Is Apple Losing Its Edge?

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As the new year begins, it’s always an illuminating exercise when you sit down and take a look at the market as it stands. Things have changed a lot in the mobile sector in the last couple of years. Apple has always appeared to be an innovator, establishing the trends to dominate the landscape for the next period, but can we still say that’s true?

Here we’ll take a look at the current marketplace, the year ahead, and how things might be changing.

iPhone 7: A cool reception?

Apple’s iPhone 7 launched on 7th September last year with a warm reception from consumers, though not one that set the world on fire from a sales perspective, with launch weekend sales 25% lower than when the iPhone 6s was released in 2015. With lower than usual chip orders flowing into chip suppliers (orders of between 35 and 37 million, according to sources close to Taiwanese publication DigiTimes), Apple shares dropped as much as 2.7%.

That said, the iPhone 7 was a strong innovator, with the most controversial change being the move to wireless headphones, and the removal of the headphone port. While this move was scorned by many, it enabled the handset to reduce its number of moving parts, increasing its physical stability, as well as its waterproofing capabilities.

It’s more than likely that this was a move that customers wanted, just without knowing it. Everybody wants their phone to be more robust, it’s just a question of whether people want to move to wireless buds. The next year’s top-end phone releases will likely provide the answer to that. There are strong rumours that Samsung are working on their own pair of wireless in-ear buds that use Harman audio technology following their $8 billion acquisition earlier in 2016.

2017 rumours

Where will Apple turn next? Some are predicting that the next move for the high-end phone market is to ditch “charge-by-cable” altogether. Instead, phones will charge wirelessly. The Galaxy S6 was capable of this way back, and the rumours are that LG’s G6 will feature wireless charging too.

Apple’s iPhone 8, which will likely be discussed at their annual spring event, will feature an entirely glass case, which enables better wireless charging. There are also claims from Energous that Apple has signed a deal with “one of the largest consumer electronic companies in the world”.

The phone will probably also feature some iteration of the company’s new Touch Bar technology that featured on the new MacBook Pros, as the organisation has a habit of using whatever technology it has across all of its products (retina display, multi-touch, Touch ID etc.).

So is Apple losing its innovative edge? It certainly doesn’t look like it from the above rumours. What’s actually happening is that the marketplace itself is becoming more saturated. Phone networks and customers now have more options than ever when it comes to what handsets they set. That’s why SIM-only sellers like Asda Mobile are seeing their business grow year-on-year; because there are more market participants doing more great stuff than ever before.

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  • melci

    Actually Shauna, if you listen to actual verified sources selling the devices rather than unverified sources or analysts making guesstimates, you discover that the iPhone 7 has actually been seeing blockbuster sales:

    “T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint (S) announced on Tuesday pre-orders for Apple’s new phone are up nearly four times from the previous two models, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S.

    Pre-sales, which began Friday, were the biggest in T-Mobile’s history, breaking records for both single-day orders and pre-sales placed in the first four days.

    Meanwhile, Sprint highlighted in a press release that pre-orders of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are up more than 375% in the first three pre-sale days, compared to the same period last year.”

    “AT&T Inc. was the last of the big four carriers to weigh in. The company is seeing iPhone 7 order volume that is above year-earlier levels, which is “better-than-expected,” Chief Financial Officer John Stephens said during an investor conference Wednesday.”

    So much for a “cool reception”…

  • It’s simple fact that Tim is NOT the leader that Steve was…he is more concerned with gay rights than continuing Apple’s cutting edge. In fact, due to him, Apple is shrinking their product offerings…when they could be dominating them…people have bought in to the Apple ecology and now Timmy rewards their allegiance by discontinuing Monitors, Routers and even keeping their current product line up to date! I wish Tim would take his huge pile of money and find a younger replacement who actually gives a damn!!!

  • melci

    Yeah, after all Steve never shrank Apple’s product lines by killing the Apple II, the Newton, the Quicktke camera, Apple Printers, the Xserve, the iPod Classic… oh wait…

    Actually Larry, I do agree with you that Apple has been taking too long updating the Mac Pro and other product lines, but I and evidently many others haven’t bought an expensive Apple monitor in years and I do not begrudge Apple’s social conscience towards renewable energy, the environment, contractor’s working conditions etc.

    For a mega-corporation like Apple to have developed a conscience is a good thing in my opinion and something that was lacking under Jobs.

  • Kary

    Just noticing now? The same article idea could have been written one, two or even three years ago.

  • Ann Oyed

    It is about time that Apple figures out how to make & market a touchscreen iMac. Windows is owning the game on this … Apple is falling behind the times.

  • Its reassuring to know from the information present in this article that the tech giant Apple is not losing its steam to stay ahead of its other rivals.

  • It is noteworthy to take into account the ambitous ventures of Iphone 7 in reducing the physical mass of the phone, while implementing the feature of water proofness and augmenting the phone’s stability, even though the venture was met with strong opposition.

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