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« Why Do I (still) Think Nokia Will Be Sold (soon)? - This article explains it | Main | Future trends in mobile »

May 02, 2013

Comments

Huber

@leebase:

First of all, you can stick your web usage reports where the sun doesn't shine:

On most Android browsers, you can set the user agent manually, then your device shows up as a Microsoft or Apple device.

In Chrome you can set the user agent to desktop via a small text file.

I'm currently using Chrome on Android, but in your web stats I show up as a Windows 7 PC.

So only idiots can take such web stats seriously, really.

Secondly I am still waiting for examples of Apps which:

- Have no Android equivalent, only iOS or
- Android Apps which don't scale up correctly on tablets

I can only think of shitty Apps which were ported 1:1 to Android from iOS, like this shitty Denon Remote App for Denon Receivers. It even has that 'Back'-button on the screen itself (like in iOS) instead of simply using the standard Android back-button.

Also, this App lacks icons with different resolutions, so it does look butt-ugly on full HD tablets.

But this is the exception of the rule, a horribly coded mess done by bad developers.

So please enlighten us about these iOS killer Apps and bad Android Apps you seem to find everywhere.

But you know that a simple search on Google or the Android Play Store will quickly find lots of Apps which provide the same features and are not badly written.

So you spread your bullshit of inferiour Android Apps, but don't provide examples because you can't.

Also you seem to be too dense to read the links I provided which show that the growth of Android REVENUE through Google Play grows five times more than the revenue of the iOS App Store.

Also, Android is expected to overtake iOS in App downloads in 2013.

So yes, Android's market share is already relevant here.

Just look at an iPhone 5 and compare it to a SGS4 or a HTC One.

Then you see the trend, the iPhone simply looks outdated right now, both hardware-wise and software-wise. Perhaps iOS7 and the next iPhone will change this, but it is about time for Apple, otherwise it will get ugly for them soon.

Tester

You can distort and misinterpret the numbers as much as you want, the fact remains that things are changing.

It's also wrong to say that the high end Android devices do not sell.
Any sales chart not coming from the US tells otherwise.

You are now making the same mistake Nokia made 5-7 years ago. They saw a change coming up, but telling themselves that the change wouldn't affect their business model. However, when it actually did affect their business model it was too late. They panicked and made things even worse.

The same will inevitably happen to everybody betting their entire business on the fact that the iPhone was the undisputed leader in smartphones (and the iPad being the leader in tablets)

This all was true only one year ago but things have changed and compared to the high end Androids the iPhone 5 looks quite mediocre. This is a situation that hasn't existed before so it's quite obvious that the consequences haven't fully sunk in yet.

Sooner or later - if Apple doesn't react - this WILL show in revenue distribution.

As for Android tablets, the main reason for the current situation is that it's a relatively young market. Developing good software needs time and costs money so you have to weigh your options:

Do I invest money in a segment that is already covered by existing software but could use some improvement or do I spend it elsewhere where it might bring in more? The nice thing about Android tablets is that the phone software DOES scale and DOES work so there's no need to rush. Just wait a while and things will inevitably change.

Huber

@leebase: So we have Facebook, Weightwatchers and some fitness app which don't scale well to tablets.

OTOH even tools like avast, System Tuner, GSAM Battery Monitor or file browsers like the Total Commander scale perfectly well and have different UIs for tablets.

None of them is advertised in the tablet section of the Play Store BTW.

News Readers, Office Apps and most games also work flawlessly on tablets, only some like Fieldrunners have difficulties on tablets.

The only Apps which look like crap are made by bad programmers who aren't able to handle different resolutions, e.g. by providing icons with 3 different resolutions.

Or Apps which are rushed into the market, but those ones are updated eventually anyways.

But in the real live, about 1 of 10 Apps or so I install on my tablet looks crappy. But I have always found an alternative which works well.

So it really is no big deal, missing tablet Apps are a fairytale in my eyes.

Here in Germany High-End Android phones are even the majority of Android phones sold with contract. Only when you look at very cheap contracts or prepaid phones you will find cheaper models.

On 'fantasizing' about User Agent Settings: Dolphin Browser was downloaded more than 10 Million times on Google Play, mostly because this browser is fast and allows easily changing the User Agent, it is even the first option in settings!

I do not know a single person who uses the default User Agent with an Android tablet, because a lot of web sites don't distinguish between the Android User Agent for phones and tablets, so you always get the mobile view and have to manually switch to the desktop view.

This gets annyoing pretty quickly, so setting the user agent to OS X or Windows is the smart thing to do.

And even if you would be right and most people wouldn't change the user agent, then you can bet your ass that the minority who does change it creates the most traffic, so of course your stats are meaningless.

Add to this Apps like Tapatalk, which is used by people doing a lot of posting in forums. Or youtube via App vs. youtube via browser.

Is this covered by your stats, too? If not you can forget them already.

And yes, as my link showed, the situation regarding App downloads is as following:

- More Android Apps than iOS Apps will be downloaded in 2013
- iOS has still 4 times the revenue, but Android's App revenue grows 5 times faster

So perhaps some people expected this to happen in 2011. And perhaps they thought that Android's App revenue would already be bigger in 2013, IDK.

They were wrong obviously. Perhaps they have underestimated the head start iOS had.

But this does not change the trend: ANdroid is catching up - with 5 times the growth - and will overtake iOS eventually - if the trend continues.

And this trend will be influenced by the devices Apple will release in 2013. If Apple manages to release a 'cool' phone again - unlike the iPhone5 - this could change.

OTOH if they fail, the trend will accelerate. Let's see.

Tester

Regarding user agents, I think with the new high end phone that come with a touch pen, many of those users will switch their browsers to a non-mobile agent.

I still have to find one single web site that looks better in mobile view and unless one needs that to operate it with a finger the full desktop view might be preferable. Of course, this can only happen on Android since no other mobile platform offers such devices.

RottenApple

I think leebase is looking at all of this from a purely American angle.

We all know how the American tech press is: Apple this and Apple that. Apple is the master innovator, all others are mere copycats. Apple will revolutionize again. Just wait and see. And so on and so on.

I don't think it's a coincidence that Apple's by far largest market is the US.

Reality check: The rest of the world doesn't tick like that. Don't try to draw international conclusions from one single heavily biased market. Baron95 did that many times and in the end it made him look like a total jerk (just where is the continued Apple dominance he predicted...???)

@Tester:

"You are now making the same mistake Nokia made 5-7 years ago."

There are indeed similarities. Ignoring market development and reiterating past results, assuming they remain as they are, nearly always result in a disaster.

For Apple itself it means it must act, and act quickly. If they can't compete with the Android high end for a prolonged period of time it may be catastrophic. For that the iPhone 5 is just way too expensive. Unfortunately for Apple, there is absolutely no positive buzz about the successor, making me assume that their next phone will just be yet another iteration without pushing the boundaries.

For the Apple-only app developers it may mean that suddenly a significant chunk for their market disappears if they get fed up with Apple's lack of progress and jump ship. Unlike one or two years ago it isn't nearly as harmful a step now as it was then.

Winter

Nice discussion point: After the smartphone.


Are Smartphones On Their Way Out?
http://www.enterprisemobilehub.com/blogs/pcalento/are-smartphones-their-way-out

I think there are a few points to make smartphones are here to stay in one form or another:
1) We need a personal communicating + computing device
2) It must be wireless
3) It must be small unobtrusive

How can we augment smartphones considerably:
4) Better input methods, eg, speech
5) Better display methods, eg, glass

But for 99.99% of humans, 1-3 will serve their needs for some time to come.

Moreover, there is something to say to incorporate 4+5 into a standard "phone" package and connect via bluetooth with a watch, ring, or glasses for easy interfacing.

Winter

@leebase
"I'm challenging the notion that market share is the only thing that matters."

And instead you write more or less that money is the only thing that matters?

We have had this discussion many times. Some care about who rakes in the most profits, Apple, DeBeers, or Moët & Chandon? Others care what will make the world of our children tick (most likely Android devices).

Whatever your arguments are, if they assume it is only the money that counts you will hardly convince anyone here.

Huber

@leebase:

The problem I have with your point of view is that it is static.

The market is constantly changing, and Apple's outlook is not really rosy.

iOS looks outdated compared to Android, the market share has fallen year-wise in the last quartal, and the iPhone 5 as a phone looks outdated meanwhile.

Just compare it with a HTC One or a SGS 4.

So IMHO iOS7 and the next iPhone will decide whether Apple can keep its current position or not.

Additionally, smartphones will become commodity devices eventually. Apple has to react to this trend in one way or the other.

Apple was nearly bancrupt 1995 BTW, even Microsoft helped them back then. Only the iPod and later the iPad saved the company, the Apple computers were a joke 10 years ago.

So selling Apple's history as continued success story doesn't meet the facts. They are doing well currently, but the indicators point rather downwards, at least with their current offerings.

Winter

@leebase
"And Apple rakes in almost half of the PC industry profits with only 5% of the market."
"Why why why is this so?"

The same question for DeBeers and Moët & Chandon.

So why should we care whether or not Apple, DeBeers, or Moët & Chandon rake in insane amounts of money with no better quality products?

The answer for most of us is we do not care. Apple rakes in the money, but does not determine the "computing experience" of humanity. The Mac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad were all game changers, but in the end Microsoft and Google determined how people would use and be abused by computers.

To a certain (and in my view, large) extend, Apple's refusal to make the Mac OS a global computing platform when they could have done so gave us Windows ME/Vista/8, computer viruses, and Spam. Apple is now perfectly willing to help Windows Phone become the global computing platform on mobile to make sure the abuse will continue. Luckily, Google's Android is taking over and that is build on a much better foundation.

Tester

@leebase:

>> The iPhone has ALWAYS been an inferior phone by the metrics of folks who do not like the iPhone.

That's pure and utter nonsense. For all the time since the first iPhone until early 2012, nearly everybody agreed that it was the most high end phone available, and that what Android offered couldn't match up.

The only constant criticism Apple received is the ecosystem lock in - hardware and software wise - but that doesn't matter if they got the vastly superior product.

Apple's strategy only becomes dangerous when the product no longer is the technological leader. Today, someone planning to buy a high and phone with lots of money at their disposal have far better choices. Two years ago this group was limited to Apple or had to accept serious compromises when they didn't want to.

Compare that with today. Apple neither got the largest nor the fastest device, nor the highest screen resolution or density. Compared with the extensive high end of the Android market, Apple isn't well positioned anymore with their single product because anyone wishing to own a large screen phone needs to look elsewhere. And even average medium range Android phones are starting to match the iPhone's capabilities. And most of the advantages on the software front have disappeared as well with the vast majority of apps available on both platforms.

In a situation where you are no longer the technological leader all the negatives with your ecosystem will eventually start to pile up and harm you. Apple is in serious danger of getting there, unless they release something worthwile this year. If their next phone will still be a 4'' device with the same screen resolution as the iPhone 5, people will seriously start to question Apple's viability.

>> Why why why is this so? If you don't understand why things ARE, you can't predict how things will go.

Correct, you have to understand why Apple got to the top. Let's not that Apple got to the top of the market with a product, that, when looked at from a critical distance, was seriously (and intentionally) flawed. But the flaws got countered by significant advantages elsewhere.
And that's the argument that's being made. You can't infinitely market a flawed product if the competion offers equal or superior product without the flaws.

>> But nothing the Android fans are putting forth about the future have any grounding in the past or present. Every current advantage and worry being put forth has been there from the beginning.

Huh, what? I've been there from the very beginning. Early Android was awful. It had appeal to the broad masses as an iPhone substitute. There was no advantage, aside from being able to be put into lots of phones and being an open system. No danger to the leader in the field. It only started to become a threat to Apple's business once Android phones started to surpass the iPhone. And yes, that was LAST YEAR!

In other words: Not enough time has passed to that change to have its full effect on the market, especially since Apple did a masterful job of locking their customers in. That may work for a while but as some point people will have to face the choice of owning the superior product or hang on to the ecosystem.

So the entire situation boild down to one thing: Will Apple jump over their own shadow and offer some variety of devices to appeal to different tastes. The entire situation (and that's what Tomy has been preaching for years!) is that the one-device-fits-all strategy that Apple is clinging to is doomed to fail in the end.

Granted, with tablets it's different but if there's one criticism of tablet owners I repeadedly hear is that they wish more desktop-PC features on their tablets. So here's much more the software that will decide but when I hear from die-hard Apple fans that they find iOS too limiting on a device they might want to work on, I take that seriously. So from a pure software standpoint, Android with its real PC-like file system is ultimately the more suitable OS compared to a media-consumption oriented OS like iOS.

I believe Microsoft would have had some genuine success in this market if they hadn't been obsessed of 'becoming like Apple' and copying all their mistakes while offering none of their assets. A well integrated touch interface in Win 8 (as opposed to that Frankensteinian monster of two separate, mutually incompatible ones) would have made Windows tablets an instant success. But no, instead we get the same crap as Apple offers: locked down system for touch apps, no real file system to handle serious data, a system overall, that's more a toy than a computer.

And now look at Android, for comparison: It's an open system, it got a real (and user-accessible) file system, it's just in its infancy in the tablet market and will undoubtedly see some vast improvements over the coming years.

So please tell me, where, outside the insane obsession of America with Apple is any genuine advantage to be found?
Apple defined the phone market but is starting to lose control of continuously defining it.
Apple defined the tablet market but is in grave danger of losing that, too.
Apple needs to push past the current boundaries of iOS and its ecosystem but that'd inevitable mean they'd lose some control - and knowing Apple they do not want to do that. So where will it go?

My guess is that the next disruption in computing will come when Android manages to be usable on a laptop or desktop with keyboard and mouse. If that happens it might become the first genuine threat to Windows' dominance and become the OS to have for everyone. And then there'll be bad times for Apple.


Please note that nothing of this means that Apple will inevitably go down. If they make the right choices they can retain their position. The big problem I am seeing is that apparently none of these choices are currently being made.

Sure, they might still be profitable, even as a bit player, as they are on the dektop front, but not at the insane margins as of now.

Huber

I completely agree with Tester:

I have never been an iOS fan due to its restrictions.

But just one year ago, when I compared the iPhone 4s to my SGS2 running Android 2.3, I had to admit that iOS was 'cooler'. It did not stutter and it looked up-to-date.

Then came Android 4.0. Now my SGS2 was the 'cooler-looking' device, but iOS was still a little bit smoother, so iOS had its pros.

With 4.1 Google introduced the HWComposer (AKA Project Butter), and my SGS2 is as smooth as the iPhones since then.

Even die-hard Apple fans were surprised when I gave them the phone. They said things like 'with this smoothness I could live'.

Now fast-forward to 2013 and you have the SGS4 and the HTC One.

Any iPhone looks outdated now in comparison.

@leebase:

You do not seem to understand that the Apple PC business did better after the iPhone-hype started.

Lots of people who loved their iPhone took a look at the Apple PC offerings for the first time.

So Apple's PCs sales benefitted from the iPhone (and iPod) hype.

Without iPod/iPhone/iPad, Apple's PC sales would be not as good as today.

The iPhone was the halo device which created sales for Apple's whole product range.

As soon as the halo wears off, all Apple devices will be affected.

Do you e.g. remember the Macs equipped with G4-CPUs with 1GHz from 10 years ago? They were laughed at by technically saviour people. The Athlon64 and even the P4 were much faster overall.

Then came the G5 (in 2005 IIRC). But Apple's sales were so low that it wasn't profitable for IBM to develop the G5 further!

So Apple had to switch to x86, an architecture Apple derided for decades!

This was the 'success' of Apple in pre-iPhone times.

Winter

@Huber
"Lots of people who loved their iPhone took a look at the Apple PC offerings for the first time."

I agree on most of your and Tester's arguments. However, this is not true.

I saw the rise of the Macbooks before the iPhone hype started. For years now I have seen at conferences that the number of mac laptops rising far above the Windows laptops.

Windows simply is a bad OS. With laptops, the high end users started to see how they could get around the Windows lock-in and get rid of malware, anti-malware, and the bad UI in one sweep. And you get a decent looking device too. Moreover, corporate IT desks were paranoid about Windows machines and completely locked them down. However, these department were so overwhelmed by their Windows duties that they tended to ignore Macs. When corporations loosened the reigns, people jumped ship and got a Mac laptop that they could administer themselves.

Huber

@Winter:

Yes, MacBooks started doing better before the iPhone hype. That's mainly because of the looks.

But the vast majority of users back then just bought Windows devices wothout giving it a second thought.

iPod/ iPhones helped Apple a lot in selling OS X devices, too. When you love your iPhone, you also take a look at Apple's offerings the next time you need a new notebook, even if you haven't done this before.

As for MacBooks in companies, according to my experoence this varies from company to company.

As a rule of thumb, as smaller the company you work in is, the better are your chances for being able to use a Macbook.

Bigger companies usually have standardized notebooks with standardized Windows images. Other notebooks are usually forbidden.
Besides, they just give you a standard notebook when you join the company. You simply cannot use anything else, since you are not involved in the purchasing process.

In smaller companies, often the employees get a budget for a notebook. Only then you can go shopping for a MacBook.

But as soon as you have a big, managed infrastructure, e.g. with various SAP systems, fileservers, Outlook and Sametime, you usually have standardized access via standardized HW/SW, too.

Of course there are some companies where the management likes Apple devices and hence forces the IT to support them, but this usually turns out to evolve into a complicated, expensive and insecure IT environment.

iOS devices OTOH are very common. It is not unusual for companies to support Windows and iOS for mobile.

B a r o n 95

Sorry - typo - there are currently 500 million (0.5 billion) iTunes accounts, with annual ARPU of $45 per account.

B a r o n 95

That is right Lee. It is comical that the posters here think that Apple is the one that has to be on top of the "spec game". Apple can stumble disappoint every now and then (remember iPhone 4 antenna and iPhone 4s same-old "disappointments") and still be totally fine. They have consumer ecosystem lock and good will on their side.

As for the Android clones, they can't afford a single stumble. Look what happened to LG and HTC - they had one sub-par crop of phones and got clobbered. If Samsung stumbles on the next Galaxy, you can instantly see mass defection to ZTE or HTC or whatever. There is not consumer/ecosystem lock whatsoever. Once the hyper growth phase of smartphone adoption levels off, competition will turn to spec vs price very, very quickly. We may only be 2-3 years away from pure spec vs price competition in the Android world - it will not be pretty. My chips circa 2015-2016 on Android OEMs would be on Huawei and ZTE, not Samsung and Sony.

And I'll eat my iPhone battery if any Android OEM gets an iTunes like $45/year in ARPU from an music/apps/video/books ecosystem in this decade - note that Amazon (the only one that has a shot is not Android and can't even use the Android brand).

Huber

@Baron: So you really do think that Apple is invincible? I hope Apple doesn't think that way, otherwise they are in very deep trouble.

They probably could afford the iPhone 4s and the iPhone 5, but if the next device has comparable 'innovations', it surely will get worse for them.

Regarding App revenue:

http://blog.appannie.com/app-annie-index-market-q1-2013/

So, in merely one quarter, from Q4 2012 to Q1 2013, Google's App revenue rose almost 50% compared to Apple, from 25% to 38.4%.

So the trend is against Apple. I would worry about this if I would work for Apple.

Winter

@Baron95
"And invariably they can't lock in the customer, they can't maintain good margins, and they don't capture value. Users (consumers and corporations) dump HP for Dell PCs without a second thought. "

I know, you abhor free market economics. And that is indeed where Apple will do bad.

Without the protection of a biased judiciary, a closed cellular subscription market, and cross subsidies by cellular providers, iPhone market share collapses.

But that is the eternal dilemma: Do we allow free competition, or do we assign product markets to a single company?

foo

@leebase Tomi hasn't even wanted to admit that apps are the driving force behind smartphones."

I can't understand this obsession with apps. For some reason -- perhaps Apple's campaign "there's an app for that" -- the technorati became obsessed with apps.

But I am a power user, and I could live without any apps, as long as I had:

- Browser
- Email
- Maps
- Photos
- Messages

That's it!!!

Now, apps are a "good to have" feature. But I doubt most users consider this as the main, or even important, feature.

Most users will consider:

- Hardware
- Price
- Basic look and feel
- Battery
- Brand

and so on.

If a Phone offers a good balance (ex: a brandless phone with a great price) they will buy THAT.

Huber

@Baron:

If you are right Apple better find some new killer use for TV/video.

I cannot imagine that, but probably I am wrong.

But the 'checkbox features' are of course really important:

Why should I buy a phone without SD card slot when I can get a comparable one which has this feature? Why should I buy a dual core phone with 720p display?

When I buy a phone, I do not buy an inferior one.

And Apple's main selling point is that users want their devices. That users think that such devices are cool. That users think Apple makes the best products.

This is the source of Apple's bargaining power against the carriers.

As soon as Apple's phones lose the coolness factor, less people will buy it. And once Apple needs the carrier's help, the days of huge profits are over.

As you already have stated, Apple has troubles to sell its devices to some carriers. But only a device which customers want can force carriers into negotiation.

So screen size, speed etc. is important in the real world.

Just put an iPhone 4s and 5 next to Samsung's Galaxy offers (SGS3, SGS3 Mini, SGS 4 and Note 2), and the iPhones look outdated.

This Apple has to change. Without hardware and software users want, Apple has no power anymore.

And without their power, profits will shrink.

Winter

@leebase
"Where is Samsung's growth coming from?"

Why should we care? Even when Samsung would go bankrupt, that would be because some other company took over the lead in Android Smartphones.

The whole point here is you simply do not understand most people here care about (good) smartphones getting in the hands of people. The more people get access to smartphones, the better. Only Apple fans seem to care about who rakes in the most profits.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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