Who makes the best smartphones? Arguably, it’s Apple because the company does not design, manufacture, and sell cheap plastic smartphones, but instead prefers to occupy the premium end of the smartphone spectrum.
Other smartphone manufacturers may have better hardware specifications, but few perform as well as an iPhone. Take the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 which has what may be the best screen available on a smartphone, a device which bristles with high end components, yet still doesn’t run as well as an iPhone from last year.
If Apple’s iPhone is best of breed, and the ecosystem is the one that people flock to and seldom leave, then where are all the Android switchers? I ask, because, well, there are many times more Android smartphone owners than iPhone owners, and yet iPhone sales are going down, not up.
In the U.S. alone there are nearly 200-million smartphone users with slightly more than half using Android, and slightly more than 40-percent using iPhones. The rest, ostensibly, are suffering with BlackBerry or Windows Phone. A company called Fluent did some research and determined that about 1.5-million iPhone users will switch to Android this year, while around 4-million Android device owners will switch to an iPhone.
That’s good news for Apple, right? More switchers coming, fewer switchers going. That’s pretty much the way it’s always been, right?
Not so fast. If it’s always been that way then where are all the Android switchers to iPhones? Why are iPhone sales in decline while Android sales are going up?
Jonny Evans slices and dices some of the data but concluded what most of us think. There’s less and less that differentiates Apple’s iconic iPhone from a well equipped Android smartphone.
There has been a lot of criticism thrown at Apple – not least for maintaining the same basic design to its iPhone range. Some of these criticisms stick, and making its devices seem significantly different to imitative competitors is proving a challenge.
It isn’t that there are not substantial differences between iPhone and premium Android devices, it’s that the perception negates the differences. For example, iPhones have a reputation for being more secure, iPhone apps are of better quality than comparable Android apps, iPhones have greater resale value than Android devices, iPhones perform better than most Android devices.
You get the picture, right?
Where are all the Android switchers?
They’ve switched already, and the current churn rate is almost insignificant. The iPhone does not appear to have as much differentiation as it did a few years ago. Is that true? Yes. And no. Apple struggles to differentiate iPhone from Android competitors because it refuses to play the features game or the specifications game. Apple is all about usability, and that’s more subjective than price, CPU cores, screen resolution, or price. Did I mention price? Even Apple’s vaunted ecosystem– more secure and usable than anything Android from Google– suffers from the same infliction.
Apple can’t tell a good story of differentiation anymore.