Ovum looks beyond the over-the-top hype, applause and fawning admiration of the Apple fan club that we witnessed at the San Francisco launch event last Wednesday, boldly declaring the bright shining apple is gradually losing its competitive edge.
Apple’s competitive edge is “dangerously fading away” – “the innovation gap with its key competitors is closing to the point where Apple needs to follow rather than lead,” trumpets Ovum.
And, just to reinforce his point that Apple doesn’t have the innovation mantle on its own – ‘following rather than leading’ in the innovation race - Ovum senior analyst Ronan De Renesse lists the areas where Apple is seemingly running behind its competitors:
• The iPad Pro features a stylus and an attachable keyboard which Samsung and Microsoft have been offering with their tablets for several years
• The new Apple TV features voice-controlled search and a large app library which can already be seen today on Android TV products like Nvidia’s Shield
• Many of the iPhone 6S camera technology and features have already been implemented by Nokia, HTC, and Sony.
De Renesse dishes out what seems like nothing more than a backhanded complement, saying, “But Apple excels in the execution of those new consumer technologies in order to provide the best consumer experience on the market and the iPad Pro and the new Apple TV deliver this.”
De Renesse does say, however, that the iPad Pro will be particularly successful among professional Apple MacBook users, and, “the higher price point compared with other iPads should help regrow iPad revenues which declined 23% between 2Q14 and 2Q15.”
And, he adds, “With the iPhone 6S, Apple completes the best smartphone product range in the industry, addressing almost all price segments.”
“The iPhone is Apple’s largest and most profitable product segment (63.2% of revenues in Q2 2015) and also the one experiencing the strongest competition.”
This is what De Renesse also says about the iPhones:
• The iPhone 6s matches the competition in terms of features and innovation but does not exceed it. The new 3D Touch user interface could make a difference but it will take time to catch on with consumers and developers. This is an entirely new way to interact with devices that people are unfamiliar with
• The iPhone 5s, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus makes the strongest smartphone product range Apple has ever had, addressing almost all customer segments and price points. This will maximize iPhone sales across the world and guarantee its leading smartphone brand position
• New pricing for the iPhone 5s, 6, and 6 Plus will help boost sales in the Asia Pacific region. Since the beginning of 2015, Apple makes more revenues from Greater China than it does from Europe. However, the rest of Asia Pacific, including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, generated less than 6% of its revenues in 2Q15. Apple must gain stronger market share in those new growth markets.
On the outlook going forward, Ovum says it expects Apple handset sales to grow 12.3% over the remainder of 2015, to reach 216 million unit sales by year’s end, with nearly two-thirds of that growth coming from the Asia Pacific region.
“How Apple positions the iPhone range in that region, especially outside of China and India, will be key,”De Renesse concludes.