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Apple’s iPhone 5: Reactions from Asia

Zafar Anjum | Sept. 13, 2012
Ovum believes it will take more than iPhone 5 to knock Google off the top spot in the consumer technology war

The iPhone 5 was unveiled on 12 September in San Francisco and reactions started coming in from Asia from the morning of 13 September.

Analyst firm Ovum believes it will take more than iPhone 5 to knock Google off the top spot in the consumer technology war. "Apple needs to do much more than the widely expected hardware revamp of the iPhone to lead in the smartphone market," the company said in a statement. "This is according to Ovum's new measure of success in the consumer technology industry - the Smart-Vendor Scorecard - which accompanies a 360-degree assessment of the major technology vendors' capabilities and their influence over consumers and developers."

While Ovum expects that the new iPhone will be Apple's most successful smartphone to-date, there are some serious pitfalls ahead. For example, without a redesign of the iOS user experience and underlying software platform in the next two years, Apple will find itself in a position similar to Nokia and RIM, which found themselves with outdated smartphone platforms that needed replacing.

Adam Leach, leader of Ovum's Devices and Platforms practice, comments: "Apple has successfully built the iPhone from a radical new entrant to the must-have smartphone. Whilst the company is still reaping the rewards of the brand equity of the iPhone, consumers are notoriously fickle when it comes to buying handsets. Without the continued innovation which we are accustomed to with Apple, the company risks losing consumer appeal. The iPhone re-defined the smartphone category in 2007 but it can't rely on past success to guarantee its future or rely on litigation to keep its competitors at bay."   

Inherent risks involved in Apple's strategy

"The device highlights the inherent risks involved in Apple's strategy of only releasing one device at a time, in that it always has to strike a compromise that is most likely to appeal to a wide base of users," said Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum. "The new device strikes that compromise most dramatically in the increased vertical height. With many Android and Windows Phone devices now significantly larger than the iPhone 4S and gaining popularity, the pressure has grown on Apple to release a larger device. By only increasing the vertical height, it's created a device that's notably taller and thinner in aspect ratio than most of those Android devices, and as a result it will stand out, which may not be a good thing. While keeping the device small enough for some hands is important, many customers would have wanted something bigger, and they'll be disappointed."

"On the other hand, the addition of LTE, the improvements in battery life, performance and the camera and so on will help the device appeal to existing iPhone users, and either close the gap or broaden its lead against competing devices," he added. "It seems likely that Apple will nevertheless sell tens of millions of iPhone 5 devices in the next few months and well over 100 million in total over the next year. Android's lead in total shipments and installed base will continue to grow, however, as Apple's devices continue to target just a subset of the addressable market and Android devices meet a much wider range of customer preferences and price points."


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