Aug 202013

Say what you will but I think a lot of consumers in North America and Europe have developed iPhone fatigue.

iPhone upgrades increasingly bring few substantive improvements to justify their premium prices.

Apple has relied on gimmickry like Siri voice control (introduced in the iPhone 4S) or the anodized aluminum case (in the iPhone 5) to push its upgrades to an adoring fan base.

Even on the important issue of screen size, only with the iPhone 5 did consumers get a larger 4-inch screen. Samsung Galaxy S II, introduced 18-months earlier, debuted with a 4.3-inch display. And the follow-on S III and S IV came with 4.8-inch and 5-inch displays respectively.

So far there’s nothing to indicate that the next generation iPhone, scheduled to launch on September 10, will come with anything but modest improvements and gimmickry like a gold-color option.

Consumer expectation in the meantime has skyrocketed with every new version of the iPhone.

While Apple’s loyal fan base is happy enough to buy the new iPhones, discerning consumers like yours truly have sat on the sidelines.

I purchased the iPhone 3G, skipped the 3GS, bought the iPhone 4 and yawned over the 4S and iPhone 5.

Picky consumers like me have developed iPhone fatigue, seeing the modest improvements in the new iPhones unworthy of an upgrade.

Plus, we’ve been put off by the half-baked gimmickry like Siri.

I suspect one of the reasons iPhone is losing market share is that there are a lot of picky consumers like me in North America who feel they’re getting taken to the cleaners by Apple.

Losing Share

Although Apple still makes the bulk of the profits in the smartphone category, it’s been losing market share to cheaper Android phones.

Apple’s share of the global smartphone market fell to 13.2% in the second quarter of 2013, from 16.6% in the same quarter in 2012. In the same period, the market share of Android smartphones jumped from 69.1% to 79.3%.

Apple’s loyal fan base will continue to buy the latest iPhones but the company seems to be finding it tough to gain new customers in an expanding smartphone market. For the first time ever, in the second quarter of 2013, smartphone sales beat feature phone sales.

But Apple’s market share is not rising despite the mobile phone market’s transition to smartphones.

It’s unlikely that the gold-colored iPhone will do much to stem the decline of Apple’s market share in North America and Europe.

Apple’s one ray of hope lies in growing its current tiny share of the smartphone market in developing nations like China and India with the cheaper, plastic iPhone that it’s rumored to be launching next month along with a regular iPhone upgrade.

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