Double digit decreases in sales across the board. That is what we learned during Apple’s last earnings statement. For the first time since the introduction of the iPhone, Apple saw decreases in sales, and it was no little thing. After that, Apple saw their valuation drop at Enron levels. We have seen Tim Cook make the rounds talking up China and India, just as we’ve watched Apple hit roadblock after roadblock in China and India. More importantly, we’ve seen mainstream media take a completely different tact with Apple than we’ve seen before. No longer is media looking at Apple as the golden child. No, it is quite the opposite now. I’ve watched as media outlets who had previously touted Apple and the iPhone as the penultimate in mobile tech, realizing that it is no such thing. Either making small jabs, or outright calling the products boring and behind the times, there is no denying Apple has lost the popularity with the media that it once had.
As all BlackBerry users can attest to, losing the support of the media is extremely damaging. Once the media starts telling the public that a product is outdated, old & dying, the public begins to believe it. At one point, the BlackBerry was seen as the pinnacle of productivity, and it was. A tool used by successful businessman, which the rest of us wanted. Once the arcade style iPhone and Android slabs hit the market, and media discovered a love of apps, they quickly shoved BlackBerry aside, and we BlackBerry users watched as our beloved phones went from being a status symbol, to a symbol of old tech. It’s an undeserved reputation which still plagues the brand today, regardless of the vastly superior operating system that is BB10. It’s also a reputation which Apple is currently gaining.
There is a big difference between BlackBerry devices and the iPhone. There’s is no denying that BlackBerry fell behind the times with BBOS. However, even while falling behind, BlackBerry still offered those of us that stuck with the brand services which the other platforms did not. Namely, unparalleled communication and organizational tools. With the introduction of BB10, BlackBerry updated it’s offerings with a completely modern, secure, and more importantly, fun, operating system. No longer were we BlackBerry users relegated to an operating system which couldn’t run those ever popular apps. Sadly, mobile politics kept some of the most popular apps from our platform, but as we all know, there’s ways around that. Apple on the other hand, has offered it’s users one thing. Popularity.
The iPhone’s popularity is something which should be studied. Apple’s marketing is without a doubt, Apple’s greatest offering. Apps were initially required to offer things to users which the operating system or browser did not. Apple managed to turn these workarounds into something that users believed they needed. An industry was born, and many products were developed that made many companies a lot of money. However, Apple wasn’t the only one that had apps. Android quickly caught up with Apple, offering the same apps, and more capabilities. Yet Apple maintained it’s popularity, while it followed the same path which BlackBerry traveled before first.
The old BlackBerry management was content with the product they had and allowed the competition to pass them by. Luckily, current management brought their devices up to date, and I would argue, more advanced than their competition. Apple, seeing what this apathy led to with BlackBerry, did not take the steps needed to ensure this did not happen to them. Instead, they decided to focus on popularity and allow their products to fall further and further behind. Their entire business strategy is based on users upgrading their devices every year. And they have stopped. They have stopped because Apple products and updates are no longer exciting. It’s hard to create excitement when the things you are introducing were introduced two to three years before on competing platforms.
Now, as most of media has grown tired of Apple and is no longer pushing the iPhone on their viewers, a few Apple stalwarts seem to be stepping up their game. Just this week, I’ve seen one especially far fetched story come through my news feed a few times. This story is that the iPhone SE is selling out due to incredible demand.
Let’s get real.
No one has been excited about the iPhone SE. Looking like a prior generation iPhone, with today’s lackluster specs, the iPhone was an answer to those users that said the iPhone 6 was too big. It was Apple making an offering to those users that didn’t upgrade to the iPhone 6 and simply stuck with their iPhone 5. Why would users that didn’t feel the need to upgrade from their iPhone 5 to the iPhone 6 wish to upgrade to a phone that looked exactly like their current phone? For the ability to edit short 4k videos on a 4 inch screen? I wouldn’t imagine so. We watched as the iPhone SE was announced. We watched the reaction of the media at the event, and the reaction of the public in comments at various media outlets as it was released. There was no excitement. There were no lines wrapping around buildings to buy the phone. The public showed the same apathy towards the new product that Apple has shown in their development of new products. And yet sites such as BGR and Apple Insider are reporting that suddenly the public is on a rampage seeking the iPhone SE, with the product being sold out and Apple trying to fulfill orders.
I do not doubt that the iPhone SE’s stock has diminished. It was no secret that Apple planned on less of the devices being sold, and produced less. The phone has now been out for a while, and I would assume that many users of old iPhones have seen their devices need replacing. We’ve reported on many different occasions why users would need to do just this. iOS updates breaking phones, and users being told they need to upgrade to a new phone, will surely lead to users purchasing the cheapest of the iPhones available. However, I think it’s quite a stretch to jump to the conclusion these sites are leaping to. I decided to contact my carrier last night to see if the stories of the iPhones being sold out was true. Well, the 16gb grey iPhone SE was indeed sold out. But they could ship it to me next week. Everything else was readily available for shipment or in store pickup. That’s hardly the story which we’re being told.
No, I think there is a very clear agenda at play. The iPhone sells best when the public thinks that they are hard to get. These Apple support sites are trying to convince us that this is the case. In my opinion, this is not the case at all. I really can’t blame these Apple support sites for trying to push the latest iPhone. We do the same thing here. However, we are able to do something they cannot do. We can show how BlackBerry devices best the competition with form and function. It would be extremely difficult to find something on an iPhone that beats the competition. No, that hasn’t been something iPhone users have been able to do in nearly a decade. As I said before, Apple’s biggest strength has been popularity, which is exactly what these sites are attempting to manufacture.
It’s not working.