Don’t Count iPhone Out Just Yet

The Internet is full of “Predictors of Doom”


I don’t know why, but ever since the release of the iPhone 4s, and the untimely death of Steve Jobs a day later, a large number of bloggers and even legit journalists have whined about how disappointing the 4s was, how the competition is nipping at their heals, how Samsung has really taken over, and how iPhone is fading as the premier smartphone to own.

Let’s start by taking a look at the numbers.  Apple sold 61 million iPhones in the first two quarters of 2012, while Samsung shipped about 10 million Galaxy S phones.  Sure, if you total all smarthphones Samsung moved, the number is much larger, but you cannot compare Gravity Smarts, Darts, and other far lesser phones to the iPhone.  The only competitive handset is the Galaxy S series phones, and Apple is still far dominating the market.

Next, you have the “dip in sales”.  Sure, it’s getting into the last 8 to 10 weeks before a new iPhone is going to be released, the iPhone crowd knows it, and it’s no secret sales dip for Apple when a new cycle is about to begin.  On top of that, Samsung (smartly) released the Galaxy S III a few months ahead so that about the time a new iPhone was going to be released, they hoped they could dip into Apple’s sales with a new Galaxy S phone out there trying to “hit Apple when they’re (predictably) down”.  Apple’s so called “weak” second quarter was only about 2.3 percent down over last year, so it’s hardly an indication that Apple is on it’s way out.

Also, when the iPhone 4 was released, it was predicted that sales would be flat for Apple because of the two year contract vs a one year product cycle, yet that proved to be false.  The iPhone 4s has done enormously well, and it’s the most common iPhone I see when I’m out and about (and yes, I ask if it’s a 4 or a 4s).  Therefore, with last year being the “off year” (supposedly) because of the number of iPhone 4 contracts signed, you’d think this year would be touted as the “on year”, yet, you read the same story as last year stating the overly popular iPhone 4s has so many people on contracts that sales this year will be flat.  Can’t have it both ways… all the iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3Gs, and iPhone 4 owners out there are off contract, and when the new iPhone is released, there will be plenty of off contract iPhone owners out there ready to snap up this years offering.  Apple’s unreal sales jump by double digits every year, so every year there’s a larger number of off contract owners out there ready to upgrade.  Also, there are complaints about the 4s being “just an update” to an expected (why expected) so called “iPhone 5”.  That didn’t seem to stop the 4s from selling well.  Even this year everyone is expecting an iPhone “5”.  The iPhone 4s is the iPhone 5.  Whatever Apple decides to call this year’s model, it’ll be the 6th iteration, so don’t expect it to be called iPhone 5, although many will call it that regardless of what it’s called (presumably because they can’t count), but honestly, because “iPhone 5” has been tossed around so much, some people will only identify the next model as “iPhone 5”.

When it comes to naming the next generation, word has it it’s simply going to be iPhone, and Apple is going to abandon numbering altogether.  I think they’re logic is they want to round over the name and loose the harshness a numeral brings to a product name.  Ford Motor company has sold the Focus for 15 years, but if you go into a showroom, a 2012 model doesn’t say Focus 15.  iPhones (imho) will simply become “iPhones” (just as the iPad 3 is simply “iPad”).  Band-Aid, Kleenex, iPhone… get it?  We’ll see.

What’s ahead?  Well, look again at the numbers…. every major manufacturer sans Apple have relatively flat preorders for the next cycle.  Either the same or slightly up or down.  Meanwhile, Apple preorders are double digit at 15.1 percent over last year, which tells me, Apple is gearing up for a slaughter.  The question is, who’s right?  All the naysayers out there who’s job appears to be to continually predict the downfall of iPhone, or me, a fanboy who tries to look at the situation with as unbiased an eye as I (as an iPhone owner and fan) can muster.

If we’re takin’ bets… my money’s on Apple to carve an even bigger, more unbelievable path than last year.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned in recent years… don’t bet against Apple or SpaceX, they both have to deal with the world predicting their demise, yet the both continue to raise the bar, look back, and say ok, what’s the next so called “impossible goal” we have before us now, and confound the “predictors of doom”