Is the iPhone on the way out?
Apple have sold over one billion iPhones since 2007, the year when the insanely popular device came out. Today, almost everyone has an iPhone, from teenagers and adults to pensioners. However, recently sales for the iPhone have begun declining – in the second fiscal quarter of 2016, ten million fewer iPhones had been sold than the same time the year before. It is clear that people are in fact getting rival phones, such as those made by Samsung. When looking at the history of market share, this becomes blatantly obvious. In the first quarter of 2015, Apple shipped 17.9% of all smartphones. However, in the first quarter of 2016, Apple only shipped 14.8% – a huge fall by market standards of over 17%.
So it is clear that the iPhone is going into decline, but is it possible for it to regain its previous massive popularity? For this to happen, I believe it is necessary for Apple to develop its line of budget phones, and perhaps increase its product range in this category. Budget phones are clearly the way forward, especially with younger people (who tend to have saved less money than older people) requiring a phone that doesn’t put such a great strain on their wallet. In fact, the iPhone SE (Apple’s budget model, coming in at around £350) was Apple’s best-selling model in the UK, and sold fairly well elsewhere too. If Apple decides to dedicate more of its focus onto dominating the budget phone market, which is expected to boom in the next few years, the company would very likely once again become the leading smartphone production company. Apple needs to accommodate everybody and all budgets with their phones from now on if they want to go back to the success levels of their glory days.
Sadly for Apple, its problems don’t end there. Apple is also facing more competition than ever on the premium phones market as well. For example, a survey by ‘Trusted Reviews’, which had almost 50,000 entries at the time of writing, asked users whether they would purchase an iPhone 6s or a Samsung Galaxy S7. There were no alternative phones to pick from. 62% chose the Samsung, while a mere 38% went for the Apple. Other companies are also beginning to share the opinion that Samsung have outdone Apple. In Techradar’s smartphone ranking, the top two spots are both given to Samsung Galaxy S7 products (Samsung has released two models, the S7 and the S7 Edge). The article unequivocally states that “the best smartphone right now is the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge”.
Apple has a huge customer base, but it is getting smaller every day. If this keeps on happening, Apple may one day simply become a minor smartphone producer, and from there, things could go even more downhill (the company is already experiencing disappointing iPad sales). But Apple has not totally lost this fight yet. If the company sees sense, which it looks like it is doing (e.g. with the release of the SE), it can come back to once again rule over the smartphone market. With careful planning and focus, Apple can certainly beat the other smartphone producers and retake its place as the best smartphone company.