COMMENT: New iPhone squib shows advertisers the truth

Rob Marston
By Rob Marston | 11 September 2013

Steve Jobs once said, "Innovation is what distinguishes between a leader and a follower."

Jobs also famously said, "Stay hungry, stay foolish." Well, today's announcement by Apple of two new iPhones – the iPhone 5S (a weak upgrade on the already weakly upgraded iPhone 5) and the iPhone 5C (a budget-end version to get more people locked into the iTunes ecosystem) demonstrates that Tim Cook may have taken the latter part of this quote a bit too literally.

With smartphone penetration in Australia heading towards 70%, consumers are now more sophisticated and educated in the realm of gadgetry goodness – the incremental hardware 'revolutions' from Cupertino are quite frankly an insult and only serve to demonstrate how disconnected Apple has become with consumers.

I believe that Apple has already hit penetration for the 'top of the pyramid' iPhone users. If you already have an iPhone the 5S was not worth the wait and will therefore be a flop (apologies all those 4S users who have been hanging on for the 5S, go out and get an S4 or HTC One!).

The 5C is also too little too late, especially when sub-$100 Android devices have been available for quite some time. Even when you take into account the hotly awaited upgrade to the operating system that is iOS7, this will still only bring your iPhone up to par with what is widely available on other Android devices.

So what does this announcement mean and what are the implications for advertisers? In my opinion there is a fundamental and terminal decline in Apple's dominance in the smartphone market, which will undoubtedly have serious repercussions on its supremacy in the tablet space. The introduction of a not-so-budget iPhone 5C demonstrates that Apple is no longer the market leader and is now playing catching up.

For advertisers there is a very clear message: sit up and take notice of Android. iPhone is no longer the only answer, merely part of it. If you are developing for iOS first, then you are catering for a declining audience. Android has already taken first place in the operating system race and if Apple continues down the path marked out today, then the hardware battle may well be over.

It seems fitting to end on another quote by Jobs which I hope is taken more literally by Tim Cook and Co: "Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations."

Rob Marston
Zeus Unwired

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