Apple is active, effective and energetic again but marked by incremental exercises in creativity this time. No big announcement(s) or pathbreaking ideas.
Last month Apple unveiled iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iWatch in a glittering ceremony. Yesterday, it unveiled its new tablets ( iPads ) – iPad Air 2 and an iPad mini 3. Also on show was the new iMac with a 27″ retina display.
Touch ID sensors on iPads; Retina HD display; NFC tech supporting mobile payments ( Apple Pay ); anti reflective coating added to the display making 56 % less reflection than other iPads; and an enhanced iSight Camera which can take ‘burst’ photos for the first time on an iPad are the main identifying features.
All these are available for Pre Order on October 17, 2014. Delivery by end of the week.
iPad Air 2 with 16 GB is available for $ 499; iPad mini 3 with GB for $ 399; New iMac is available for $ 2499. Concurrently, prices of iPad Air and iPad mini 2 have been reduced by $ 100.
Apple CEO, Tim Cook, said while introducing the new devices : ” Simple, Magical Device “. He also added that, ” Since the 2010 launch Apple has sold 225 million iPads; i.e. more than any other in the first four years in their history”. Proof of its astounding performance !
On to marking my three points :
1. A graceful and pleasing event; not much pomp, show, or shtick to brainwash people and it remains to be seen whether people take what Apple wants them to.
2. General enthusiasm for tablets is on the decline. Product acceptance is usually measured by sales growth in the days/quarters to come and that will spell the token of the improvements being perceived as valuable. Product improvements have to used. In the last 2 quarters, however, sales for iPads had declined, even if marginally so. We probably have to wait through a sale cycle to be on course firmly on this.
3. Sales, generally, can be increased by getting existing users to get attracted to the new iPads OR by finding new users and uses. Having a strong hold on the Education segment, Apple may well promote aggressive market expansion coupled with profitability objectives rather than volume sales. This will perhaps be the key strategy.
Events and circumstances, hopefully, may not be hard on Apple to be good for its set limits.
” Dieu avec nous “
Friday, October 17, 2014 – 3. 59 a.m. ( IST )
Tidbit : ” You can’t make progress unless you stick your neck out “.
We have in the recent days seen and heard of iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus from Apple; Galaxy Note 4 from Samsung; and here comes the new Nexus 6 from Google – on October 29, 2014.
No big show; No ostentation; No vanity; and just a solemnly consequential outing of the Nexus 6 from Google yesterday.
A Motorola made device ( I am a fan of Motorola ) it looks very much like an over sized version of the Moto X. Nexus 6 is the first phone to run Android 5. 0 Lollypop with memorable, distinguishable and noticeable improvements; dual speaker grilles; and lock button/volume rocket placement along with a 5. 9″ screen ( close to 6″, a perfection ); more powerful 2.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset; sizeable and vigorous 3220 mAh battery; 13 MP Camera with Optical Image Specialization.
Motorola seems to have applied itself to any and every issue it had with its own Moto X, and capped it with a big Nexus logo on its back. It is also significant that Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 is the state of the art tech ( Samsung and Motorola use this ) and has shown itself to be better/superior to even Apple’s A8 Chip in the Linpeck tests. The only thing that was left without upgradation was the dual LED flash on Nexus 6’s back.
Pre Order will kick off on October 29 with a full retail introduction possibly in November. Sans contract it could drain the buyers’ wallets by $ 649, although no official word is available yet. At this price, it is the most expensive in the Nexus series. All carriers AT & T, T- Mobile, Sprint, US cellular, and Verizon Wireless will be getting this for sure at some point in the sale process or even earlier. Rumor has it that it can possibly go as cheap as $ 49. 99 for a two year contract making its price half that of Moto X. That will be a Dream Deal for me if it jells. But I’ll not be surprised if that stays as ‘rumor’ only !
This Big phone with a Big screen ( close to 6″ ) and a Big battery ( 3220 mAh ) compared with iPhone 6 and galaxy Note 4 also beats the sense of my brain which is almost firmly tied to the advent of ” affordable ” phones in a big way in this crowded smartphone marketplace. I stand bewildered. Is getting Big or getting Bigger being reinforced as the ” buzzword ” again ?
Now, I want to strongly mark my three points here :
1. Google which has always held good/high specs and good/high value as its strength appears to be on course to a different strategy of ‘pricing high’ ( though the aim is to cover a niche segment ). Does it play contradictory to Google’s spirited endeavor to create a line as a benchmark device – yet economical and value filled – for the phone manufacturers ? Off contract Nexus 5, (16 GB) was $ 349 in U.S.A. and Canada; and the 32 GB version was $ 399. Apple iPhone 6, with a 4. 2″ screen & 16 GB memory, for comparison was $ 649 and Apple iPhone 6 Plus, with a 5. 5″ screen & 16 GB memory, was $ 749. Nexus 6 at the expected $ 649 is high on specs compared to iPhone and Galaxy Note 4 but will it ultimately prove to be price deterrent can only be decided with the passing of time. At this moment, though, the customers in general remain ‘super excited’.
2. Google does not seem to have the penchant for adding memory ( expandable or otherwise ) or altering batteries. What sets me pondering is the conjecture that Google possibly envisions the stage of users being lured and driven to the ‘cloud base’ which may be just not only a good but also a progressive step in future.
3. Will the introduction of Nexus 6 then reverse the trend of inexpensive, quality smartphones in the market ? Possibly not so. Ambitions of the youth, the generation of smartphones, and their economic strength may even support this thinking. I have witnessed smartphones getting more expensive than i5 laptops with a 15. 6″ screen and a whole lot of features of ease in the past in its evolution. But this 5. 9″ screen (close to 6″) Nexus 6, though can pose difficulties in handling by one hand, is strong on the portability front and may even make this a norm besides providing an amazing mobile experience to the mobile generation of the new age. I am tempted to state that it is a boon to anyone who uses only data and uses less voice and text.
In the final analysis, Nexus 6 is ” A Giant Release from a Giant Manufacturer to the Giant Buyers”.
” Dieu avec nous “
Thursday, October 16, 2014 – 8. 59 a.m. ( IST )
Tidbit : ” Cheat me in the price, but not in the Goods”. – English proverb.
Samsung and Apple are on course to gratify their Diwali wishes to Indians by showcasing them with their Telecom Gifts of Smartphones – Gifts for a change to drain the customers’ wallets while acquiring though !
The chief aim of the two Smartphone Giants is to kindle the spirit of knowledge of people who on this occasion bejewel themselves and their doors with flowers and maize. Along with the delicacy Kajjaya to fill the stomach, it will be a good occasion too to fill the grey cell activity with their products.
October 17, 2014 is the D – Day to remember ( prior to Diwali on 23 October 2014 ) for Apple introduction. Samsung has just this day introduced its Galaxy Note 4 for Rs 58, 400/- ( approx.)
Samsung introduced the Galaxy Note 4 and Gear S ( its smartwatch ) today in Delhi while Apple will introduce the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to the Indian public on October 17, 2014. Stores are already getting busy keeping their shelves ready and neat for the big show providing big profits.
What is obvious : Galaxy Note 4 has a 5. 7″ Quad Core HD ( 2560 X 1440 ) Super AMOLED display; it has a metal frame, short textured back cover; 16 MP rear camera with Optical Image Stabilization and 3. 7 MP front camera that claims to capture 60 % more light; better multitasking experience; improved fingerprint scanner; S Pen which can work as a mouse cursor; the phone can be charged faster and comes with ‘less power consumption’.
For those used to browsing web pages frequently and downloading media content it is a blessing, invoking the favor of GOD on this auspicious day !
Current market in India : Indian “smartphone generation” is making itself more visible, enterprising, and showy now. They want to use the best in the market in terms of modern electronic gadgets. On the other hand, a majority of Indian customers are not always willing to pay a higher price for a high quality product if the ‘price’ is a deterrent. This presents the giants with Challenges and Opportunities. Also Indian consumers are more knowledgeable to choose by a better product, better price, better distribution by the company, better services, better options etc.
I want to strongly mark 3 points here :
1. At a time when the customers’ predisposition to smartphone and phablets are shifting to the medium and smaller players in the segment, the two giants with Big Brands are presenting their high-end products to them. Fighting brands are emerging in Indian market at a rapid pace, specially in recent years ( Moto E, G, X ; Lumia series; Micromax, Karbonn, Spice – Android One – Xiaomi … .. . ) Every manufacturer worthy of showcasing a smartphone is now bullish on India raising the heat of competition. Hence there is need and compulsion for new strategies to enhance their stature consistently. I see the root of this lying in the “P” strategy of Price and Promotion.
2. At no time has the positive public image of a company and its products has been more important and decisive than now in India, which is seeking the determined path of a transformational environment encompassing fairness, justice and the real benefits of products in business. Hence, an organized effort of Public Relations to hammer the much needed image is paramount. A high price shift to cover the costs cannot be overlooked by the two giants, however, irrespective of the compulsions otherwise.
3. Here I go now with some slogans for boosting the market :
New age young professionals are often attracted to the idea of “Power” and luring this segment with “power communications”, “power meetings”, and “power conferences” is vital.
” One Touch, One Sight, One Voice – One Purchase “.
” Suniye, Dekhiye, Lijiye … … .. . ” .
” Don’t leave home without Samsung/Apple Smartphone “
” Apne haath, apne saath “ .
Till now, in this smartphone war between Apple and Samsung flanking maneuver is perceptibly missing with an unclear edge to either of them. ” Brand Prestige ” of the two players will be put to the litmus test this time, more than ever before.
Who’ll emerge stronger in eliminating ignorance over knowledge, and despair over hope during this Diwali in India is what the customers will watch eagerly !
” Dieu avec nous “
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 – 10.59 p.m. ( IST )
Tidbit : ” Competition is the life of Trade; but it could also be the loss of Profit “. – Anonymous.
N.B : For reference and observations pertaining to iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus, kindly follow the articles below in the same blog : 1. “Apple : The Chakravarthy of Tech Prowess, Awaiting September 9, 2014” – published on September 8, 2014. 2. “Searching for the Dream Smartphone – 2014 ” – published on September 24, 2014.
When I received a call from my elder brother last evening expressing his amazement and delight over the feel and performance of the budget smartphone ‘Spice Dream UNO Mi 498’ he bought soon after its launch on September 15, 2014, ( he was one of the first 50 to secure through the e-commerce portal Flipkart ) I felt convinced that the buzzword “Affordable” which played a roulette round the sectors of Health Care, Energy, Housing, Transport and the like(s) has finally arrived to disrupt and wrap the “Smartphone Growth” in a big way.
” Solid offering for the price ” was his first observation.
‘ Satis Verborum’ and on to our real muttons now :
Launching in India which analysts expect to be home to more than 90 million smartphone users by this year end, this new line of smartphones could well portend the game changing event of introduction marking a solid management strategy, pricing, potential, and user experience. Unveiling in Indonesia, Phillippines and South Africa follows.
Budget Smartphones are not new, however, either in this sector or in India. Firefox’s smartphone sells for $ 33. Chinese Company, Xiaomi, sells $ 100 Android smartphone. It sold out in just 5 seconds in India during early September. Everyone will remember the Microsoft Lumia line, ( from Nokia ) a harbinger to this trend with its moderate success in emerging markets.
But this shining jewel from the stable of Google ( Android One ) forming a grand initiative partnering with 3 of Indian device makers – Micromax, Karbonn, and Spice – to create $ 100 smartphones, besides teaming up with wireless provider Bharti Airtel, the largest mobile carrier in India may well be ordained to settle its prevailing status firmly. That Google’s additional hardware partners are Asus, HTC, Lenovo, and the chip maker par excellence Qualcomm makes for a glittering array of formidable arsenal.
Spice Dream UNO Mi 498 comes with a 4. 5″ display; 854 x 480 pixel resolution; Android 4.4 Kitkat OS; Quadcore 1. 3 GHz Mediatek Processor; Dual SIM capability; 1 GB RAM; 4 BG on board storage alongside a micro SD Card slot for expandability; 5 MP rear camera; and a removable 1700 mAh battery.
A sprinkling of the marketing analysis :
1. What distinguishes this effort is not its ” Android One ” but the ” Rule One ” of Google. Hardware partners will run only the ” Stock Android ” to ensure a ‘ Consistent Experience ‘ ( in their own words ). It means (a) no modifications to fit needs as it usually happens with Android, and (b) no iterations to go through. Process simplified ! Consumers cannot wish for more ! This is bound to serve well to strengthen its ” Brand Attribute ” in marketing parlance.
2. This also adds to its line to give more breadth. It also enhances its process of ‘revitalization’ in the maturity phase of Smartphones globally. Google hits 3 benefits with one stroke in this unveiling : (a) expansion of its market ( emerging markets specially ) (b) a viable modification of its product, smartphone and (c) its positioning to a different target sector.
3. If I may coin an appropriate slogan for promotion it will be : “Android One is the Real Smartphone” considering its grandiose plans to enable the budget conscious folks with ” Affordable Web Connection ” through this device.
Let’s look at the larger picture now :
1. Combine budget smartphones with Google’s ‘ Project Loon’, an initiative of its ambitious Google X Division aiming to beam WiFi to rural areas via high altitude balloons – one can visualize the potential galloping at great speed.
2. Of significance here is FB’s plans with satellites and drones to deliver people internet access through an effort called ‘ Connecting Labs ‘ through an initiative called internet.org – ( Recall the meeting FB Chief Mark Zuckerberg had with PM Modi last week in Delhi ) – and the scope to bridge the gap between rural and urban India in ‘Internet Use’ is really astounding.
India is poised to witness a ‘turning point’ in its march towards tech embracement for communication and use for sure. One can well hope that its appeal will carry it through with the promise of success.
” Dieu avec nous “
Monday, October 13, 2014 – 11. 09 p.m. ( IST )
Tidbit : ” Opportunity does not knock now, but it rings the Smartphone and asks everyone a brilliant question ” – Anonymous