According to a new report, iPhone loyalty is dropping rapidly as consumers trade in their Apple products and move to other devices. The news is a further potential blow to Apple as the smartphone market slumps and its devices continue to underperform.
A new report from BankMyCell claims that after tracking about 38,000 users since October 2018, iPhone retention has fallen by 15.2 percent compared with March 2018. 26 percent of BankMyCell users reported planning to move to another brand, while just 7.7 percent of Samsung Galaxy S9 buyers planning to move to an iPhone.
According to Kantar Research, iPhone devices accounted for 36 percent of US phone sales in Q2 2019, down 2.4 percent from the same quarter last year. Globally, Gartner has stated that smartphone sales are expected to decline by 68 million this year, down 3.8 percent.
A few things are made collectively clear by this data, and not all of them concern just Apple. First, you can expect an absolute blizzard of advertising around 5G in upcoming years, and it’s probably not going to be honest. ATT set the tone early, with its lies about 5G E, but it probably won’t be the last company to fudge its marketing one way or another. Expect manufacturers to fight and fight hard to get you in the door, even though first-generation 5G cell phones are so bad, high outside temperatures can literally make them stop working in that mode. And by “high,” I mean “85F,” which isn’t really all that high in the downtowns and city centers where 5G service is rolling out.
5G’s Mortal Enemy: The Sun
No, it’s not an actual subhead for this article. It’s just how I feel like that point needs to be made.
Anyway, the mystery here isn’t why Apple customers are abandoning Apple, so much as why they’d be running to Samsung instead. Both companies have enthusiastically leaped on to the bandwagon of selling customers smaller upgrades with fewer features at higher prices in recent years. The only Apple devices I’d recommend to anyone would be the small iPhone 7 or iPhone 8, but the reason I’d recommend them personally is because of their size, not any other feature. I have absolutely no interest in large devices, which means I have no interest in Apple products any longer. Unfortunately, since Android is responsible for the current trend in giant devices, it means I also have no viable Android alternatives.
I genuinely expect that the iPhone SE I currently own will be my last smartphone. I will not carry a giant, smash-prone device. Given that I have broken the screen on every iPhone I’ve owned save one, I have no intention of upgrading to a larger piece of hardware with more expensive components that I am statistically even more likely to damage.
But even if you aren’t like me — even if you love large devices — it’s hard to see what the current crop of products offers that’s new, useful, or even desirable when prices continue to skyrocket. Top-end smartphones are now more expensive than some very well-made laptops. For some people, it may even make sense to invest more in a top-end smartphone and skip the laptop altogether, but we’ve gone from the era in which you could treat these devices as existing side-by-side to one in which buying one type of product might be so expensive as to preclude you buying the other.
Companies won’t be able to fix this problem because companies aren’t very good at being creative. What Samsung and Apple did during the original smartphone revolution was realize that new interface paradigms were possible, then push those interfaces and capabilities possible during a narrow window when hardware was improving so quickly, it was possible to roll out devices that were rapidly gaining features.
Thus far, the smartphone manufacturers in the United States have decided to double down by raising prices sharply and hoping people are still willing to pay them. Whether this has made the short-term pain worse is unclear. At the very least, it’s drawn a clear line between what these companies think they are entitled to — even more money, despite offering fewer meaningful improvements — and what consumers seem inclined to do (namely, refusing to award weaker products with more cash).
I have no particular idea why anyone would move to Samsung over Apple, because honestly, most of these trends apply to Samsung just as much, but it’s possible that the talk about how Apple is failing to live up to its own product heritage or the negative rumors about this years’ iPhone are pushing people away. Either way, if the long-term PC decline is anything to judge by, this situation is going to get worse before it gets better.
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