“The verdict is in and the jury is unanimous: Apple’s long overdue decision to build iPhones with larger screens is a winner,” Mark Rogowsky reports for Forbes. “According to market research firm Kantar, the iPhone gained share everywhere in the world except Japan for the three-month period that ended in November thanks to the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. In the U.S., iPhone caught up with Android smartphones for the first time in nearly two years and in the U.K., Apple hit its highest ever market share in the Kantar survey. Of course, these numbers are buoyed by the newness of the current iPhones but it’s possible they also represent a sea change. If so, Tim Cook may have captained Apple through one of its murkiest missteps in the iPhone era.”
“Apple has actually been aware for some time that it had a strategic vulnerability due to its decision to offer the iPhone in only smaller screen sizes. By April of last year at a company offsite, it put that vulnerability in the most stark terms possible: ‘Customers want what we don’t have,'” Rogowsky reports. “By then, the iPhone 5s and 5c were already well into production and the company could do little about the fact their screens were already considered small by nearly everyone not using an iPhone — and some who already were. But it could fix the vulnerability in 2014 and even take steps to expand its profitability in the process. By launching the iPhone 6 as a replacement for the 5s and then adding the phablet-sized 6 Plus for $100 more, Apple managed to raise average selling prices for the iPhone line, capture share in growing segments and keep the 4-inch models around for at least two more years for those looking to buy cheaper, smaller models.”
“If Apple understood the move to larger screens in 2012, it likely wouldn’t have waited so long and allowed so many people to get hooked on them with Android. Further, it could have struck a mortal blow to Samsung sooner, as it would likely have blunted the growth of the Galaxy business,” Rogowsky reports. “That’s all water under the bridge. Looking out into the vast ocean of opportunities, Cook has to be thinking about the next phase of growth.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in November:
The display size of iPhone 5 was Cook’s strategic mistake. 4-inches should have been 4.7-inches and the iPhone 5 Plus with a 5.5-inch display. Another year lost with iPhone 5s only compounded the mistake. Yes, that was criminal malpractice by Cook & Co. But, luckily for Apple, smartphones turn over rapidly and Apple, while having more work to do than they would’ve had converting Android settlers to iPhone rather than simply have iPhone users upgrade, can still quickly recover and get back to where they should have been all along and beyond!
An iPhone with a larger screen option will hurt Samsung immeasurably more than myriad, unending traipses through the legal morass. – MacDailyNews, May 2, 2014
Some portion of [those who want larger smartphone displays than Apple currently offers] are too stupid, blind, or pathologically anti-Apple to have ever purchased an iPhone, regardless of screen size.
This is not to say that Apple, the world’s most valuable tech company, rolling in more billions of dollars than they know what to do with, shouldn’t have a larger screen iPhone available by now. They should. It’s criminal malpractice on the part of Tim Cook that they don’t. The sales Apple have left and continue to leave on the table should have been keeping Phil Schiller up at night for at least the last year.
Yes, Apple should have a bigger iPhone yesterday, but this is just simple logic: Not all phablet owners would have bought an iPhone even if a bigger iPhone was available.
We understand fragmentation. We understand the issues of producing apps that work on devices with various screen sizes (intimately).
None of it matters because too much of the market wants an iPhone with a bigger screen. Developers will simply work harder for the premium customers found on the premium platform. Period.
This omission – not iMacs and Mac Pros that miss Christmas or anything else – is Tim Cook’s biggest mistake to date. Apple should have a bigger iPhone on the market by now, but since, for some inexplicable reason a company with more cash at their disposal than Intel Corp. is worth doesn’t, the sooner the better.
And, as we wrote on January 23, 2014:
When Apple finally extracts their collective head from their collective ass and ships iPhone models with larger screens, they’ll do more damage to slavish copier Samsung than all of their endless, plodding patent infringement cases combined.
We believe that Apple became infatuated with the fact that only they could produce small, thin smartphones with an efficient OS that could work with the small batteries that these compact iPhones housed. “Nobody else can do such things.” Meanwhile, battery-hogging Android leeches like Samsung slapped larger screens on their phones to hide the fact that they needed significantly larger batteries in order to run for even a few hours (Android phones are notorious for running out of charge).
Far too many otherwise intelligent consumers saw little or nothing of Apple’s considerable engineering superiority (the iPhone 5s is simply the best smartphone anyone has ever produced), these otherwise intelligent consumers only saw iPhone’s smaller screens. They didn’t see Android’s inefficiency or inferior ecosystem, they only saw phones with larger screens.
If we’ve heard from one person who went with an Android phone for a larger screen who in fact really wanted an iPhone – “I’d have gotten an iPhone if only they had a larger screen” – we’ve heard it from a thousand. These are top tier, cream-of-the-crop customers (i.e. Apple’s target demographic), not low information cheapskates. They want to be Apple customers and participate heavily in Apple’s ecosystems, but, for a few years now, Apple has been blowing these sales by failing to deliver the product these high value customers desired. It’s inexplicable; any downsides (fragmentation, inventory management, etc.) are vastly outweighed by the vast sales potential to those who should be Apple customers, but are now carrying a plastic piece of crap from Samsung.
Bottom line: Apple screwed the pooch on this one. Shit or get off the pot, Tim.
Finally, as we wrote on January 28, 2014:
No iPhone with a screen larger than 4-inches – it’s now 2014 – despite a plethora of high-value customers who obviously want to buy one, but have turned to other platforms in order to get a smartphone with a larger screen. Oops. Mismanaged.
One-handed interaction is a concocted load of bullshit attempting to cover for not having a proper lineup of iPhones offering customers varied display sizes at even this late date.
Hit hard by Apple’s iPhone 6/Plus, Samsung expects first annual profit decline since 2011 – January 8, 2015
Woz: The iPhone 6 is three years too late – November 11, 2014
Samsung Electronics’ profit plummets over 60% as people dump wannabe iPhones for the real thing – October 30, 2014
Samsung looks to cheap phones to stem steep profit decline in face of Apple iPhone 6/Plus – October 30, 2014
iPhone 6/Plus preorders outpace Samsung Galaxy Note 4 in South Korea – October 27, 2014
Apple looks to have significantly underestimated the popularity of 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus – October 21, 2014
Samsung poised for ‘ugly’ quarter as demand for Apple’s bigger iPhone 6/Plus skyrockets – October 6, 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