Today, Digitimes Research released a controversial market report. According to their analysis, the iPhone 5 won’t restore Apple to it’s No. 1 position. Apple may have confidence in it’s new mysterious iPhone 5 but Digitimes says Android has gone to far for too long to be taken down now.
We had a feeling that this was true all along. Last quarter, when Samsung officially beat Apple as the number one smartphone in the world, the news made sense. With so many Android phones on the market, it felt natural that they would take a larger share.
But almost as soon as the news came out, Apple fanatics around the blogosphere collectively thumbed their noses at common sense. Android dominance was just a “blip” that could be blamed on anything from a shrinking smartphone market to Samsung copying Smasung’s tech. “Just wait until the new iPhone 5 comes out”, they said, and then you’ll see.
But even as the iPhone 5’s release approaches, things aren’t looking good for Apple. Their secrecy is creating a fever pitch of hype and excitement that Apple might not be able to satisfy with anything short of the second coming. And while they play with our emotions, Android’s gain is getting larger and larger.
According to Digitimes Research, Android currently controls roughly 60 percent of the smartphone market. And by the time the iPhone 5 comes out, Digitimes Research senior analyst Luke Lin estimates that that market share will be 70 percent. That is a ridiculous if not impossible amount of ground to make up even if the iPhone 5 turns out to be a little black plastic deity.
Why Apple Can’t Get Back on Top
Apple, after all, is only one company: one company that only makes one phone a year. Android companies like Samsung produce dozens of phones per year. And with that fast turnover, each phone is often better than the next.
And the phones that aren’t top-of-the-line are beating Apple in other ways. Smartphone vendors like Nokia are encouraging burgeoning markets in Africa and China to try out the Windows Phone by flooding the market with dirt cheap phones. And it’s working. The market is expected to absorb 21 million Windows Phones by the end of the year.
Now millions around the world who are priced out by Apple can get in on the smartphone party. And some of those cheap phones have specs that rival the iPhone’s. Or at least specs good enough to still make you feel good about the fact that you saved several hundred dollars.
The Hard Truth
If Apple wants to bring itself and its adherents back on top, it will have to make some changes. In a world where tech turns over roughly once every six months, customers get tired of waiting.
And those who do will watch Android phones surpass their static devices again and again. And in the end, they may find that they’ve paid more, gotten less and waited longer than Android users.
But the future is still a mystery. There are many that will disagree with us. And they may be right. Apple has a history of surprising us. And we’re excited to see the way that they’ll change the game and send the competition running for the hills.