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« Observations on Obama vs Romney Election Now, after the Conventions | Main | I Think the Wheels Just Came Off the Romney Campaign Today »

September 12, 2012



@Henry Sinn,

i think you got it wrong...
if you look at the statcounter data, and assuming their data were correct on the resolution, than... high end droid with 1280x720 (720p HD) sell more than iphone with retina display (960x640).
change the country to United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia, everywhere, and you'll see the same result.

Henry Sinn


I think we are on the same page.

Have you played with MHL on an Android phone to do 'work' [or as Tomi puts it, 30+ minute sitting down tasks] using TV/monitor [1280x720] and bluetooth keyboard / mouse?

I'm thinking about throwing away my PC's / laptops. Arguably no need for them any more.

iPhone = toy. iPhone5 = bigger toy.



I'm on the same page with you, but i want to fix a couple of statistic error.
1. according to the whole world apple sales well, especially in the high end. If you notice the statcounter data, the apple sell well, but the retina display device not sell well enough.
2. the high end android with spec of 1280x720 and 1280x800 sell well. not as good as mid/lower end counter part, but it sell very well, better than apple device with retina display.
3. so it's not right to say that cheap android rule the world, the top end android rule too.

to be honest, i don't how good the statcounter data, but if this true, than, apple in trouble. it's mean that it already seeing the cliff.... or should i say, that it seems the apple user have change. in the past the cool guy using it, but right now it's the dumb user who want simplicity. and the cool guy using android.

and yes,
i know lots of ppl who shift from pc/laptops to phone/tablet. especially those who travel a lot, and also those who need just to do some simple stuff.

as for using kb/mouse + monitor, i did that too, but i still can't dump my notebook. some stuff still were better on the pc platform. but the percentage i'm using my tablet/phone were increasing, and i don't think i will upgrade my pc real soon, but i might upgrade my phone/tablet sooner (quad core tablet/phone).

Earendil Star

I believe that, as Q2 results (ending June) showed, Apple is starting to feel the pinch of competition.

Good for them that they managed to get a win on Samsung and Android in the courts. They have earned an additional 1 bn cash (if upheld) and in any case benefitted from an enormous ad campaign, with all the media saying that Samsung and Android copied them (check instead the media coverage the totally opposite UK ruling had...).

Certainly the iPhone 5 is good and competitive. Most of all, it safely rests on the most complete and competitive "ecosystem" available. Yet, it is no longer as it used to be, a clear domination on all fronts.

Android phones -mind, those already out- are on many grounds still superior to the soon-to-be-released iPhone 5.
Actually, Apple is starting to contradict itself, and switching to a 16:9 form factor and a larger screen (which it originally discarded).
So, actually copying what the competition had done since the beginning.
It is now also finally adopting LTE, but this is no "first": the original iPhone was not even a 3g enabled phone, when everybody else was.

Furthermore, Apple is now siding with MS, with complete cross-licence agreements and agreed patent protection attitudes.
I'm afraid Apple has already forgotten how things turned out the last time around...
But this is typical when you become too self-confident...

Meanwhile, everybody is comparing the flagships:
Samsung Galaxy S III (the only one actually being sold) - iPhone 5 (soon to be sold) - Lumia 900? No! Lumia 920 (not yet to be seen anywhere)
I understand that Microsoft is heavily subsidising the press, and that they have scores of astroturfers and the like.
Yet it is despicable to see that current phones are compared to something yet to come like the Lumia 920, which NOBODY had tested.
A fair comparison would be with the Lumia 900. But since everybody knows this is a Bos (like Pos, but with as B as in "Brick"...), nobody wants to compare them side by side, not to upset Microsoft.

Back to Apple, I also believe that the passing away of Steve Jobs was also a huge boost on sales last year.
This year, the Apple Samsung trial has also worked. But my gut feeling is that the effect will be smaller.

Furthermore, iPhones are now selling on most of the largest carriers. So, no boost from sales there, unless huge breakthroughs are made in China or Japan. This would be crucial to exceed expectations, and not a given at this time.

On the "patent" front, other companies will now be "patenting" their look and feel much more aggressively, à la Apple. Apple is benefitting from having been an early adopter of this tactic, initially not being followed because others thought these "patents" would have never been upheld by courts. All the others are now doing the same, so things will become much much harder in the future.

Yet, iPhone is still percieved -thanks also to the press attitude- the gadget to have. And this, again is hugely important.
It still remains the status symbol, the reference to which everyone else is compared. Until this lasts, iPhone is safe.
But people are whimsical. Especially in tech. And the iPhone is starting to look a bit classical. We'll see.

Finally, there is the ecosystem, which is keeping people on board: switching implies a learning curve (other OSs are different, and you need to migrate your data to the new platform if you decide to change), plus apps are not "transferable" for free: if you switch platform, you need to buy them again. A huge plus for Apple (and Android), a huge hurdle for would-be new entrants (WP7, now dead, or WP8, which should not even deserve to be mentioned until it is out and tested, since it has a... 0% market share).

So, the iPhone 5 will certainly sell in huge amounts.
Yet, this trend is now in jeopardy. Going forward, it will be much much harder to blow estimates away as it happened in the past.
Also because the market is starting to become saturated, especially in the high market segment.


Meanwhile, on the WP8 front... nothing is still out yet. We'll see shortly if we'll have some more stunts à la Lumia 900 (badly bugged at launch).
Or if things will roll out as during Sinofsky's demonstration of the "frozen" Windows RT tablet.
The one thing I notice, is that everybody is talking about the Lumia 920, and very few of the first WP8 device that was announced: the Ativ by Samsung.

So, I do not know how things will play out for WP8. Certainly, unless it is really buggy and flawed, it should be better than WP7. Furthermore, it incorporates all the goodies and know-how stolen from Nokia (Pureview Camera technology, NFC, Maps, etc.). However, this will not necessarily bid well for Nokia. As one of the many WP8 OEMs, they will face huge competition from the others, notably Samsung (which will indirectly benefit also from... Nokia Maps!!!).
And in such a scenario, things will likely be grim, unless MS' stance (which has not provided Nokia any advantage so far) changes.

Earendil Star

One additional thing: the iPhone 5 will have to compete with many WP8 devices...

Actually with WP8 devices *and* WP7 devices looking like WP8 ones...

I have always said Microsoft is a company that must never be underestimated, because they really are sharks.

The reason I am saying this is that there is an aspect of the current MS strategy that -to my knowledge- nobody has thought about:

1) WP 7.8 release
Everybody realised that WP7 customers got shafted when WP8 non-availability on old phones (including just released Lumia 900) was announced. Most viewed the 7.8 release as a gimmick to reduce the perception of obsolescence for those screwed customers who were enticed into buying a MS WP7 stop-gap crapphone.
Yet, there is another twist to this.
When Lumias 800s and 900s will be on the shelves this Christmas, with WP 7.8 they will be practically indistinguishable at first sight from *real* WP8 phones.
Et voila! More sales for MS, by people thinking they got a WP8. More customers screwed? Who cares.
Just hoping in not too high return rates for the old crap. But the less tech savvy will probably not even notice.

2) WP numbers will be a mix
Just as analysts were not distinguishing between WM and WP7, even more so they will be adding up WP7 and WP8 numbers, even if the two are totally different and mostly incompatible OSs (apart from the looks).
So, again, MS will benefit from an apparent level of sales, which will tend to overestimate the success of the WP8 platform, since most likely, when speaking generically of WPs, also cheap WP7 will be included in the mix, inflating results.

Always something to learn from MS. Consumers... beware!


I don't think it's ever been about market share for Apple. They don't engage in a race to the bottom. As it turns out, some of their devices (iPod and iPad) devour a majority of the market, but for the most part Apple concentrates on the premium segments of the market. iPhone 5 is attractive to that market.

Samsung is a fierce competitor. Given the positive press that the Lumia 920 is getting, it will be interesting to see what happens. I think Apple has "struck peace" with Microsoft because they see a stronger Microsoft as more of a threat to Google and Samsung than to Apple itself. If the Lumia 920 sells well, it will likely take more sales from Samsung than Apple. There's a certain anti-Apple segment of the market. They right now are all going to Android, along with the "don't care, just want the cheapest" crowd, and hard core Android fans." If Nokia can take some of the first two categories, it benefits Apple indirectly. After all, had Nokia not collapsed, likely Samsung wouldn't be #1 overall right now, with a cash cow to support projects like the Galaxy S3 and upcoming S4.


@Earendil Star:
Some corrections are in order.

1. Apple signed its cross-licensing agreement with Microsoft in 1997, and it'ss been regularly renewed and updated many times since then. Definitely has nothing to do with being self-confident.

2. Apple's highest priority has been one-handed operation, which depends largely on width and thickness. As I wrote previously, it's a balance, but I don't think the screen will get any bigger than 4". Also note the first Android phones ranged from 3 to 3.7". The first Android phone with a larger screen size than that was an LTE phone, and those phones were made larger because they needed larger batteries. Increasing the display size was one well to sell it; and it turns out it worked!

3. Next up on Apple's priorities is "one-day" battery life. Apple said that's why they did not put in 3G back in 2007. And it's the same reason why they did not have LTE in 2011 (as they said last year). LTE is finally in iPhone 5 because Qualcomm released the much lower-power consuming MDM9615 chips this past summer.

I agree with you about no boost from carriers. I've said here many times that much of the growth the last few years is from carrier growth. So unless China Mobile signs on, there's no boost.

Finally, iPhone 5 won't blow away estimates because the estimates have become huge. Even Tomi is estimating 58m in one quarter, even as smartphone growth has slowed to under 50% yoy growth. iPhone's previous high was 37m.


@cycnus: I view the statcounter data very skeptically. It's ridiculous that the media and analysts let almost all the Android makers get away with not reporting unit sales anymore. Given how badly wrong IDC and Gartner are getting regarding PC estimates, I'm also becoming more skeptical of their phone estimates. In any case, let's revisit this when 4Q12 and 1Q13 results are reported.

Tomi: Do you have estimates regarding high-end smartphones (i.e. direct iPhone competitors)? Is that part of the market still growing, or has it already been saturated in most of the major countries (excepting China and India)?



Regarding China Mobile.
This is a greed vs. respect.

Look what happened to nokia.
Nokia refuse to give China Mobile the Meego device (according to Tomi)...
China Mobile, then, push the android. On January 2012, I went to china, and i visit the china mobile store in Shen Zhen area because i want to know what kind of phone they have, and it turn out there were no symbian phone at all.

I read somewhere in the web,
that carrier (verizon? at&T? sprint?) that support/sell iphone as their main phone is like selling their arm and a leg to subsidize it.
subsidizing iphone like the way apple wanted is something China Mobile won't do. They were the biggest phone operator in the world, even apple fail to dominate china with their corporation with China Unicom (number 2 operator in China). So, they might subsidize the iphone, but apple need to bow to their term. If apple can't bow and respect to China Mobile, they won't got China Mobile.


Apple took in 2 million pre-orders in the first 24 hours, which is twice what they did last year.


@cycnus: The issues with China Mobile have little to do with respect. Of course, Apple respects China Mobile, it has the largest number of mobile customers in the world. CEO Tim Cook has been seen visiting them multiple times.

To provide a larger perspective, I'll simply and succinctly highlight three real issues, though each is far more complicated than my simple words. I'm sure there are many more other issues as well.

1. Models and manufacturing/inventory. Apple wants to make few unique iPhone models as it provides many logistics, sales, and other benefits. TD-SCDMA and TD-LTE in the thinnest smartphone looks to be possible, but Apple would want a very large guaranteed multi-year order from China Mobile before going down a unique model path.

2. Pre-loading of Apple's ecosystem and not China Mobile's ecosystem (including branding on phone). I think this is the biggest stumbling block, as Apple hasn't done this for anyone ever. It was reported to be the stumbling block for Verizon.

3. Price (subsidy). You touched on this one. From what has been reported, Apple hasn't given a price discount to anyone - not even to Verizon. This also includes Apple's refusal to give a cut of iTunes ecosystem's sales to any operator. (At one time, Apple did pay out 5% to anyone for link referrals to an iTunes purchase. I'm not sure Apple still does.)

I know you want to make it simple, but it certainly isn't just about greed vs. respect, but rather many interrelated issues. Many companies are built on foundational principles (i.e., first 2 issues), which they believe are strategically critical to their long-term survival. For them to forgo them, they need to be convinced that the new principles (and precedents being set) will work as well (if not better). They could be convinced if the market/environment has changed significantly. I pointed out some of Apple's but I'm sure China Mobile has certain principles it believes it can't change, even for iPhone.

This is just basic business, i.e., negotiating, and finding common ground and compromises that each company can live with.


I'd be curious to know, statistically, how long does an iPhone owner keep his/her device before replacing it, vs. Android/Windows phone.

It seems to me that iPhones' lifetime is higher than competition, but maybe I'm wrong. Who can answer ?



To simplified what i said:
* The apple-China Unicom subsidy were not able to DENT china Mobile monopoly, thus China Mobile doesn't feel they need to shell out $$$ to subsidy apple product to gain more customer.
* or... according to China Mobile calculation, China Mobile won't gain any new $$$ by subsidy-ing iphone the Apple way.....
* or... Apple need China mobile to further grow, but China Mobile don't need Apple to grow.


@cycnus: You wrote:

Regarding China Mobile.
This is a greed vs. respect.
Posted by: cycnus | September 17, 2012 at 05:07 AM

So it still has nothing to do with respect and is about more than just greed (of either party).

As for your other opinions, what are the facts behind them? Things might not be as rosy for China Mobile as you think. It's voice ARPU is shrinking, plus its lead over China Telecom in 3G subscribers is shrinking. See and

I agree that it's likely that Apple's yoy growth in phones will slow without China Mobile to give it a boost, but Apple's overall revenue and profit yoy growth is also being driven by iPad (and soon iPad air). Apple should have no problem getting 20%-40%+ profit growth yoy in the next year without China Mobile.

Peter Laufer

How do IPhone sales compare to the sales of other like products?


HI tomi care to check out this blog for yourself. it looks like it corrects some of your mistakes in your blogs.


@Tomi, this came in the news today...

A couple of news sites are reporting virtually identical stories, not sure where the original is :D


When I read this I feel your point about Nokia developing a qwerty keyboard variant (physical) becomes more valid. There is a market for it and surprisingly everyone is ignoring it completely.what a shame.


The original is from Reuters:

ab machines

Wow great feature on iPhone5. I want to buy one this month.

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