It appears Apple does not have any good news emerging from any quarter for the time being. As reported by Reuters news agency, Apple’ iconic iPhone is losing some of its luster among Asia’s well-heeled consumers in Singapore and Hong Kong, a victim of changing mobile habits and its own runaway success.
Driven by a combination of iPhone fatigue, a desire to be different and a plethora of competing devices, users are turning to other brands, notably those from Samsung , eating into Apple’s market share. In Singapore, Apple’s products were so dominant in 2010 that more devices here ran its iOS operating system per-capita than anywhere else in the world.
Apple’s share of mobile devices in Singapore – iPad and iPhone – declined sharply last year. From a peak of 72 percent in January 2012, its share fell to 50 percent this month, while Android devices now account for 43 percent of the market, up from 20 percent in the same month last year. In Hong Kong, devices running Apple’s iOS now account for about 30 percent of the total, down from about 45 percent a year ago. Android accounts for nearly two-thirds.
Apple is still viewed as a prestigious brand, but there are just so many other cool smartphones especially by Samsung that the young and prospective buyers have now ample choice to select their devices and this has made competition much stiffer.
For some, it is a matter of wanting to stand out from the iPhone-carrying crowd. Others find the higher-powered, bigger-screened Android devices better suited to their changing habits – watching video, writing Chinese characters – while the cost of switching devices is lower than they expected, given that most popular social and gaming apps are available for both platforms.
But there are still plenty of people buying Apple devices. Stores selling their products in places such as Indonesia were full over the Christmas holidays, and the company’s new official store in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay has queues snaking out of the door most days.
Apple is also losing out to Samsung because of lack of variety of its iPhone models as all the buyers can’t afford its expensive iPhone 5. On the other hand, Samsung has solutions for all the pockets. Probably, to stem this loophole, Apple is speculated to be considering to introduce entry-level ‘affordable’ 4.8-inch display model currently referred to as the iPhone ‘Math,’ and then towards the year-end a full fledged iPhone 6 with a 12-megapixel camera.
To support the view of affordability of iPhone, a number of experts are pointing to the fact that Apple’s older handsets the iPhone 4 and 4S have still been performing well despite the iPhone 5’s release. It means there’s demand for cheaper Apple products, and Apple may have saturated the high end of the market. For high-end iPhone, Apple must bring some unique features so that its expensive gadget should look different from the crowd and the owners should feel proud to have it, and for this Apple will have to think out of the box.