Over the course of the last 3 weeks or so, really since the Apple earnings call, my Twitter and Google+ feed have been full of posts and articles on how the death of the iPhone, and by extension Apple, is near. They point to the ever increasing growth of Android across the globe, the poor showing of Apple in their last quarter, the lackluster iPhone SE (which I reviewed for Gear Diary) and the rumors of what may well be a lackluster iPhone 7. In a word, bollocks.
I’m an Android user. I love Android. I left iOS a couple of years ago for a reason. I didn’t like the ecosystem, I found iOS buggy and limiting and ultimately, after a breach of their 2-factor authentication that left my devices locked forever, I had enough. I have found a breath of fresh air in Android. I enjoy the flexibility it offers both as a platform and in devices and while it is far from perfect, it gives me the things that I wanted. But just because I’m an Android user doesn’t mean that I hate anything and everything iOS. I have always advocated that users find the tool that works best for them. If that is Android, great. If that is an iPhone, great. As long as it meets your needs, that’s ultimately the goal. It is not a zero-sum game.
But it seems that many in the Android community have already started preparing the grave and funeral preparations for the iPhone because of a few data points. Yes, sales of iPhone was down and Apple had their first loosing quarter in 13 years. Thirteen years folks. Not 13 weeks. The streak was going to end at some point. All streaks do. DiMaggio’s hitting streak ended. The Lakers of the ’71-72 season ended at 33 games. And the current F1 winning streak of Nico Rosberg will come to an end. It is just a matter of time. But even in a down quarter, Apple still managed to sell 51 million iPhones. 51,000,000.
Couple this with reports from Kantar that Android growth is the highest it has been in over 2 years in the EU5 (top five economies in Europe) and generally up across the globe, you get more fuel for the iPhone death fire. That report points out that Android is growing in popularity across all markets and not just in 2nd or 3rd world countries, but 1st world as well. In the EU5, market share gains by Android were over 7% while here in the US, it was up by 7.3%. Those are big changes and they were certainly aided, as the report points out, by the stellar sales of the Samsung Galaxy S7. What will be interesting however is how much, if any, Apple claws back in the next quarter when the new iPhone 7 is expected. Let’s be fair to Apple here: The iPhone SE was a stop-gap phone to satisfy those who wanted a smaller display (my wife being one of them) but wanted to stay in the Apple ecosystem. This phone, especially at its price point of $399, isn’t going to convert many to iOS. The iPhone 7 however, the next flagship, will and it will impact these percentages. Put down your torches folks. The funeral pyre isn’t quite ready to be lit.
My point in this post readers is not to get caught up in the hype. Yes Apple had a bad quarter and yes, the last few iPhone releases have not been as stellar as the first 4 or 5. It happens. But to suggest that they are on their way out is simply not a supportable position. The market may be correcting itself a bit and consumers may be frustrated with Apple’s walled garden. But guess what? There are those who leave Android because they don’t like it either. It is swings-and-roundabouts.