Triple-A: Android, Anchoring and Apple

“The iPhone 6 era is just 10 days old, but for Apple it was already underway sometime last year,” Mark Rogowsky writes for Forbes. “By April 2013, company executives understood they had a strategic vulnerability. The booming smartphone market had expanded remarkably in 2012, growing from 494 million units the year before to 722 million sold. While 70% of the gains occurred in phones below $300 — a market Apple had no intention of partaking in — the rest came from phones with screens larger than the iPhone’s 4-inch display. Worse still, premium-priced phones with 4-inch screens actually was a shrinking segment, down 22 million. That Apple managed to sell more iPhones was a remarkable achievement but it meant challenges lay ahead.”

“We know these numbers from Apple’s own internal documents, made public in the patent trial with Samsung,” Rogowsky writes. “In choosing two models to fill the void, Apple is playing a clever game. It can satisfy customers who feel the need to have among the largest screens while also creating an ‘anchor’ that makes the basic iPhone 6 seem less big.”

“In choosing to create the 6 Plus, Apple made it clear the future is mainly the 4.7-inch screen,” Rogowsky writes. “With Apple, little happens by accident. The company saw the weakness in its product mix as demand shifted toward larger models, especially in the high-end segment where it plays. Arguably, it took longer to respond than it should have but in coming to market with a complete lineup, it closed nearly all of its vulnerabilities at once. The one hole still to fill appears to be in the $300-$350 range. But that, too, is a much longer conversation.”

Much more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Samsung is running scared of Apple’s hot-selling, 64-bit iPhone 6 Plus – September 29, 2014
Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s are tougher than Samsung’s 32-bit Galaxy S5 – September 28, 2014
iPhone 6/Plus frenzy prompts Samsung to slash Galaxy Note 4 price, rush launch – September 24, 2014
The iPhone charts that Apple will love and Samsung will hate – September 24, 2014
Survey: 27% of consumers ditching Samsung phones for Apple iPhone 6/Plus – September 23, 2014
Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6/Plus fueling mass upgrades from Android – September 18, 2014

Apple posts new how-to guide: Switching from Android phone to iPhone – September 16, 2014

Reviewers fall all over themselves to praise Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6/Plus – September 17, 2014
iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus tested at Disneyland: ‘So badass’ – September 17, 2014
Re/code reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6 Plus: ‘A statement phone,’ not a ‘plastic toy’ – September 17, 2014
Megapixels mean nothing: Apple iPhone 6 trounces Samsung Galaxy S5 in camera shootout – September 17, 2014
The Telegraph reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6 Plus: ‘It’s peerless’ – September 17, 2014
TechCrunch reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6: ‘The best smartphone available’ – September 17, 2014
USA Today’s Baig reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6/Plus: ‘Smartphone stars’ – September 17, 2014
Walt Mossberg reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6: ‘The best smartphone on the market’ – September 16, 2014
The Wall Street Journal reviews Apple’s 64-bit iPhone 6: ‘The best smartphone you can buy’ – September 16, 2014
Macworld reviews 64-bit iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: Bigger is better (in the right hands) – September 16, 2014

53 Comments

  1. Apple had already started the process much earlier than 2013. To move the pieces together required more time. As Apple had lost its founder, embroiled with a supplier on trade dress, and prior partner (Google), and while deciding how to proceed with new logistics.

    Apple finally put the pieces together at a point where it would hurt its competitors the most while gaining the most traction in its market – then pulled the trigger. Planned long before playing defense.

        1. 2 years has been sufficient time to establish that the market’s and the user’s reaction was a collective “meh” to Google Pay (or whatever it was called). And most commentary now doesn’t bother spilling digital ink on it beyond noting that point.

          The real issue is whether Apple Pay will get the same or different response.

          1. I think the biggest difference between them, and the reason I think  Pay *will* work:

            Apple went to the banks and got them onboard with  Pay, Google tried to recreate the wheel basically.

            I’m pretty sure of this now,  Pay has been something Apple has been talking with banks for a long time.. Apple put the iPhone 5S out there with Touch ID to show them it was secure, and users would actually use it.

            Dropping Touch ID and  Pay at the same time, may not have given banks enough faith to get involved. But a year of Touch ID being used.. Banks can see real data instead of Apple just saying “but people will use it, trust us” (Like Google would say)

            IMO combining Touch ID and NFC.. Apple got it right.
            Look at all the Banks and retailers already on board.

            1. Apple plans the coarse of its hardware extremely deep into the products future. Take the home key as a perfect example.

              First off, Apple kept it a round button. Ergonomically shaped to the human finger. But why you may ask? Just read on.

              Secondly, a physical, press-able button was important to stick with, even though Samsung played with non-physical buttons and square shaped buttons. Apple remained steady to the original round shape and physical home button.

              We began to see this brilliant strategy come about when Touch ID appeared. Placing a finger scanner to read the users finger print on the iPhone 5s gave a glimpse to the long precieved path as to why Apple stuck with the shape and mechanical reasons for a home button. Touch ID not only offered easy access to your phone, but as everyone now sees – leads to a payment system. Apple Pay is yet another reasons and expresses how well Apple plans out its hardware. Round, press-able, scanner id with a payment fuctionality.
              These things are planned. And its planning such as this which the competition can not possibly copy or predict. It is such brilliance from Apple by which has and continues to shine as to why Apple Pay will succeed. Such different thinking blows the competition out of the race. Go back to the drawing board BlackBerry, Samsung, Google, Nokia, HTC… start by innovating on things from scratch not by imitating and filling in the gaps of innovation with unplanned functionality.

            2. I would have to disagree with the benefits of a physical button vs capacitive button. Apple could have easily made the front even more sleek and attractive if they had done something similar to the Galaxy X2 Epic 4G touch. There are no physical buttons on the front of the device and they remain ‘hidden’ (basically black on black) till touched. The round Touch ID ring could have been placed if need-be in the same area and because it would not be a mechanical interface, it would be one less opening to waterproof and subject to mechanical wear.

            3. I kinda doubt Touch Id would be feasible with a non physical button.

              touch or press would have to go.. capacitive button couldn’t do both. Unless you program the OS to use one while one app is open.. and use the other when another app is open.. creating a can of worms.

              I like the physical button of the iPhone. And if Apple would make a change to allow answering a call with the home button.. my Dad could use the iPhone. (he’s the only family member that doesn’t have one, welding gloves.. other gloves, years of concrete abuse on his hands.. “Slide to answer” is a bitch for him, and impossible when he’s working. We’ve tried.)

            4. I didn’t know you had to press the button to have Touch ID work. As for answering the phone with the button, maybe there is a feature you have to turn on or an App for the iPhone that will answer when you put it to your ear. My Galaxy S2 has a setting for that. Will also direct calls immediately to voicemail if face down. Great for meetings w/o having to fiddle with the mute mode.

            1. If you happen, on to Google play… one can opt for redeeming credit with a pre-paid card.

              Interlude to my rant season: (Google Play is yet more proof as to how Google stole iOS, they copied Apple App Store feature for feature – even copied the iTunes Pre-Paid credit, and its further proof as to Google earning money with Android — which it isn’t suppose to do since its open source OS right) — and now back to my statement…

              Anyways, with Google PrePaid credit, one might not have their credit card stolen by the infamous Gargoyle – right.

            2. Prepaid cards are hardly unique to iTunes. As for being open source, the AOSP is the open source version of Android, Google Android is AOSP + Google specific APIs including access to the Google Play store. AOSP does not have this access. There is no reason Google should not make money off content/apps that run on an Open Source system. If you would take that tact you will have to also accuse Apple of making money off of selling software/content for use on Macs.

        2. Yes, and look what they’ve done with it… NOTHING!

          Google Wallet has been a $300m face-pan write-off.

          SECURE mobile payments are A LOT MORE than just throwing NFC into a handset…

          Please do some THINKING before commenting please!

    1. Is there any reason Apple has to compete on a spec by spec basis with all Android manufacturers. Do you think Samsung is going to sell that many more phablets because of a higher screen resolution? Why isn’t 401 ppi good enough for most consumers. Not everyone has the eyesight of a hawk. Because some Android smartphone maker puts a 40 megapixel camera in product, you believe Apple has to match it? Running a successful company doesn’t mean they have to copy every feature a rival has. It’s not really practical to do so. Apple is going to sell maybe 80 million+ iPhones to maybe 2 million Note 4s.

      1. So, the iPhone screen isn’t the best anymore. It’s just ‘good enough’.

        Doesn’t Apple want to have the best smartphone? How can they have the best smartphone when their rivals are releasing a phone with consistently higher specs in less than a month? An 8 core processor will outperform a dual core, no matter how much control Apple has over it, no matter how much they can optimize it.

        1. Huh? A great screen is suddenly an “okay” screen simply because Apple isn’t exceeding the pixel density of its competitors? That’s a load of bull.

          The iPhone 6’s screen has been proven to be superior to competing screens in colour and viewing angle. Pixel density is not the only metric to measure a screen’s quality by.

          1. I can see why you’d say that. I mean you are an iPhone user so your expectations from your smartphone are already pretty low in comparison. Lower resolution and PPI screens may be ok for basic phone usage. But when I’m watching something on Netflix, or something I’ve torrented, or playing a game on my phone I want the crispest picture that money can buy. Not something that’s just ‘good enough’

            1. And you’ve never watched it on an Apple product, so you really have nothing to make a comparison on. At the size of a phone, there is no difference to speak of. The iPhone in all of its models has superior color accuracy to any Android. Some Android OLED screens Have blacker blacks because of the nature of the system. . . but the iPhones have far better white balance. These are the tested results. The iPhone can drive an external 1080HD big screen TV with no problem with AirPlay, showing Netflix or anything the iPhone can display. . . Or it can drive it through an HDMI cable with an adaptor, also at 1080HD.

            2. Actually I used to own an iPhone a few years back. It was my first smartphone, so I didn’t really know what I wanted.

              My sister who lives with us also has an iPhone 5.

              So yea, sorry but you’re wrong. I have watched video and played games, both on my old 3GS I used to have and on my sisters iPhone 5. I can tell you from experience that even my old Note 2, which is 2 years old and is only 720p, has a much better, crisper, more vibrant looking display.

              And the Note 4’s screen will only be even more so.

            3. Also, any Android built since 2011 can drive a 1080p screen with an MHL to HDMI adapter. You can even use an MHL to HDMI adapter to drive the screen and audio system on a Pioneer AppRadio 2 aftermarket car stereo and, with an app called ARLiberator, use the radios capacitive touch screen to control the phone. So basically your phone becomes your car stereo. But that’s beside the point.

            4. “dracoazule” – Did you get your Fragmandroid on a “Buy-One-Get-One Free” deal? (the ONLY way to convince a subscriber to get a Fragmandroid phone!)

              Regardless of specs, you’re still stuck w/ a crappy, insecure OS… How much processing are you chewing up having to run Lookout or some other anti-virus software?

              How about something REALLY important to subscribers like Android not ‘sandboxing’ apps, alloying malicious apps (Google Play w/ Yourself id FULL of them!) to steal personal information from other apps?

            1. No, Backlash. There are no “huge Android trolls,” there are only pipsqueak Android Trolls hoping to cast a huge shadow by aggrandize get themselves. These pipsqueaks suffer from MAPS. here is the Diagnosis code my girlfriend and I have created and are submitting for inclusion in the next update to the ICD-10:

              90210 iOS Munchausen’s Apple-Plexy Syndrome (MAPS), The overwhelming compulsion to post negative, judgmental, aggressive, and false commentary on any website forums related to Apple products wherever found, including phobic reaction to projected Apple user euphoria. First and subsequent encounters.

            2. The ICD-9 had only 15,000 diagnostic codes. That was not nearly enough to keep all the pencil pushing, key-stroking bureaucrats in the Various governmental agencies eith busy or happy, so they multiplied them by tenfold! To do so they had to come up with sub-diagnoses under general categories. MADS fits very nicely under the general category of JBADS as a detailed subdiagnosis.

              An example of some that have already been accepted into the ICD-10, which goes into effect on Wednesday, are:

              T63622A (Toxic effect of contact with other jellyfish, intentional self-harm, initial encounter),

              V9542XA (Forced landing of spacecraft injuring occupant, initial encounter),

              V9733XA (Sucked into jet engine, initial encounter), and

              V80731A (Occupant of animal-drawn vehicle injured in collision with streetcar, initial encounter).

              (My favorite) V9027XA: “Drowning and submersion due to falling or jumping from burning water-skis, initial encounter.”

            3. I had absolutely no idea that so much thought and effort is applied to making these classifications! I appreciate the enlightenment and humbly and gratefully accept my being corrected.

              But you gotta admit: that guy is just being a dick, right?

        2. The quad core processor does not outperform the Apple A8 dual core (which is also operating at only 50% of the clock speed of the quad core, by the way). Performance and power efficiency is a powerful combination for a mobile device.

          Dracozule, you are trying way to hard to rile up people on this forum.

        3. I meant to add that the quad core example shows that your octocore assertion if full of crap. Consider that you tend to achieve diminishing returns by adding cores (e.g, eight cores is not twice as fast as four cores). Consider that you have to parallelize code to take advantage of additional cores. Consider the additional power consumed by the eight core solution. Suddenly, you don’t sound very smart…

        4. Dracoazule, you and Samsung have reached the point where you are trying to count how many angels can dance on the head on the head of a pin when you and they keep raising the pixel count far beyond what the human eye can discern on a phone screen. 500 pixels per inch? Seriously? 3,686,400 pixels to animate at 30 frames or more per second? The more you have to move, the more power it takes, and the more power you waste for DISCERNABLE NO ADVANTAGE. That is what is called a stupid feature. Good, smart engineering design provides only what is necessary to meet that which is discernable and wastes nothing on frivolous specs beyond that. Phones and tablets made by makers who think that loading them up with more and greater specs, bells and whistles, that add overhead for no good reason, are wasteful. . . Apple always waits, considers, plans, and has a good reason for the specs and features it includes in its products.nthat is why its customers keep coming back and are among the most loyal in the world.

          1. So basically, you’re admitting that Apple has gone from releasing the best, bleeding edge technology on the market to just releasing ‘good enough’ technology while still charging the same amount as other smartphones with much more advanced specifications.

            I have higher standards and expectations when it comes to smartphones. ‘Good enough’ isn’t good enough for me.

    2. what will that massive resolution mean? at a certain point one cannot tell the difference. the iPad Air that I’m typing this on has far less resolution than 500ppi and is amazing. I’m not sure it would benefit from higher res. the law of diminishing returns comes to mind

      1. do the math on the extra GPU processing (heat, battery life,) The challenge of good design is finding the right balance. I dare say apple’s screen (the combination of resolution, color accuracy, brightness, contrast, ect) loos great and is properly matched to the GPUs memory bandwidth creates a best in class real word performance.

        1. Dracoazule, I’m looking at an iPad Air right now. To even SEE a pixel, I have to hold the iPad at two inches from my eyes. . . or I have to get a ten power Jeweler’s loupe to see them. Your asinine assessment of its quality is just that asinine.

          As I type this on that iPad Air with Retina Screen with 3,125,248 pixels, I am watching a 55 inch HD TV which is 1920 x 1080 pixels and 2,073,600. My iPad Air has 50% MORE pixels in its 9.7 inch screen than that High Definition TV has in 55 inches. Hell, Dracoazule, it has more pixels than my boss’ 20 foot HIDEF video system screen, that looks fantastic. . . or the digital movie theater’s forty foot screen at the Cineplex! Do you get my point? It depends on purpose. If you cannot discern the pixels, more, smaller ones, WILL NOT IMPROVE THE IMAGE. . . no much how much you sputter and screech.

    3. PPI isn’t the end all to screen quality.

      It’s like saying a cheap camera with higher megapixels is better than a top Canon with lower megapixels. The top Canon would invariably trash the cheap camera because the sensor , the lens, the software interpretation etc is better.

      The Note 4 has a good screen but the iPhone at lower PPI makes up for it in smart tech. Samsung screens are better than iPhones’ in some things but worse in others as shown by various tests.

      Macworld:
      “According to DisplayMate’s tests, the iPhone 6 Plus breaks all sorts of records, including the highest peak brightness, lowest screen reflectance, highest (true) contrast ratio, highest contrast in ambient light, and more.”

      Geek.com on new ‘polarizer’ tech on iP6

      “As you can see here, vertical viewing is a challenge for the filter currently being used on this camera. The HTC One M8 is just about unusable in this condition, and while the Galaxy S5 got noticeably darker, it’s still usable. The iPhone 6 got a little darker, but instead of going to a dull grey, the filter shifted to a blue tint. This means your colors are inaccurate, but all of the text is still perfectly readable.”

      ——-
      Phones screens are very small relative to screens like on laptops, desktops etc so PPI how small do you want to shrink your text on a phone? All reviews show that the iP6 renders images and text almost perfectly with no pixelation, the iP6 plus has a bit of pixelation if you unnaturally put your eyeballs close to the screen.

      The UPSIDE of lower ppi is that the GPU RUNS THE SCREEN BETTER (with perhaps some battery savings) . Almost all reviews says that iPhone is buttery smooth and considerably less laggy than Androids when you use screen controls etc. This helps iPhones ‘experiential’ advantage (which is hard to quantify) and is why so many people enjoy using iPhones and why so few iPhone users move to android while the reverse is not true (iOS gains a lot of new users from android, android gains from Symbian etc) . The few iOS users who moved to android in the last 2 years were due to want of larger screens but this movement is dead.

      Besides all those advantages, saving money on the screen (and as I said the iP screen already renders text and images near perfectly) ALLOWS Apple to Provide BETTER TECH IN OTHER AREAS like Aluminium bodies, a fingerprint sensor that actually works, a 64 bit chip, advanced stabilized slow mo capable camera etc. The trade off gives the iPhone a way better overall experience.

    4. Dracula, how’s the blood business?

      But I digress, WTF do you think of manufacturers who put in more damn pixels than the human eye can see, then turn around and charge more for the extra pixels.

      Samsung, what a piece of work. I was going to say shit instead of work but shit and Samsung are pretty well smilies.

    5. When are you guys going to learn that more pixels per inch at 9″ from your eyes make absolutely no difference in viewing quality. 401 ppi on a 5.5 inch screen is Retina, meaning the human eye can’t resolve any better. And phone closer than 9″? Apple chose the resolution that was needed. You got suckered into buying something from ScamScum (who duped you), that knew that there were millions who wouldn’t know they were being suckered. If a 5.5″ screen had 10,000 ppi, it wouldn’t look any better than one at 401 ppi.

    6. Is this another one of Samsung’s bogus “pentile” AMOLED displays, dracozule? By the way, your math is screwed up. 2560×1440 is 1.78 times the number of pixels as 1920×1080 and 500 PPI is 25% more than 401 PPI.

      You may recall that Apple started the retina display movement on mobile devices. The retina display is based on the limit of visibility of individual pixels. How high does the PPI have to go before it becomes meaningless? I have no doubt that Apple will continue to evolve its iOS displays, and it may continue to increase pixel density over time. But Apple won’t do that just because Samsung crammed more pixels on a phablet or it impresses you.

    7. Yes, but the Samslung is stuck w/ Android, and a slower processor.. See the MDN posts about how poorly Android/Samslung devices perform at gaming, which is primarily what you’d want a bigger screen for…

      I think you’ll see Samslung break in two ala HP…. They have a chip & display business & consumer products… two very distinct markets and one hurting sales in the other (besides the PC & smartphone markets having shrinking margins for them)

  2. A couple interesting points:
    1. The great thing about Apple’s approach to the premium market is that they get to redefine it every year.
    2. Because Apple makes such high-quality products that can last for years (and continue to be upgradable via the operating system almost annually for up to 4 years), the used phone market remains huge. All those used devices get handed down or refurbed and resold. Apple may not see much of that as direct income, but they definitely get a benefit from the ecosystem, as people continue to buy media iTunes and the app store even on older and used devices.
    Lastly, I expect (and hope) to see a new 4-inch iPhone next year to replace the 5 series. There are plenty of people who don’t want larger phones than that. Give us the new camera, OIS, and a bigger battery in the size of the iPhone 5 (with the new rounded edges and glass, if you want) and they’ll also sell quite well. That’ll be a real nose-thumbing at the competition. Apple for the first time actually blocked a significant segment of upgraders by not offering it this year.

    1. Quite right about the smaller sized phone.. If Apple chases the large screen market by sacrificing their ‘small’ model, they’ll just open up another ‘hole’ competitors will take advantage of before they have a chance to fill again.. The next time it may not be as easy to gain back.

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