Is the new iPhone heading for an iFlop? Industry experts believe that upcoming launch will ‘make or break’ the tech firm
- Apple’s smartphone market share is the lowest its been for three years
- Main rival Samsung was crowned most profitable mobile company in July
- Rumours about Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5S have dubbed it ‘boring’
- Experts claim the new devices will make or break the tech firm’s future
On the eve of what’s set to be Apple’s biggest event of the year – in which it is expected to launch two new handsets as well as announce further details about the availability of its iOS 7 software – experts are already making doomsaying predictions about the company’s future.
After losing a significant chunk of smartphone marketshare to main rival Samsung earlier this year, months of what’s been described as ‘lacklustre’ iPhone 5 sales and negative reactions to the beta release of iOS 7, experts believe tomorrow’s event will be ‘make or break’ for the Cupertino-based firm.
Scott Stein, senior mobile editor at CNET is even claiming that, based on what is rumoured to be announced, tomorrow’s event could be the ‘most boring yet’ and leave some customers ‘disappointed.’
Jason Jenkins, editor of CNET UK told MailOnline: ‘Tuesday is a big day for Apple. People are increasingly choosing rival smartphones that have larger screens, are more powerful and are cheaper.
‘Apple seems happy with that, as it makes more money per phone than its rivals: it doesn’t need to sell more mobiles than everyone else to win the smart phone war.
‘To get round this, Apple has relied until now on announcing a new model and simply making the previous year’s cheaper.
‘But at some point that strategy isn’t going to work so well, and it’s going to have to release a model that’s specifically designed to tempt budget buyers.’
Jenkins continued that Apple appears to be taking its lead from rivals including Samsung, but also Sony and Nokia, with the rumoured plans for colourful phones and better cameras, and this could be an attempt to try and take back some of the marketshare it recently lost.
Following the iOS 7 launch in June, tech experts accused Apple’s new software of being designed more for its critics than its army of loyal fans.
The bold redesign, which scraps Apple’s iconic style in favour of a more generic Android look, was called ‘almost unrecognisable’ by Jan Dawson, analyst at IT research firm Ovum, and will ‘disorientate’ customers in a bid to prove the company can still innovate.
Others hailed the redesign as being a step too far with Paddy Smith, online editor at Stuff.tv adding he hoped the ‘the biggest update to iOS since iPhone won’t also prove to be its most controversial.’
Jenkins continued: ‘Whatever the new hardware looks like, the new software will make it feel very different to what you buy today.
‘In fact, there is a danger existing owners may hate the new look: it’s a very big change, and I’m not sure people that buy iPhones are the same people that enjoy learning completely new menu systems.’
Johnny Evans from Computerworld said that recently, Apple had cut ‘the cord between the company and consumers’ because of months of what he calls ‘relative inactivity’.
For example, Samsung has boosted sales and maintained interest in the brand by bringing out a new phone or product ever couple of months.
In the year since Apple released its iPhone 5, Samsung has released or announced 16 new models in its Galaxy range as well as becoming among the first companies to launch a smartwatch with its Galaxy Gear unveiled at last week’s IFA conference in Berlin.
Evans also notes the overreaching success of the Android operating system coupled with a decline in sales of Apple Macs (along with PCs), could damage the firm.
‘Apple’s mobile devices can no longer claim to be the most widely used for accessing the web. Mac sales are in decline. The decision to slow new product introductions this year is impacting company performance.
‘This leads me to presume Apple’s Fall will be a make or break point for the company.
‘Any new product launches will rightly be seen as essential to the company’s future success.
‘These new devices must ignite the market, or Apple’s fall will truly begin.’
Gary Sims from Android Authority agreed: ‘To boost its sales in the mid-range smartphone market, Apple is betting on a cheaper iPhone, which costs less to manufacture and so can be sold for less or even given away for free with new contracts.
‘Apple is behind the game in terms of specifications, features, performance and functionality. To stay on top of the game the new iPhones need to be something special.’
Despite these predictions, a report last month found that a fifth of Android users are ditching their devices in favour of Apple’s iPhone.
The Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIPR) survey found that people with Apple devices are younger, richer and have more masters degrees or doctorates compared to people who own Samsung phones.
Figures also showed that Apple took 33 per cent more customers away from Samsung during the period of June 2012 to June 2013 than Samsung took from Apple.
The report’s conclusion also surmised that the pure number of Samsung releases may be the reason for the firm’s success, and could account for the rise in Android devices, but not that the firm is more popular as a brand than Apple.
The falling Apple sales may also be what’s classed by economists as a ‘natural decline’ as customers put off buying an iPhone 5 in anticipation of the upcoming releases.
Apple is still the number one phone retailer in America and, according to recent figures from uSwitch, the iPhone is still the UK’s favourite mobile phone.
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 has so far failed to emulate the S3’s resounding success although the Samsung Galaxy range still dominates with five handsets in the top ten, compared to Apple’s three.
Similarly, American Customer Satisfaction Index figures surveyed 44,168 people about their handset and the iPhone was rated the best smartphone.
The participants said that the iPhone rarely failed, with only 17 per cent complaining about technical issues with their Apple phone.
This is compared to 31 per cent who reported issues with Samsung phones ranging from battery charging problems to screen quality issues.
New Kantar research also found that iOS market share in Europe is up 3.1 per cent year on year, compared to Android growth of 2.9 per cent.
The UK saw iOS market share increase by 7.8 per cent year on year, whilst Android saw a decline of 3.8 per cent in a quarter when several flagship Android devices launched including Samsung Galaxy S4.
Apple’s unique selling point with its new devices could be the rumoured fingerprint scanner, which could be a costly move.
The chief information security officer from online payment service, PayPal, predicted in May that the end of passwords was nigh and that he forsees a mixture of online passwords with hardware-based identification such as fingerprint scanning becoming more common.
Barrett said at the time that he thinks the technology won’t become popular until large companies, such as Apple, adopt it, but this could be a gamble that doesn’t pay off if consumers aren’t ready.
Yet, David Webber, managing director of Intelligent Environments isn’t concerned about this and told MailOnline: ‘Apple’s new iPhone fingerprint scanner is set to trigger a huge upswing in the number of Brits accessing their bank accounts via a mobile phone.
According to our research, two fifths (40 per cent) of UK consumers would be more likely to access their bank accounts via a smartphone if it had a built-in fingerprint scanner, that’s equivalent to over 18.4 million UK consumers.
‘This development will trigger a biometric banking revolution, which spells the death of the password as we know it.
‘The new iPhone will do for passwords what iTunes did for CDs. It won’t be long before the majority of mobile devices incorporate biometric authentication and with banks keen to ensure the highest levels of security for their customers, it will be interesting to see which bank will be the first to integrate it into its mobile banking apps.