|No really, the iPhone hasn't sold nearly as well as you seem to think it has!|
|Written by L. M. Lloyd|
|Friday, 26 June 2009 15:36|
Someone sent me a link to an article recently. I am not a fan of the site, nor do I care that much about the content of the article, but in the comments I found something I have been wanting to address for a while. Actually, I addressed it a while back, but since that article, the new Apple tactic is to say that rather than being the first smartphone, the iPhone is just the first smartphone to matter. Now I went over this particular tactic of Apple's, as well as several other slimy rhetorical tricks Macheads use, in great length some time ago, but I would like to address it in particular in this case, as exemplified by this very real comment to the previously mentioned article.
There has never been a device with the installed user base of the iphone and the massive amount of app loading by a non techie crowd before. Previous devices were niche only and had a sort of "you break it you bought it" policy. those devices don't make it to the cover of Time magazine or sell in the 10's of millions. The developer market for the iphone is literally forcing into existence new business markets and concepts over night. Its tremendous.
Now normally, I would just whistle and say "ok nutjob" to this guy. However, I have seen this argument all over the Internet, to the point that is clearly the newest but of spin coming out of the head office. So, I guess I will go ahead and break it down, since no one else seems to be so inclined.
This is as completely false as it could ever be, no matter how you slice and dice and try to massage the numbers. The BlackBerry as a class of devices outsells the iPhone as a class of device (because the iPhone is not a single model, no matter how much Apple likes to group it that way to cheat the sales figures). Even playing Apple's game though, and pretending that all iPhones are the same model, while slicing and dicing BlackBerry models as all being completely different, the best selling single model of BlackBerry (the Curve) outsells all the iPhones combined anyway. Windows Mobile devices as a class outsell the iPhones as a class. And Nokia? Forget it, they sell more devices in a month than the total number of iPhones ever sold. Of course they don't count because all Macheads care about is the US. The simple fact of the matter is that the iPhone, as shown in the NPD figures from last year, sells about 11 million units a year, which is in no way a remarkable, unprecedented, special, revolutionary, or even impressive number. This entire idea that the iPhone is somehow the best selling smartphone ever, literally comes from sales figures from one week of one quarter of last year, when the 3G launched, and in that week the iPhone was the best selling phone in America. Of course, as is always the case with idiotic Machead blather, they have never bothered, or dared to check the sales figures again, preferring to extrapolate that single data point to say that the iPhone is just the best selling phone ever. In the real world though, 11 million units a year sold, doesn't even make it the best selling smartphone, much less the best selling general phone.
There has been an "install base" of tens of millions of people for the BlackBerry, Palm, and Windows Mobile platforms for years. To think otherwise is quite simply delusional.
There are over 50,000 PalmOS applications, and around 20,000 Windows Mobile apps, and if you think that the average Palm user was the "techie crowd" then you probably ask for computer advice from Best Buy employees.
Here we get to the oh so predictable meat of the same tired Apple argument. This idea that no matter how much you have to rewrite the history of the world for it to be true, Apple was the first consumer electronics company to make fill in the blank for the rest of us.This idea that the products made for 'the nerds' don't count, because they are just weird niche products that no one has ever heard of. The problem here is, BlackBerries, Windows Mobile devices, and Palms, were selling more units than the iPhone,before the iPhone even existed. Weird "niche" companies like Sony were making Palm handhelds and selling them in strange out of the way specialty electronics stores with oddball names like Wal-Mart and Target. This strange cabal of technology fanboys who call themselves the United States Congress even went out and passed special laws to make sure they all had these nerdy BlackBerry things, to do all theirÂ Ã¼bernerd high tech geeky stuff. Notorious looser geeks like Firemen, policemen, rappers, drug dealers, lawyers, doctors, soldiers and executives, all went out and had their geeky little nerd parties with these stupid niche devices. And of course none of it had any kind of support at all, except for the carrier insurance programs to replace your phone if it broke, and the carrier service departments dedicated to these devices, and the corporate IT departements dedicated to these devices, and the software developers and hacker communities working around the clock to fix and improve them. Aside from that though, no support at all. They didn't even have a Genius Bar.IT was ridiculous as so niche as to not even bother mentioning. I mean, they barely even moved 100 million units a year in the whole market! Why even mention a tiny 100 million unit niche, right?
The reasons the press gushes obsequiously over any product Apple makes is a whole different subject for a whole different rant. However as the sales figures go, you could not possibly be more wrong. Let me make this as clear as humanly possible. Last year, talking about just smartphones and nothing else, there were 72 million devices sold running Symbian OS, Research in Motion sold 23 million devices, there were 16 million devices sold running Windows Mobile, and the iPhone sold 11 million phones. That pretty much means that all of those devices sell in the 10s of millions, in fact sell better than the iPhone!
Once again, I will point out 50,000 Palm OS apps, 20,000 Windows Mobile apps, and who knows how many Java apps for the various flavors of Symbian and Motorola OSs. No, if in 2009, it took the iPhone for you to realize that there is a market for mobile applications, then you are just unimaginably slow. Apple did not create some fantastic new opportunity for people to finally make money off of handheld software, that opportunity has been around for more than a decade. They just woke your, apparently quite thick and slow, brain to the fact that there was a market out there.
Look, I live in LA, I get it. One day you were bumbling along not caring what phone you had, and not paying any attention to what phone other people had. Then Apple announced on the front page of every newspaper on Earth that it was time to start paying as much attention to the brand on your phone as much as you do to the brand on your clothes and your music player. Not wanting to be left out, you and all the other insecure fashion victims who swore that you would never again be ostracized like you were in High School, because now you could afford to hang with the cool kids, went out and grabbed your iPhone. Then you looked around, and all the other bloggers, screenplay writers, aspiring models/actors, fellow YouTube indy film makers and Starbucks Baristas all had iPhones, so you figure that this must be the first time that "normal" people ever bought one of these smartphone things. The problem with your logic, is that in your oblivious cluelessness, what you failed to notice was that in the decade preceeding the release of the iPhone, your boss, accountant and lawyer all got BlackBerries. Your doctor, veterinarian, and real estate agent all got Palms. Every 8-year-old and up in Asia and Europe got Symbian or Linux based smartphones, and half the stores you went into, including the Apple store, managed their entire inventory on Windows Mobile handhelds. It isn't that these were particularly small "niches" or that any small number of people were doing it. It isn't that there weren't evening news stories and latenight jokes about PalmPilots and BlackBerry thumb. It was just that you were completely oblivious to it, because you were sure that if it was a fashion trend worth knowing about, Apple would tell you. As a result you are now like someone who has listened to nothing but easy listening radio your whole life, upon hearing their first Greenday album, and trying to fill the rest of us in on this new "punk" movement. It would be kind of adorable, if you weren't so pompous about your ignorance. Of course you are unbearably pompous, so instead of trying to get you up to speed with the rest of society, we just want to crank some Dead Kennedys while stomping on your head and kicking you in the ribs.
Let me save you a lot of trouble. There is nothing to see here. Apple has released a competent smartphone, which after three major versions is now just about at feature parity with the rest of the market, and is selling accordingly. It is by no means a flop, but it also isn't anywhere close to the Earthshattering success you are making it out to be. It is not the "breakout device that made handheld computing acceptable to the masses" as that would certainly be the Palm, more than a decade ago. The Treo and the BlackBerry have both done better, and gained more acceptance worldwide than the iPhone. It really just isn't all that special, from a market perspective. It will continue to make money for Apple, and I'm sure many a reporter will continue to herald it as the left toe of God, but it is just another phone on the market, and not even close to the dominant phone in the smartphone world. In fact, if it were any company but Apple, it probably wouldn't still even be getting covered. Live with it, and quit making yourself look like a tool, trying to peddle spew fed to your from the Apple PR department.It is just a phone, there is really no reason to rewrite the entire history of mobile computing just to try to make Apple look more important than they really have been.
|Last Updated ( Saturday, 27 June 2009 07:40 )|
I am a modeler, animator, designer director, and avid anime freak. I have been working with computer graphics and digital imaging as long as I can remember, and I still love it. I have worked in stage, television, video games, film and even the darkest bowels of corporate America. These days I gravitate to more personal projects, and anything that sounds like fun.
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