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« Enter The iFlop, What Will Be Seen as First Apple Failure After Steve Jobs - But the first edition Apple Watch will of course sell massively to iSheep | Main | Time For Some Told-ya-so About iPhone - Is Anyone This Accurate? »

September 16, 2014


abdul muis


Great article, as always. Thank you for this amazing pieces. I just wanna add that Huber has an interesting link in the post before this article, that SJ before coming back to apple also said about must lower the price (for mac) to gain market share.


"Apple had made it 2 mm thicker and if not giving us a removable battery (absolutely vital to those 800 million people living in areas where electrical supply is not reliable) at least give us 50% more battery capacity to the iPhone"

Wow!! this is wierd!!! of these 800 million people living in areas where electricity is not reliable how many can actually afford a Galaxy S5 let alone an iPhone!!! of those how many can afford even a data plan !!! these guys will probably still be on 2G !!!

With regards to tech I bet Apple will have managed to beat all other phones (processors with QuadCore 2.5 GHz clock speed and >=2GB RAM) in all benchmarks using just Dual Core 1.4 GHz with 1 GB RAM. Such tech is designed by apple itself to make battery life more efficient not needing high capacity batteries with higher performance than competition.

And we are still doing a one to one feature comparison.

The title of this post is probably misleading. Isn't Apple 2nd in market shares among handset vendors so they are probably following only one market leader Samsung, and everyone know how well they are doing!!

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Abdul, Baron and TDC

Abdul - thanks and yeah haha Steve Jobs was a genius business manager (as I wrote when he died)

Baron - ok and thats exactly the point. Apple has a subscription radio which does work if you have reliable 3G or 4G networks. But even then its pretty punitive when free-to-air FM is available for all. But yeah, that is Apple's DNA, punish and squeeze its customers for every penny. All rivals have FM radio. I rest my case.

TDC - you clearly are a privleged rich kid in the USA. Just because someone lives in a country of bad electical grid reliability, doesn't mean there aren't plenty of affluent people, indeed very rich people. They too will want premium smartphones. If you think that living in Pakistan or Sri Lanka or Kenya or Nigeria with unreliable electricity means there are no millionaires or even billionaires you are simply an ignorant rich kid who should not be let out of his home before you've studied the world economy a little bit, at say basic high school level.

As to your question about handset vendors in 2013 Apple was third behind Samsung and Nokia.

Tomi T Ahonen :-)

adi purbakala

Carrier reduce subsidize money. Apple got hurt


Insightful thoughts as ever Tomi.

Would love to see you post more on the Carrier/Operator implications of the device wars. Seems as screen size increases there will be more demand for data and consumers will be squeezed further.

$749 is a lot to pay for a computer in your pocket but in terms of yearly outlay, the $1500 + for data contract is ridiculous. Outside of utilities/transport/food surely one of the biggest household expenditures is mobile contracts? Seems the monopolies and collusion from operators are still resisting market forces to lower prices.

If subsidies for the high end smartphones continue to erode, the prices are just passed on to consumers from carrier to device manufacturer. I get the argument that there has been billions invested in infrastructure but this will only continue as 5G, 6G etc are built. When will costs come down, will emerging markets see the same trend and will it take ubiquitous wireless and OTT service like Skype to break the strangle hold?

Would be great to get a post on your thoughts.


" see what will be in the next iPhone, look at an old Nokia flagship from some years ago..."

As usual Tomi talks about specs and features and not implementation. Implementation is the key...not specs on a bullet-pointed list. Did Nokia have a one-Touch biometric security sensor too for their NFC? (Answer: No) Is Apple's implementation of security + NFC superior? (Answer: Yes). Did Nokia's app store make it easy for developers to develop for and users to download apps? (Answer: No) Was Apple's a much better App Store experience for users and developers (Answer: Yes...So was Android's later). Was their browser multi-touch enabled and run on modern web standards in a fast manner when the iPhone was released? (Answer: No). Apple ran on Webkit...which Chrome adopted later.

It really doesn't matter that someone had some badly designed implementation has obvious usability or security issues before Apple. Apple's efforts to create a generally better experience than the others, because they spend the time and money and resources to figure things out is why they consistently offer a superior phone...even if they are expensive.

I do agree with Tomi that Apple could/should reduce their pricing (but not the quality) and that they should offer an FM radio.

"... It is totally consistently true, that everything that happens in Japan, will be copied in the rest of the world..."

It's great that Tomi brings up Japan. It is also interesting to note that the Japanese prefer the iPhone over every other phone.

They must know something.


More that I disagree with...

"...The camera is now piss-poor for a flagship..."

Actually the iPhone Camera is generally considered by professional photographers to be the best overall in their images. Some consider the Nokia 1020 and such to be better in certain situations.

Come on Tomi, surely you know that megapixel counts aren't everything...this isn't 2002. It's the software processing on the backend that matters and the quality of the sensors.

Again, it is implementation vs. specs on a list.

And Tomi doesn't even talk about the incredible technology that Apple has, like Continuity and Handoff, TouchID (Samsung's garbage fingerprint doesn't compare), Wifi calling, how amazing the A8 processor is... etc...


Apple’s new iPhone 6 has a 31mm f/2.2 lens, an 8-megapixel sensor with 1.5µ micron sized pixels and True Tone Flash. Only the iPhone 6 Plus has O.I.S. Although the handsets look beautifully crafted, from a photographer’s perspective I’d have hoped Apple would have delivered a lot more with their new flagship. Considering how much smartphone technology has moved on since the iPhone 4S was released, it’s disappointing that Apple has done so little to evolve the camera capabilities of its smartphones.
(from the article "iPhone 6 Camera: A photographer's perspective" at

Yes, the iPhone camera is good, but far from being "the best". See for example (Tomi likes nokia, so that pic will make him happy :P ). But really, even the Galaxy S4 already had a slightly larger sensor (4.69×3.53 mm vs 4.54×3.42 mm)


Biggest mistake for these new iPhones is that iPhone 6 is not like a high end model. It is like galaxy mini and not like xperia compact. it does not have a longer battery life, higher dpi, 2GB RAM or OIS. iPhone 6+ has all of those. Comparison between Xperia Z3 compact vs iPhone 6 wins by a large margin. Gsmarena endurance rating for Z3 compact is over 100h, for iPhone 5s (and my estimation for 6) is barely over 50h.

iPhone is thinner than Z3C, but it is wider and taller. Size of the phones is very close each other.


"It means the news customer acqusition to iPhone will be weakest its ever been. The growth in absolute unit sales will be worst its been, the iPhone market share for Christmas 2014 and Spring 2015 will be worst its been in years. "

I'll take that bet!

Tomi T Ahonen

Baron 95 !!!

You know the rules. Don't do that. If I have to start my response by saying 'if you read the blog' then its a WASTE OF TIME to my readers. Don't do that. Part of your comment was valid, part was clearly in the blog and totally pointless. Read the blog, it will be clear why i deleted your comment and then only post the part that is relevant

Tomi :-)


I'm not sure about the camera - it depends on if going with bigger pixels internally produces a better/clearer picture. One has optical stabilization. Not killer features, the proof will come with actual pictures, especially in low-light. The selfie cam is <2MP? That is stupid, insane or both.

Apple will have Apple Pay, but like some of the other things, Apple is playing Betamax to VHS. How is iBooks doing? Google also has their bookstore. But Amazon dominates - now I can watch prime movies on any Android device. Remember "Ping"? Oh also Apple makes a TV device...

The Apple TV might be more significant. I don't think Netflix pays them 30% or even if it is on. They have iTunes music and video, but does anyone use it? Amazon has its own device, and there's Roku. But this is the ecosystem. Few look at media sales (video, audio, books).

There is the razor - razor blade model - but Apple wants to sell premium devices, then impose a 30% cost on the ecosystem. They are like a government trying to find all the possible ways of taxing every transaction of their vassals.

From the other end, if you have already spent thousands of dollars on apps or media that won't run on anything but an iOS device, you are locked in.

Apple cannot support SD cards. The problem is their sandboxed model. Note: KitKat also tries to sandbox the SD and there are objections, but apparently some of this can be gotten around. There is no user-exposed filesystem on non-jailbroken devices. If there is no filesystem, then even if you have a micro SD (like the 128Gb in my Galaxy 10.1 Note 2004), you can't do anything with it anyway.

On the hardware side, Apple cannot support a removable battery. This requires some kind of way to replace the battery, and everything is glued in. The other devices typically need to be pried open, but the battery is on an connector. (I finally got something other than a Toshiba Thrive when the last spare's screen cracked - removable battery, 1 hour charge time). Apple can if they wish crate a split iPhone device with a battery pack with all their industrial design. I doubt it will happen. It would be thicker. "Oh, but you can buy an external battery pack with expensive complex adapter that lets the iPhone charge".

Eric Raymond long ago noted it was a battle, and Android's OODA (orient, observe, decide, act) loop was faster, 3 months or less. Apple's is still one year. Android is the tortoise that slow and steady, beat the hare. 1000 small incremental improvements will beat all but a game-changer redefining change. I forgot when he predicted Android would pass Apple, but it was before this and it has happened. Apple now has deluxe, luxury, also-rans. The think about quick innovation is you can add stuff, and see if it sticks. Stylus (like my Nokia 810)? Oh it works, we need more. Oh, no one cares, then don't push it.

They won't drop the actual price of the iPhone. They will give a $200 gift card, rebate, or something else.


Tomi is going a bit overboard today, but at least he makes forecasts about sales, growth and market share that will be relatively easy to check when the time comes.

There are a number of things that Apple will probably not change any time soon anyway:

1) FM radio? This bypasses Apple cloud services, and Apple has therefore no interest in it.
2) SD-card? Requires a profound change in the UI and mode of operation of the device. Too complicated.
3) Replaceable battery? A departure from Apple design and manufacturing practices and constraints. Not going to happen.
4) Slide keyboard? Goes against the entire touch-oriented design of the devices and OS, and would be probably as painful to integrate as integrating touch was for keyboard-oriented OS and UI. No way.

I doubt that bigger display is strictly proportionally better in the mobile device space (i.e. decreasing returns on usability), so the display dimensions of iPhone 6* are in line with the industry.

The two elements that are a bit of a let-down in a flagship are indeed the camera (but Apple always trailed in that area), and, to my surprise, the absence of wireless charging.

Perhaps Tomi is right: Apple was devoting much time to its smartwatch, and to the development of a payment scheme with NFC, and would not deal with other features for the risk of making a half-baked implementation.

We shall see how it goes. The point that nobody has touched yet here is the impact that a growing number of display variants (different resolutions, definitions and physical sizes) will have on apps and website developers. That is where things might become tricky -- even if Apple does its homework with iOS 8.


Apple is just now in 'me-too' mode? Regarding specs, haven't all the critics, including Tomi, been saying Apple was in me-too mode since back in 2008? Other than multi-touch, some sensors and possibly the 3.5" size display, which debuted in 2007, hasn't Apple been in me-too mode since? Copied 3G then 4G then LTE, copied 5MP then 8MP camera, copied flash (for camera) and OIS (finally), copied 3rd-party downloadable apps and App Store, copied "cut-and-paste", copied 4" screen then 4.7" and 5.5" screens, copied 3rd-party keyboards, copied having more than one new model per year, copied having slightly-lower-cost new model, copied fingerprint scanner, copied maps, copied voice control/personal assistant, copied cloud storage, copied higher pixel-resolution displays (after Retina), copied NFC, copied payments and mobile wallets, etc.

Is there anything Apple hasn't copied from a list-of-specs point of view since 2008? Ah yes, 64-bit wasn't copied (but it's already been done for PCs so still a copy in a sense); irregardless, the critics say it's a useless feature in a mobile device, right?

And even worse, what about the specs that Apple has stubbornly refused to copy for the last 7 years like FM radio, physical keyboards, Flash player, removable batteries, SD card storage, multiple windows, the back button, 2GB RAM, etc? How come none of this has stopped Apple's continued steady handset sales growth?

Plus, hasn't the competition been getting better and better and cheaper and cheaper since 2009? Wasn't the Palm Pre better and cheaper? And the Galaxy S3, then S4, then S5 better and cheaper (since even though they started at the same list price, they got discounted much sooner)? And the Nexus family better and much cheaper? And even some of the Nokia and DoCoMo handsets?

But this year, it's going to be different. Wait, they said that last year; okay, so it will be different by next year. Or the year after.

"At some point the relevance of that issue will come home." But Tomi, when exactly are you predicting is that "some point"? You said watch out for price drops but are you predicting that price drops will happen by Christmas or Chinese New Year? Are you predicting that Apple will never go beyond 8% of handset sales so no more growth beginning now?


Ha, ha.

The Apple defenders are really funny.

For anyone not locked into their prison (pardon: ecosystem) it's abundantly clear that all their design decisions are only made to squeeze their users dry. Vital features are crippled because it'd bypass Apple's moneymaking antics.

The worldwide market share numbers tell a clear sign: Apple is not really growing its customer base, and their new products are increasingly geared towards those who are already Apple users.

Fact is, there are strong signs of severe internal rot. But this has one nasty property: Its external effects are not readily visible, the company can go on for several years along the bad path. But the end result is always the same: At some point the rot will break through and the business will collapse. Just look at Nokia or Blackberry. Apple is not even close to these two at the end of their lifespan, right now I'd place them at the same point as Nokia when iPhone and Android appeared on the market. Instead of adjusting, Nokia went along its chosen path like a tank, and for some time it still managed to overrun the obstacles in their way (which of course made the management think that everything was fine), but when the final insurmountable obstacle showed up, they went in it with full speed and never recovered from the damage.

Good business strategy is not about making the most money in the next quarter, it's ensuring that your business still works 5 years down the line - and with some of the things Apple is doing right now I have my doubts about that. As Tomi said (and I also did in a comment in the iWatch discussion), Apple's entire business by now depends on the iPhone remaining in a strong market position. If the iPhone's market share shrinks below a critical point, it can become catastrophic for Apple, because their entire business would break down - not just phones, but also computers, smartwatches and all the money-milking appliances that are hooked into this system. Apple simply cannot afford to continue to play business as usual, they need to grow their customer base, which means they should start to rethink some design decisions that have been driving people crazy for years now.

That alone should be reason enough for Apple to:
a) expand into lower profit segments of the market
b) listen to what users want. Expandable memory and replacable batteries are need-to-have features for lots of people that are constantly being driven away by Apple. That's just supremely stupid.
c) be a bit less greedy.
d) allow the user a bit more freedom. Don't be such a control freak about every minute detail the user may do with their phone!

I know that current Apple users don't care about these things - but as it stands issues like these have been a strong obstacle to get more users onto their platform.

Oh, and one final word about the phone itself: Aside from the larger screen there's not much to write home about. NFC is finally in, but that's it. And of course, instead of developing a unified payment system, Apple again goes the greedy route, cooking up their own thing and creating more mess in the market. I really can't say I'm excited, as a non-gamer this doesn't offer much to me, my current €150 5'' Android phone just does thejob fine, at a fraction of this extortionist price.


Apple copies all their competitors' features. Except one: their profitability.


@RottenApple - Apple's market share has gone down is debatable. Apple's share of the mobile phone market continues to rise. What you have is a erasing of the line between feature phone and smartphone. $100 Android phones are competitors to feature phones, not the iPhone and not the Galaxy line. So, really, if one MUST include the cheap Android phones, might as well consider all mobile phones.

Apple not growing it's customer base? I'm surprised to see you make that mistake. Market share is not the same thing as customer base. Apple continues to grow it's base. The growth RATE has slowed, but they are still growing.

Apple will probably never put in radios. But there are lots of radio apps that are free and thus don't give Apple any money. Wouldn't hold my breath for repleacable batteries, keyboards, and the like.

Apple did finally increase the screen size. We all knew they would. But they are criticized as copying. So which is it? Should Apple copy or should Apple continue to "keep desired features away from customers"?

No, what Apple does is take their time to do WHATEVER they do, to the best of their ability, and according to their own priorities and timeline. Last year Apple worked on the 64 bit chip, 64bit OS, 64bit tools and fingerprint biometrics. This year Apple put out bigger screens after they came up with a processor that could handle the resolution translations such that all the million+ apps that already exist "just work". Look great. Look far better than the apps using Androids method of handling the gajillion different screen sizes and resolutions.

But there's more. They made the phone much thinner to offset how big the screen is and still fit nicely in the hand. To give extra help for one handed use (a high priority for Apple), they came up with an innovate way to help the large screen version via the double tap to bring down the far top of the screen into thumb range.

That's the Apple way and hundreds of millions of customers prefer it.

Henry Sinn

One thing I do hope we'll all see from the introduction of the new iThings is further / faster adoption & movement of NFC based credit "card-less" payments (using Mastercard PayPass, VISA Paywave and related Apps on phones)

Apple are probably the only company that can give the birdie to the banks and operators and dictate solutions. (Seriously - WHY do we NEED a SIM card in a phone to make an NFC payment? Look at how your plastic PayPass & Paywave credit card works now.)

Questions obviously remain as to whether Apple with take a cut, or try to take a cut of transactions on top of VISA and Mastercard

Love your thoughts on this in another m-commerce blog Tomi



"TDC - you clearly are a privleged rich kid in the USA. Just because someone lives in a country of bad electical grid reliability, doesn't mean there aren't plenty of affluent people, indeed very rich people. They too will want premium smartphones. If you think that living in Pakistan or Sri Lanka or Kenya or Nigeria with unreliable electricity means there are no millionaires or even billionaires you are simply an ignorant rich kid who should not be let out of his home before you've studied the world economy a little bit, at say basic high school level."

WOW! LOL! :D That's a bit presumptuous. I am from India.

Anyway, Apple owns the high end market and I would bet that all the millionaires and billionaires in these regions would most likely be owning an iphone.

abdul muis


"Actually the iPhone Camera is generally considered by professional photographers to be the best overall in their images. Some consider the Nokia 1020 and such to be better in certain situations."

Really?? From many blind test in smartphone flagship i.e. Galaxy Ss vs. iPhone vs. Sony Xperia Zs vs. Lg Gs vs. Nokia Lumias, I never saw apple won any match.

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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 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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