Innovation. Marketshare. Price.
Cellphone vendors often try to fit all three of these vectors into a single product in hopes of cramming enough features to eliminate real or perceived user objections. Features assembly, however, isn’t quite Apple’s design approach. Indeed, Apple’s challenge to would-be iPhone-killers seems to be:
Innovation. Marketshare. Price. Pick one.
Apple works on value themes where market creation is the goal. The iMac created a new market for one-piece, no-wires, no-hassle Internet PCs. The iPod created a new market for integrated hardware+software+service trilogy for digital music appreciation. The iPhone created a new market by unifying hitherto disjointed phone, Internet and media consumption in a single device.
By creating new markets Apple enjoys the advantage of making up its own rules of the game. Ever since the introduction of the iPhone, every smartphone contender has had to battle Apple’s strengths, as we outlined a year ago in Who can beat iPhone 2.0?
The value themes for the first two iterations of the iPhone are clear:
The original iPhone created the first veritable mobile-convergence device. After 25,000+ apps downloaded nearly a billion times, the second iPhone schooled the rest of the industry on how to create a mobile platform. What then awaits iPhone OS 3.0 to be introduced tomorrow?
Recent product introductions from Cupertino indicate that, in this difficult economy, maturity seems to be the operative theme. New desktop and notebook introductions of the past month have been about incremental value enhancement and signals on the upcoming OS update Snow Leopard seem to focus on refinements to system plumbing and performance.
Will Apple create a new market/theme with the next iPhone OS or will it be a maturity play?