Apple needs to do much more than the widely expected hardware revamp of the iPhone to lead in the smartphone market. This is according to Ovum’s new measure of success in the consumer technology industry – the Smart-Vendor Scorecard – which accompanies a 360-degree assessment of the major technology vendors’ capabilities and their influence over consumers and developers.
The global analyst firm expects that the new iPhone will be Apple’s most successful smartphone to-date. However, without a redesign of the iOS user experience and underlying software platform in the next two years, Apple will find itself in a position similar to Nokia and RIM, which found themselves with outdated smartphone platforms that needed replacing. The analysis behind Ovum’s Smart-Vendor Scorecard suggests that if Apple miss-times this transition it could lose large numbers of consumers along the way. The question for Apple is: will Tim Cook be brave enough to call time on the iPhone cash-cow in-time for a successful transition?
Adam Leach, leader of Ovum’s Devices and Platforms practice, comments: “Apple has successfully built the iPhone from a radical new entrant to the must-have smartphone. Whilst the company is still reaping the rewards of the brand equity of the iPhone, consumers are notoriously fickle when it comes to buying handsets. Without the continued innovation which we are accustomed to with Apple, the company risks losing consumer appeal. The iPhone re-defined the smartphone category in 2007 but it can’t rely on past success to guarantee its future or rely on litigation to keep its competitors at bay.”
The Smart-Vendor Scorecard replaces outdated measures of success – shipments and revenues – which no longer provide a meaningful yardstick, as they fail to cater for the complex and multi-faceted nature of the consumer tech market. Increasingly technology companies are going beyond their core businesses in an attempt to control all aspects of consumers’ digital lives – from devices to software, services, applications, and content. Parameters such as device portfolios, software platform assets, developer enablers, and applications, as well as the company’s influence over both developers and end users, provide a much more accurate view of the current winners and what to expect next from them.
“It has become clear that technology companies need to do more than just announce new versions and updates to existing offerings if they are set on owning every aspect of the consumer’s digital existence. It is therefore imperative for these companies to move outside their traditional areas of expertise; hardware companies have to build up their software and service expertise and vice-versa, or risk leaving the door open to their competitors,” concludes Leach.