Thursday, January 17, 2013

Apple does not need an iPhone mini, it needs magic.

How much are we will to pay for devices? I remember when I bought laptop. The cheapest laptop you could find would set you back about Php90,000. That was the price of portability over a decade ago. Back than, we were talking north of five pounds and two hours of battery life. 

But prices started to drop. Three years ago, I would have been willing to spend Php70,000 to get something with a longer battery life and less weight. Today I could spend less than Php30,000 and meet approximate what would have cost me more than twice that much just a short three years ago. That is one steep drop.

While Intel cranks out faster chips for more powerful hardware, they have gotten to the point that they far exceed most peoples requirements. Thin and light is no longer such a premium item too. So from 90K, to 70K and a quick drop down to 30K. I think I am not the only person who feels that a laptop is something that we would not to spend to much on. 

On other devices, the trend is the same. Just a few weeks ago, I got a SLT (a new twist on the DSLR), for twenty percent less than what a ProSumer camera cost me six years ago. A massive upgrade in specifications, for less money.  

With smartphones, the trend has been different. I was pretty happy with whatever phone my carrier gave me. If I did not like the phones available, I would gave my handset to my wife, and got myself something I did like. If it had a physical QWERTY keyboard, it was good enough. Still, I never spent more than Php14,000 on a smartphone. With the advent of the iPhone and Android, things changed. In early 2011, I gave my carrier issued device to my wife, and got myself a new shiny Android phone for Php26,000. In a few months when my carrier issues me a new device, if it is not the one I like I can still see myself picking up something in about the same price range, though a lot of the options at less than 20K look interesting, and really, the phones priced at less than Php10,000 fit my needs. Smartphones are still the new cool "status symbol" thing to have, hence I think many of us are willing to spend more than we have to, 

So what does all this have to do with Apple? Basically, when it comes to electronics, the trend seems to be, things get cheaper over time. Lower end models become more and more acceptable, so that we do need to spend more. But as prices go down, a larger market it reached, and what you cannot make up in term of large profit margins, you can try to approximate by selling in volume.   

Bucking this trend is Apple. Still Apple is conceding little by little. MacBooks and iPods are cheaper than ever. 

Apple revenues, almost 70% come from iOS. The iPhone and the iPad.The iPhone really won't survive without carrier subsidies. The iPad which looked like a bargain when it came out in 2010, is looking more and more expensive with each passing year. 

This year, 2013 is a year I feel relevant innovation will stop on the mobile. More and more power will start to become superfluous, and is there really a need to go beyond 1080 x 1920 pixels on a smartphone and 2560 x 1600 on a tablet.  The smartphone and tablet will go the way of the laptop and the digital camera. And in every analyst mind, is how does Apple deal with this with its iPhone and iPad lines. The answer, the "mini". A "mini" would be a stop gap at best. Reviewers comment at how expensive the iPad mini is.

Apple really does not need a iPhone mini. It won't win a race to the bottom. What Apple needs is something new and innovative. The iPod was released in 2001, the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad in 2010. March marks the third year since the iPad release. Apple needs something new and innovative, in the next two or three years, and I am not talking about a better iPhone or iPad. It needs something "magical" if it is to continue its incredible run.

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