Every year, we see Apple introduce a new model (two lately) of the iconic iPhone and every year, it goes on to break last year’s sales records. Apple ships more smartphones in a quarter than what Microsoft manages in the entire year. While other companies have also taken cue and brought fresh versions of their hero phones to the market year on year, no one has been able to replicate Apple’s success, not even Samsung. Perhaps, it’s got to do with a simple strategy that Apple has continued using over the years and it’s rivals simply cannot afford.
Apple’s iPhone is never known for its cutting edge technology. It’s phones are sufficiently packed, however, they are by no means trend setters (when it comes to technology at least, let’s leave the design aspect aside). Granted, Apple has been the first for making things like fingerprint scanner on smartphones mainstream, it’s still usually stayed away from adopting breakthroughs in existing technologies. We’re talking about things like screen resolution, camera resolution and screen size. You might argue that an iPhone has adequate of these, but you would be plainly lying to yourself if you fail to admit that Android competitors have always been a step ahead in these areas.
But maybe the reason why Apple brings these updates in subsequent models instead of packing all the best in one iPhone is that it want to give users a big reason to update every year. Consider this. Apple could have easily increased the screen size on the iPhone 5s. Instead, it chose to wait another year before users could get their hands on a bigger size smartphone. This way, it made even users of the iPhone 5s to consider getting the iPhone 6, since a bigger screen size is what Apple fans had been demanding for so long. And while the iPhone 6 has a bigger display, it still sports an 8 megapixel camera similar to the iPhone 5s. If rumors are true, imagine the euphoria when the USP of the new iPhone 6s (or whatever Apple decides to name it) turns out to be its 12 megapixel camera that delivers much better photos than the last year’s model. Oh, and maybe the next year, they could slightly increase the screen size along with bumping up the screen resolution to keep the same level of excitement alive. Of course, then there’s the fact that Apple doesn’t believe in absolute numbers but in delivering the best experience, but they usually come around this philosophy to keep up with the market trend.
Unlike the Android crowd, Apple users aren’t much interested in the innards of the phone as long as their iPhone runs smoothly, which the company ensures by improving the processor and the GPU inside the phone every year. On the other hand, companies like Samsung give everything into their existing models, if only to make them look better than the iPhone and other Android devices out there. The result is that each year, the new hero phone isn’t that much of an upgrade over last year’s phone, giving users very little reason to switch from their current phone which does almost everything that the new model does. If you can’t relate, let us help by citing a few examples. The jump from Galaxy S4 to Galaxy S5, HTC One series, and Sony’s flagship phones have all been uninspiring updates. Even the Apple iPad suffers from the same problem (since the old ones seem to do their job just fine) and this has partly resulted in declining year on year sales.
However, unlike Apple, which seems to be in a game of its own, Android manufacturers have little to no choice in this regard, since there’s always someone ready to take the top spot. The best they can do is make sure they have some new trick in their bags, which although will get copied in a few months post launch, but will give them that slight advantage nonetheless.