earlier model.

Streamlining is required -- and that may effectively mean first getting a ticket for a specific waiting line depending on the issue one comes to get resolved. Just like at large post offices, railway stations, banks, etc.

At some point, one cannot deal with a mass market while keeping the procedures meant for an exclusive clientele.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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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 Helsinki 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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