Is Apple at risk of becoming the next BlackBerry?

“BlackBerry once ruled the smartphone world,” Harsh Chauhan writes for The Motley Fool. “BlackBerry thought that its loyal customer base would keep buying what it offered, so it didn’t feel a pressing need to innovate. That proved to be its undoing, and in an ironic twist, Apple now seems to be going down the same path.”

“Apple has built a huge user base. Nearly a year ago, Apple announced 1.3 billion active devices around the world, including iPhones, Macs, and other Apple devices. Some estimates put the number of iPhones at 1 billion,” Chauhan writes. “Apple’s strategy of adding incremental features and selling its iPhones at a premium price has led to stagnant unit sales. iPhone unit sales were roughly 47 million in the fourth quarter; flat with the previous year.”

MacDailyNews Take: No, saturation in the premium smartphone market, the only smartphone market in which Apple competes, is the cause of unit sales leveling off.

“BlackBerry was facing the same stagnation years ago,” Chauhan writes. “It focused only on incremental evolution in hardware and software, so users eventually moved on.”

MacDailyNews Take: Of course, Apple is not offering Blackberry-esque “incremental evolution.” Apple offers the fastest, most powerful, most secure pocketable computer on the planet. The also-rans don’t even come close.

“In spite of the ominous signs, Apple’s still a long way from becoming the next BlackBerry for a couple of reasons. First, the company has built a solid services business,” Chauhan writes. “Second, it isn’t just a one-product company like Research In Motion was. Cupertino’s product portfolio includes tablets, computers, and fast-growing consumer devices like smartwatches and smart speakers.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Even the second coming of John Sculley couldn’t make Apple the next BlackBerry.

SEE ALSO:
CIRP: Apple’s newest iPhones are attracting more Android upgraders than last year – December 26, 2018
Apple’s iPhone XS Max beats Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro in speed test – December 10, 2018
This year’s Apple A12-powered iPhones to leave Android phones even further behind – September 4, 2018
Apple’s year-old iPhone X trounces Samsung’s brand new Galaxy Note 9 in benchmark tests – August 10, 2018
First benchmarks reveal Apple’s iPhone X Plus performance will obliterate even Android’s wildest dreams – July 2, 2018
Apple’s new iPhones are going to destroy Samsung’s dog-slow Galaxy Note 9; in fact, Apple’s current iPhones will, too – March 29, 2018
Peddlers of dog-slow Android phones can’t copy Apple’s TrueDepth system; stuck with antiquated fingerprint readers instead – March 23, 2018
Samsung Galaxy S9 thoroughly beaten by Apple’s iPhone X/8/8 Plus in early benchmarks – March 1, 2018
Android settlers are about to understand there’s a limit to what you an achieve with hype and marketing – January 11, 2017
iPhone 8’s Apple A11 Bionic chip so destroys Android phones that Geekbench creator can’t even believe it – September 30, 2017

20 Comments

    1. Apple is pricing itself out of the market. And Android phones have gotten so much better over the past 5 years. Huawei has some staggering innovation in their phones for instance, but Samsung does as well.

      I hate Android, but the alternatives are to an iPhone are there, and soak up a lot of the market.

      1. The better Android phones are comparable in prices to iPhones, when comparing features.
        And Apple doesn’t do budget-priced phones.

        Also, how do you reckon that one company that makes about FIVE TIMES the profit of ALL OTHER PHONE COMPANIES together is pricing itself out of the market?

        1. “how do you reckon that one company that makes about FIVE TIMES the profit of ALL OTHER PHONE COMPANIES together is pricing itself out of the market?”

          That’s how!
          Rhetorical question?

      2. dswe

        I agree on one thing; Apple should try to get the upper average consumer because they could become a longtime consumer.

        But hey! Apple proved it doesn’t want that market. Too bad… Time will tell.

        Remember though, when we meet Apple consumers, they most likely have more than an iphone. The eco-system is so friendly, you would have to be crazy to abandon your Apple rig for a multi-brand solution. An Apple client is less prone to switch. The client’s niche have money and Apple still makes one of the most decent Smartphone in the world…

        Last thing, Apple might just have hit the line on pricing. They might have to reconsider some options… Exciting.

  1. Its called “hit-whoring” or “click-baiting”. Making up crazy crap that people will click on. The crazier the headline the more they are rewarded. Thank Jobs that MDN takes the hit for us so we don’t have to endorse this stuff.

    MDN I think one deserves a “Think before you click” warning.

    1. You’re welcome to your own opinion … but the guys at Motley Fool aren’t stupid, either.

      Apple has become extremely invested in iOS – – something like 68% of revenues? – – and that creates a high degree of reliance on “the next iPhone” being successful in the marketplace, which from the investor’s perspective is risk.

      And having owned several Blackberries, they weren’t cheap, so Apple’s attempt to position (or escape) upscale really isn’t anything different from what RIM’s approach had been.

      And insofar as incrementalism in innovation, just what has Apple really done with the iPhone that’s actually a mind-blowing “gotta have” value for their customers?

      Abolish the headphone jack? Nope.
      Abolish the home button? Nope.
      Face ID? Yawn.
      Make it 0.001mm thinner? Nope.
      A better color gambit? Yawn.
      Longer battery life? Really? Where?

      Overall, Apple is asking their customers to spend $1000 to have an essentially “more-of-the-same” even if its a modestly better camera and slightly faster CPU. The problem that Apple has is that their stuff has been excellent and passed the pragmatic ‘good enough’ metric three generations ago. As such, the only reasons to replace one today are mostly when it happens to get broken.

      Thanks, but for $29, I’ve just replaced my battery in my 6s, and I’ll keep it going until I happen to literally break it. Even then, since I personally value the headphone jack, I will check into the cost for repair.

      And the wife won’t accept anything bigger than her SE, despite how MDN fanboys try to rationalize getting the XS because its “only” ~20% bigger. Save your breath guys.

  2. “MacDailyNews Take: No, saturation in the premium smartphone market, the only smartphone market in which Apple competes, is the cause of unit sales leveling off.”

    This statement doesn’t square with Monday’s article “Apple’s revolutionary iPhone continues to own the premium smartphone market”, which stated the following:

    “According to Counterpoint Research’s Market Monitor Q3 2018, the global premium smartphone segment [over $400] continues to grow faster than the overall smartphone market… The global, premium smartphone segment grew … 19%”

    So if saturation doesn’t account for stagnant iPhone sales, what does? Lack of devices for people who want smaller form factors like an SE2 or equivalent.

    I know more than a few people who have/had older, smaller iPhones (like the 5, 5s or SE) who have waited too long for a replacement from Apple, and have started ditching the iPhone for other manufacturers that offer the size they want. And price isn’t an issue.

    1. I was talking with one iPhone user who has a 5s said this when we were talking about upgrades: “Oh, the new Apple iPhones? I don’t want a TV. I just want a phone that fits in my hand and does what the 5s does.”

      Apple needs to realize that physical size of the iPhone is an important consideration for a significant part of the premium smartphone market.

    2. “I know more than a few people who have/had older, smaller iPhones (like the 5, 5s or SE) who have waited too long for a replacement from Apple, and have started ditching the iPhone for other manufacturers that offer the size they want.”

      Like who? Who’s making premium iPhone SE-sized smartphones?

  3. The reason why Blackberry went under is because they didn’t take Apple seriously when the iPhone came out. Apple takes other companies seriously when their is event a hint at that company having something better then them.

    1. You have to be kidding, you mean like when there was not only a hint but actual facts that PC’s are faster and have current tech? While apple sells a 5 year old mac pro at a premium price. Many companies have lots of better tech then Apple and Pipeline is asleep at the switch.

      Congrats you win the stupid comment of the day award.

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