Dubai: Apple’s two new iPhones may have not set the markets on fire, but they represent a major strategy revamp, experts said.
“This will be first time where Apple has provided a low-end phone aimed specifically at the mass market,” said Niranjan Gidwani, Deputy CEO, Eros Group. “Given the possible low price benchmark the market will have to see how the consumer responds,” he added.
He said it was too early to assess when and at what price the 5C would be launched in this market. “Most likely the device would cost around Dh1200- 1400, which would also be a new benchmark pricing for IPhone,” he said “In case of Apple products, our experience is that the grey goods come much before the official launch,” he added.
Apple on Tuesday split its flagship product between a premium and affordable version – iPhone 5S and 5C.
The latest launch by the Cupertino major lacked the hype of previous launches, but industry watchers say it was solely because most of what was unveiled was within the ambit of rumours and along expected lines – nothing spectacular, nothing magical, nothing wow. “The new phones do not seem to introduce anything significant. Earlier Apple launches had a mystery and hype surrounding it. But you cannot say that Apple is losing it as much as others such as Samsung are racing ahead,” said Gidwani.
And while the two phones may not make one go wow at first sight, the magic is actually under the hood, especially when it comes to the 5S, said Ashish Panjabi, COO of Jacky’s Electronics
“Most of the big changes are under the hood, whether it be the new A7 processor or the M7 motion co-processor. Together these make the phone quicker, power efficient, offer better graphics and allow for more to be done using motion sensors that are already built into the phone,” he said.
“App developers ultimately are the ones who will take advantage of these under the hood features and it is only when most of these Apps hit the iTunes Store that users realize the potential of the iPhone 5S. For most people that are using an iPhone 4S, this is a major jump but for those with an iPhone 5, many of them may decide to wait it out,” he said.
The aluminum-clad 5S (silver, space gray and gold) is the world’s first 64-bit mobile phone (Priced at $199 (16-GB) with contract in the US) making it twice as fast as previous-generation system and twice the graphics performance as well. “The most apparent difference is the fingerprint sensor that adds extra-security,” said Panjabi.
The battery life is also better (10 hours of 10 hours of 3G talk time, 10 hours of LTE browsing), while the M7 co-processor takes a load off the battery, with support for apps such as the gyroscope, accelerometer that rely on the motion sensors in the phone.
The mid-range iPhone 5C (priced $99 with contract in the US) will have an 8MP camera and a larger battery than the iPhone 5 and comes in bright Nokia Lumia-esque colours - green, strawberry pink, sky blue, lemon yellow, white and black, with a 4” display and A6 processor (same as iPhone 5).
“The iPhone 5C appeals to the youth segment,” said Panjabi.
“In the case of the UAE, this is quite sizable given the demographic profiles here. The only other manufacturer who played with so many colours has been Nokia but their success is limited by the Windows Phone 8 ecosystem. If the same student who found the design of the colourful Nokia Lumia series attractive but didn’t want to commit to Windows Phone, they may be swayed by the iPhone 5C which offers the functionality of iOS with the new colour schemes.”
The UAE is keenly awaiting the launch of these phones, but its interesting to see if Apple introduces both phones simultaneously or in a staggered manner. “We anticipate the phones should launch here in November or December based on Apple’s track record,” said Panjabi. ”Apple said the phone would be in 100 countries by year-end so we assume the UAE is part of those 100. Unofficially, however, it may be in the grey market at the end of this month.”
Apple's market share slides
According to Gartner, Samsung’s market share grew to 31.7 per cent the second quarter of 2013 compared to 29.7 per cent in the corresponding quarter of the previous year, while Apple’s share slipped more than 4% to 14.2 per cent (18.8% in corresponding quarter last year). Interestingly, LG Electronics and Chinese companies Lenovo and ZTE posted gains, taking 5.1 percent, 4.7 percent, and 4.3 percent, respectively.
Among operating systems Google's Android holds a commanding 79 percent market share among smartphones sold during the second quarter of this year (March to June), followed by 14.2 percent for iOS, 3.3 percent for Microsoft's Windows Phone, and 2.7 percent for BlackBerry OS.