iPhone Future
Jean-Louis Gassée

A few issues might make the “there’s no reason to buy an Android but price” mantra you’re adopting alongside Ben Evans a bit flaky:

  • Apple for sure excels at making tech easy + sexy. The competition, both in PCs and smartphones, has woken up to that though. The latest luxury Androids (and PCs) are, as objects, rather more beautiful than iDevices, and, as tools, rather easier and more productive.
  • The Apple brand certainly has cachet, the devices themselves are lagging (not the best screen, not the best camera, not the best battery, not the best sound, though mostly very good except the iPse’s screen, and the iP6S’s battery…), to the point that the most loved device in the US this year is a Galaxy, and broadly, all flagships including Apple’s scored the same. Apple’s brand image does benefit from having no entry/mid-range for sure.
  • Google has been doing what MS took forever to do: sell their own devices. The “Android macrocosm’” (??) can be whittled down to “get a Nexus”. That makes a “buy from the source” approach viable on Android (and now also Windows) as well as Apple.
  • You gloss over the fact that “Apple’s improving services”, at least in the cloud services sense, mainly means forever playing catch-up to what Google and partners already offer (see Maps, Music, Siri, Photos… all ranked are not quite as good as Android’s versions), and mostly having to do it all by themselves, which makes long-term sustainability and success doubtful. Apple does have an edge in real-world services, when you’re close to their shop, which about 1% of the population is.
  • The netbook and first-car analogies only work so far: IT systems have lock-in while cars don’t; Android is not a netbook/used-car -only ecosystem but also a premium one so the flow to iOS is not guaranteed. I saw an Ericsson doc saying switching rates are 0.8%/month Android-> iOS, and 0.4%/month iOS ->Android, last year. The numbers of switchers to iOS looks good because that 0.8% applies to a much larger number, but it is by no means a one-way street.
  • Apple seem to be getting conservative to the point of being stodgy, even of fragmenting their own ecosystem (MacOS, iOS, tvOS, watchOS). We’ve already been over the toaster-fridge fallacy, plus a tablet is probably closer to a laptop then to a phone. MS and Google seem on the contray to be striving to make sure all apps are available on all devices.
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