Sunday, June 26, 2022

Is this the beginning of the end of Apple?

Following yesterdays disappointing iPhone 4s announcement, it got us to thinking about Apple and it’s long term prospects without Steve Jobs. With a boring keynote and a 4s product announcement that has been met with a nearly universal reaction of “that’s all” basically Apple has become the follower in the phone market with Android leading the way, the 4S is basically just a catch-up to what is already out there in the Android and unbelievably Windows phone market.

So the company we have always thought of as the leader in the market is now playing catch up, imagine in another year how far behind Android the iPhone is going to be and it starts to look worse.

The conventional wisdom is that the applications will be what keeps the iPhone ahead, along with the iPad the ecosystem can’t currently be beat. That is changing as well though as the Android developers are going to be going crazy soon with the release of the Kindle Fire which contrary to popular belief is not that much of a fork of Android and is running Android 2.3 which will allow developers to write one program for the Android phones as well as the Fire. Priced at $199.00 and with Amazon behind it the Fire is going to be a serious competitor to the iPad, and if you are used to all these Android apps, you are going to look to an Android phone as well especially if the features are better than an iPhone. 

The sales numbers were leaked today and the Fire presales are higher than iPads. The Fire has over 250,000 presales already and is increasing at a rate of roughly 50,000 a day. That has to scare the heck out of Apple this years killer Christmas gift is not going to come from Apple, but from Amazon.

So today we have the market split between the Fire on the bottom and the iPad on top, that’s where Apple has always done best, and if that were the only competitor Apple would probably come out just fine, but there is something else coming along that will put Apple in a bad spot.

That is the forthcoming Windows 8 and the day when you can have a complete operating system on your tablet. This is going to split the market three ways with the top end suddenly becoming Microsoft with a complete tablet computer at the top, iPad in the middle, and the Fire at the bottom. History tells us that in a three way market, the middle is in trouble and the iPad is going to fall squarely in the middle next year with very little other than screen size to differentiate it from the Fire and not enough power to compete with Windows 8.

That’s when the iPad becomes just another shiny gadget that Apple fanbois will keep buying, but who else will?

That leaves just the computer line and Apple’s current strategy seems to be to move more towards an iOS feel with the desktop, everyone keeps talking about a post pc world, but what we see coming is a pc+ world where your devices work together and Apple is way behind there. Having had our hands on the Windows 8 system and the way it will work between a desktop and a tablet is an amazing step forward and more in line with the way most people work.

So in the phone market we have Android ahead of Apple and Windows Mango behind, in tablets we will have Windows 8 ahead of Apple and the Kindle Fire behind and in the desktop we have Windows on top, Apple second and Linux behind. Leaving Apple in the middle in every market it competes in. You can say they are leaders in the music player market, but that is a dying market as phones are supplanting mp3 players at a rapid pace.

The middle is not where anyone wants to be. Apple was the cult of Steve. They were always one step ahead as Jobs had a knack for keeping Apple ahead of the pack, without Steve they are falling quickly behind already and in 2 more years they will become once again what they were before, an expensive alternative that delivers less than the competition. How long it will take for consumers to recognize this is the question no one can answer, but in the end, the consumer always gets it right.

It was a nice ride while it lasted Apple.


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