Apple Changes Strategy to Combat Android Onslaught

by Matt Klassen on February 15, 2011

I never thought I would say this, but if the rumours are to be believed, it looks like Apple is changing. A model of metronome-like consistency, Apple has always prided itself on producing a finite number of popular high end devices, developing smartphones, tablets, and mobile music devices that dominate their respective markets.

It was a trailblazer in the emergence of the smartphone market, and has never, in my memory at least, made any sort of kneejerk decisions in response to challenges from its foremost competitors…that is, until now.

Seeking to produce a device that appeals to the common mobile user, as opposed to the elite of the mobile world that currently uses Apple devices I suppose, speculative reports from Bloomberg indicate that Apple is currently working on a smaller, cheaper version of the iPhone, a sort of everyman device whose wider appeal will hopefully attract more users from around the world.

But with Apple building an empire on its steadfast dedication to its premiere smartphone, will such technological pandering help or hinder Apple in the years to come?

Clearly worried about the onslaught of Android throughout the mobile world, Apple is said to be looking at various ways of counteracting the spreading plague of the little green robots. One such way, insiders say, is by producing a more compact and more affordable version of the iPhone, one that could conceivably sell in the poorer markets in the 2/3s world. To that end, Apple is also said to be designing the next iterations of the iPhone to be compatible with various types of wireless networks.

Faced with the reality of Google’s meteoric rise in the global smartphone market, with Android’s market share more than tripling to 32.9 percent in Q4 of 2010, and the news that Nokia is teaming up with Microsoft to produce a worthy competitor in the mobile market, perhaps it is time for Apple to shake things up a bit, bring some new ideas and new products into its rock-steady line-up, or perhaps this sort of response is a sign of weakness, a concession that its world class iPhone simply doesn’t cut it pitted against the plethora of Android phones flooding the market.

But even though it may be a good idea to diversify its portfolio in an attempt to grab some of the low-end global mobile market, in my mind there’s even more to be said about sticking with what you know. Apple makes high end devices; it makes them well, and markets them even better.

In the end, the question becomes, does Apple know enough about the low end market to be able to garner wide appeal? Does it know enough about the mobile needs of countries like China and India and other emerging markets to know what sort of low end phones consumers want? The fact is, if Apple hasn’t done its homework, this new cheaper iPhone project may be a colossal failure.

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