In the past, the phrase “The Big Apple” has been synonymous with New York City. However, from now on there is a real chance ‘the big apple’ will be more commonly associated with Apple’s new iPhone 6. For those who missed Apple’s launch on Tuesday, Apple unveiled its newest devices, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. The main difference between the two is the Plus version is a larger device. However, what is more interesting is both the new iPhones are bigger than all their predecessors and significantly with the iPhone 6 at 4.7″ and iPhone 6 Plus at 5.5″. Apple has generally been of the belief that small is better with Steve Jobs famously quoted saying “No one’s going to buy that” when referencing ‘bigger’ phones.
Due to such an ethos, Apple have typically maintained a relatively smaller device which recently has contradicted the general trend of the smartphone market. As the iPhone has maintained its size (relatively speaking) other OEMs have slowly crept bigger in small incremental stages. This has been so prevalent over recent evolutions that any device larger than 5.2″ is usually refereed to as a ‘phablet’. This differentiation between a device bigger than a handset but smaller than a tablet was one Apple was never concerned with. One of the repercussions of the absence of Apple in the ‘bigger’ handset market, is this allowed other big companies the opportunity to truly dominate and over the last few years this is what Samsung have managed to do rather easily. The Korean OEM wasted no time in making sure they established themselves as a phablet manufacturer and most notably with Samsung’s Note range. Now with Apple effectively entering the phablet market with the iPhone 6 Plus, this leaves the other OEMs and especially Samsung in an interesting position. Apple’s sales figures don’t lie and in the handset market, Apple dominate in terms of number of units shipped compared to any other OEM. This poses a big problem for Samsung in the future. Although Samsung is generally dominant in the phablet market this was with the absence of Apple. If Apple can emulate their success in the phablet market like they did in the handset market than Samsung is going to see a large slice of their pie being taken and by their biggest rival. To make matters worse for Samsung, size is only one of the issues the new iPhone poses. In addition to making their device bigger, Apple have also introduced features which they had purposefully avoided in the past. Just a few examples include Widgets, NFC payment capabilities and the use of swiping keyboards. Samsung could (and will) claim Apple is simply copying what they do and by doing so are admitting defeat. However, the truth is Apple is closing the markets which allowed Samsung to establish themselves. Apple is extremely successful with the iPhone without these features and now by including them simply shuts down other OEMs ability to claim a difference.
So where does this leave Samsung and the other big OEMs? Well, that is the question. Now that there is a big apple which also offers a similar level of product to the big Android companies what can they do to again separate themselves from Apple? What markets have they been left with to dominate? Price is the obvious answer although again with the average cost of devices increasing year on year, is there actually a market for Samsung to distance themselves on price? Samsung already make a smaller profit per unit sold compared to Apple so how low can they realistically go? Recently we have seen a number of jabs at Apple from the big companies but this should not be mistaken for how serious the new iPhone is to them. They know better than anyone Apple is going for the jugular with this one. Apple has made their move and now it is up to Samsung and the rest to respond.