Over the years, since the first iPhone launch, we saw how Apple products dominated the market but, recent trends show a different story. With Android devices filling up the “gap” between what was unique to iPhone, the novelty factor seems to have weakened for Apple products and hence the aspiration to own one is declining. The other major factor is – the price! Consumers are thinking about saving money during the current pandemic situation and ignoring the brand appeal for functionality which they can get from an Android device which is 1/3rd of the price of an iPhone.
Apple products will need a complete revamp in their design and features. Mostly the phones and the tablets in the market currently by Apple haven’t changed much in looks-only the screen sizes differ. The numerical series 7,8,9,10,11 is not creating the excitement it should have been and the consumer tendency is that they will buy an iPhone which is 2-3 series old when it’s price will be reduced because of the launch of new series. That’s not a good sign for a consumer product!
A decade ago, the iPhone completely changed the way smartphones worked. It is the same time now to create a new product which will have the “wow” factor. Basically, Apple does not need to reinvent the wheel. They need to look at their own legacy and introduce iPhone 4S style design again which made an excellent use of glass and metal for the device body.
It can be labelled as for example iPhone 13 “Legacy” version which reminds people of the iPhone design they loved the most. Such ideas will help gain the position back where consumers will want to own an iPhone. Hoping that Apple will act on this quickly before it is too late. We have seen in the past – how once strong brands have disappeared from the market as there was a lack of product differentiation.
In my opinion, we have not yet utilised the full potential of smartphones. We are using them mostly as replacement for a TV & radio, basic phone, a computer to an extent and a gaming console.
The kind of utility a smartphone can have will push for more market opening up for this segment, driving more sales numbers. There is a demographic which is still not ready to switch from feature phones to smartphones saying they find it not doing much except listening to songs and watching videos or playing games.
Apple can utilize this market gap to add features and make smartphones really “smart”.
One such feature for example is “auto mobile data off” while driving.
To elaborate–when a driver is driving a vehicle, smartphones can sense that with the help of cameras and know that the person is on a steering wheel. In such cases, using inbuilt sensors to gauge car speed – mobile data should be turned off automatically once the car speed exceeds 20 kmph. It will greatly limit the distraction of the driver because of the notifications received on the phone.
We all know about the fatalities due to car accidents as the driver was distracted due to the phone. With this feature such accidents can be reduced.
In fact, it should be mandatory for all drivers to have this feature installed before they start driving their vehicle. Many precious lives can be saved with this.
Coming back to the hardware innovation, Apple products which cost upwards of Rs. 50,000/- should include an Apple pencil as a package which will greatly increase customer experience of using the product and that missing wow factor.
Apple phones’ chipset is what does the magic despite of having lesser RAM size compared to its contemporary Android counterparts. But it needs to increase the product innovation quotient (IQ).
There is also an opportunity in foldable devices – as mobile device screens are getting bigger, there is an inconvenience to hold the phone and then type. The form factor is not really “handy” – literally! So, foldable phones will be the future where we can use a vertical fold layout and when it is opened – the screen can be laid out horizontally. Something to patent?
I visited an Apple reseller in my city recently and all iPhones, iPads and MacBooks looked the same – what differentiated them was the price tag next to them with prices mostly over Rs. 50K, the design language needs to be re-engineered to identify a phone with its looks. Imagine a car manufacturer producing cars which look the same and just names them differently with Engine CC number – it is the way which with Apple designs phones currently. Apple need to win back the uniqueness for each model launched.
I am very sure that an innovative company like Apple will bring products into the market which will astonish us with its design and form factor – but that seems to be a distant future!
The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Tilak Chronicle and TTC Media Pvt Ltd.