This is the question that most industry watchers are asking. In the APAC we recently read about how in countries like Singapore and Hong Kong users were already showing signs of iPhone fatigue, preferring to move to other platforms, notably Android phones and tablets. In fact Samsung has been slowly inching out Apple from the top slot in the major smartphone markets in the region.
Now the fear is that with the latest launch of Samsung new Galaxy S4 will spell further disaster for the iconic mobile devices brand. Reports show that even HTC is taking off rather nicely in the APAC region. Reports show from the traffic measurement site StatCounter show that Apple’s share in the mobile devices in Sngapore fell from 72 percent to 50 percent last year, while in Hong Kong iOS accounts for about 30 percent of the market, while Adroid takes up two thirds of the market.
Citing a possible reason for the decline in Apple’s charm, Sandy Shanman, general manager, Appsnack, Exponential’s mobile media advertising and marketing company says, “It’s the natural evolution for the space we are in. iPhone set the bar for multimedia consumption on mobile, and created the app economy as we know it. Android OS devices have caught up the fancy of users and so have windows mobile, and the new blackberry OS have too, but the reach is small at the moment.”
However a recent report from MindShare, GroupM’s media investment management arm puts out that while the latest release of flagship Android smartphones by Samsung and HTC could spell the end for Apple’s dominance in the mobile computing market, but the tech giant has most probably moved onto the next big thing.
Norm Johnston chief digital officer, Mindshare Worldwide asks, “The big question is what are Apple up to now? Has Apple already committed itself to disrupting the TV market with Apple TV? Or will the company that has defined the early 2000s now move to redefine mobility itself, with new smart watches and other wearable technology that connects our lives to the internet of things?”
The agency report says that it is not surprising that Apple is faced with the flagging sales of the iPhone and iPad range, while devices running Google’s Android are growing as as Apple has always taken a small volume, large value approach against Google’s large volume, low revenue formula; then there’s also the issue that the first stage adoption of tablets and smartphones is over, and people are now ready for next generation devices.
Currently the answer seems to be in the new Samsung Galaxy S4, which feels like the most complete smartphone yet. It replaces your living room remote, can monitor your calorie intake and even allow you beam content on your phone directly to any other Samsung device. Says Vineet Taneja , country head, Mobile and Digital Imaging, Samsung India, where the device was launched recently, “ The Galaxy S4 is a device that enables us to do more, it’s a companion that helps us experience life to the fullest and makes our life simpler and richer… That’s the promise of the Samsung Galaxy S4.”
Well, does this promise signals the end of an era for Apple, or merely the beginning of a new disruptive decade? According to Johnston, with Apple products now in a post-Jobs era, the market is at a pivotal point. “There was a time where the latest iPhone release was a seminal moment in technology each year but the last few launches have not captured the imagination in the way Apple products once did. Where Apple goes next in mobility will be key to opening up new advertising and product possibilities for brands that are willing to embrace a new adaptive environment,” he adds.
Whilst there is no doubt that Apple remains an important player in the smartphone market, the fact that other brands such as HTC and Samsung, not to mention Sony, have caught up. They have now given consumers far more choice when it comes to choosing their next phone. Unlike the current adult generation who’ve grown up on the marvels that each of Apple’s products were, the new generation of young adults, and the upcoming generation see no novelty in the brand per se, they are seeking better usability of products, and their relevance in their lifestyle. “The Nike+ Fuelband is just one example of how data, mobility and wearable tech is coming together. Google Glass is another example, so if Apple is working on the next era of mobility, we should all be excited and it could help to open up new markets and opportunities for brands,” explains Johnston.