Funny, I just read an interesting article about the smartphone market. The author posited that the smartphone market was going “mass market” and that both Samsung and Apple were seeing their margins shrink a bit. The rumor is that “some” at Apple think the iPhone is priced “a bit too high.”
Of all the brands in the world today, few have done a better job of positioning itself as important in a branded sense. Apple devotees have had the zealot feel about the brand going all the way back to the first Mac in 1984. Being user of the brand meant you were more in the know, valued design and simplicity of function. You believed you were in the know and did indeed think different.
Apple innately seemed to understand that its brand belonged to the user and that it had a business obligation to reinforce the brand’s magnetism. Apple, as a manufacturer, proved to its devotees that its users were rewarded for this brand mantle with newest technologies, brand-anticipated innovation and clarity of technologies. Because of that, it was rewarded with higher prices, deeper margins and overwhelming demand. When did you see lines around the block as owners lined up in long quays the night before a Samsung launch?
So the brand responsibility for proof falls to Apple. It’s a shared belief in Appleness that drives users to feel special despite the popularity of the device. In a paradoxical way, it has been able to make the norm seem special. Part of that belief is reinforced by higher process. After all, we Apple lovers not only believe that we think different and that the brand delivers, we also believe you get what you pay for. Go ahead, lower the prices and watch how the brand loses some of its pluck.
The problem here is that, in a category that Apple invented (smartphones), it has not continued to press its first mover advantage and did not give its users the model upgrades and technical advancements that we believe is Apple’s responsibility. With the advent of the iPad and the iPad mini, Apple saw first hand that not only do we believe that you get what you pay for… some of us believe bigger is better. Yet, it has yet to release an iPhone model in a larger size.
Like everyone else, I would love to show off the screen size of my phone with the other passengers on the airplane. I guess you could say that for many Apple adherents. I have screen size envy.