Et’s been a little over a decade since the iPhone was the quintessential cool tech toy. Anyone who pulled the latest model out of their pocket at a party could be sure to attract the attention of all those who still used Nokia phones (hopelessly stuck in the 20th century) or one of the first Samsung smartphones (at least at the height of the time, but with the stigma of being too poor for the exclusive Apple Club).
Apple’s premium devices were far from perfect. The first models had no 3G, no multitasking, no front camera. This did not detract from their success. Apple made its customers feel like they were part of something very special. “If you don’t have an iPhone, you don’t have an iPhone” was the associated advertising slogan that summed up this feeling. The annual presentations of the new model in late summer became a holiday for tech enthusiasts, and Steve Jobs’ appearances in a black turtleneck sweater had downright messianic features.
Ten years later, Jobs is long dead, and his most important creation has lost that touch of unattainable cool. The presentation of the iPhone 14 this week could only excite the most die-hard Apple fans. In the standard version, it didn’t even get a faster chip than last year’s model. Otherwise there is not much new to report: a slightly better camera, a new emergency call function. The iPhone 14 is more or less like the iPhone 13, which in turn was more or less like the iPhone 12. The big leaps are a thing of the past. The new iPhone is no longer a must-buy for anyone who wants to have a say. Especially since Apple has announced a hefty price increase for the European market.
Financially, Apple is in excellent shape
The competition isn’t necessarily more innovative, but Apple is more and more often seen on an equal footing and keeps passing them by. And the lack of innovative power has long had an impact on customer behavior. They now keep their devices longer than they did a few years ago and switch to the new model less often.
So is Apple a company that has long passed its peak? This cannot be seen from the company figures. On the contrary: since June, for the first time in the United States, there have been more iPhones in circulation than phones with the Google Android operating system. Apple has increased its market share worldwide from under 20 to 25 percent. With a profit of over $19 billion in the second quarter of this year, the company is in excellent financial shape. It has been criticized in the past that Apple is too dependent on its best-known product.
The fact that the iPhone no longer triggers the same storm of enthusiasm does not have to detract from its success. Microsoft was never loved either, and yet its products were used by (almost) everyone. Bill Gates didn’t have to be cool to make billions from his operating system. Windows just eventually became the inevitable standard. Apple doesn’t have the same dominance that Microsoft did in its heyday. But Tim Cook’s company has managed to establish a closed ecosystem that simply works without the customer having to think much about it. Turning away from this system, on the other hand, involves a lot of effort that many people shy away from.
How important this closed ecosystem has become for Apple is shown by a scene that took place at a tech conference this week: a man from the audience asked Apple boss Tim Cook whether the group wasn’t finally getting the Samsung supported SMS successor RCS available on iPhones. Then it would be easier for him to send videos to his mother’s Android device. Cook’s answer: “Buy your mother an iPhone.” That sounds like Apple can live with being a bit boring – as long as there is no alternative for its customers.
Tag: iphone design, iphone 14, apple iphone, iphone release