Apple pivots into a fashion company, in the likes of Louis Vuitton, with the launch of iPhone X today. It costs $999, heavy on fashion elements, but hardly moves the technology trajectory. But that does not matter, because it is Apple. The world will cover it for free, and Apple will enjoy a great earned media. From CNN to NBC to Nigeria’s AIT, the message will be the same: there is a new product from Apple.
“We have great respect for these words and don’t use them lightly,” said Cook, adding the new phone would set the path for technology for the next decade.
The new iPhone X kills the home button to make space for a larger screen. It has an edge-to-edge display, glass on the front and back, wireless charging so you can leave wires at home, a surgical grade stainless steel band around the edges. It’s water and dust resistant.
The 5.8-inch OLED display isn’t just bigger, it also packs 458 pixels per inch. Apple calls it a Super Retina Display. It supports HDR, has a million-to-one contrast ration and improved color accuracy. …
The company also introduced a Face ID-enabled feature called Animoji, which serves up animated emoji that mimic your facial expressions. For example, you’ll be able to give your friends side-eye as a unicorn.
Apple deserves its moments. But when a phone costs $999, it is simply not a phone anyone. That is a paycheck to many people. Also, that will not matter because Apple has a strategy to deal with this pricing as I noted in a piece this morning.
In the coming months, we will all know how it works out for Apple. But no matter how you see this, Apple has entered a territory that may be the inflection point. This will either lead it to a more glorious future or could begin to open the opportunities for rivals, especially Huawei, to peel its fans (yes, the customers).
Fans pay for tickets and those tickets are never free. If you like a team and cannot pay to watch it, you are not a true fan. Apple fans will now have to pay $999 to become true believers. How many can go this path? We do not know. Apple has a record of making analysts look silly as it delivers great results. But this one may be different.
The Data Challenge
Apple needs data to compete against Amazon/Google in the new data war. When its phone is expensive, that is not a fine strategy to get that data. A premium product, differentiated by hardware and exclusively packaged by a proprietary software, is never going to be for the mass market. Is there a limit to this strategy? Apple will have to deal with these issues with this rising price:
- Data is Critical. Right now, Apple is not collecting any data from the “poor world” for iOS, its operating system. The rich people will not be enough for the AI-first world. It needs all the data to help it make better products. A cheaper phone will help Appple
- Car infotainment: In the next few years, many car companies will begin the adoption of mobile OS like Android and iOS at scale, as they bridge the gap between mobile and car. Since cars are sold in the emerging world, familiarity with OS will be a huge factor in adoption. Apple needs to ensure it has a cheap phone that will help introduce these citizens to the iOS
- Emerging World is huge: Apple does not have any major strategy to win places like Africa. That is a big mistake because these areas will grow over time. Apple cannot just forget them. It needs a strategy to have them in its ecosystem.
- Other Products/OS: Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa can possibly become the voice operating system of this era. You will like it to be in your ecosystem. The more the users, the better. If Apple remains the phone of the rich, developers may not just take it the way they will take Android which remains available for both the rich and poor with its wide range of devices, at different pricing points. So, it makes sense for Apple to expand the customer base.
I do think in coming months, Apple will return to the podium. It will introduce a cheaper phone for the emerging markets. This fashionista moment will come home.
Introduce a phone brand called Apple and make the price $350. Make the design of Apple (the phone brand) to be radically different so that you do not cannibalize the premium iPhone. By having these two brands, Apple can compete in both the upper and lower segments of the markets. We will have Apples in Nigeria while they will sell their iPhones in New York. This is similar to Toyota selling Lexus and Honda selling Acura.
Check out this iPhone manager to transfer photos, videos, songs, contacts, etc. from your old iPhone to iPhone X.