A. The Apple iPhone
Not since the introduction of the original Apple Macintosh has a product introduction been met with so much anticipation. The Apple iPhone is an elegantly designed information communicator forged from steel and silicon that runs pioneering software under Apple’s OS X in a Unix Kernel. The iPhone combines smart phone capabilities with a simple to use graphical interface projected on a large ‘multi-touch’ display. Apple has managed to create a Macintosh compputer with mobile phone capabilities, bundled within an Internet enabled PDA and an iPod body.
The iPhone’s functionality is accessed through its 3.5-inch touch screen display and one “home” button. Using only finger commands, a user can navigate seamlessly through iPhone’s features, conjuring up a keyboard when needed. At a resolution of over 25,000 pixels per inch, its picture quality for videos and photos is astounding. An ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the iPhone’s display brightness enhancing visibility and saving power. Audiio is provided by a standard headphone jack, a built-in speaker or through Bluetooth (stereo) transmission.
1. Smart Phone
iPhone touch technology allows users to make calls by simply pointing to a name or number in an address book or by dial
The iPhone uses a quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) spectrum; utilizing 2.5G EDGE networks — a predominate standard used in Europe and parts of Asia. In the future it is expected that iPhone models will be truly 3G compatible since Apple’s American carrier Cingular, and potential European and Asian partners offer 3G compliant UMTS and HSDPA.
2. Wireless Internet Communication Device
The iPhone serves as a Wi-Fi enabled Internet device that utillizes Apple’s Safari browser to access: Internet email, web sites, online maps, and search engines. The device’s full web capabilities offer a rich HTML email client with imbedded images that syncs automatically with a Mac or a PC. iPhone provides Google Maps directions, free push Yahoo email message forwarding and Apple widget applications connectivity — Java based applets — that provide updated information on stock quotes, sports scores, weather reports, traffic conditions and other services. Auto Wi-Fi detection (802.11b/g), Bluetooth, GSM and Cingular’s EDGE
Think of iPhone as a 3.5-inch widescreen iPod with touch screen controls. Through the iTunes Library— including music, audio books, videos, TV programs, and movies — content is now accessible through a display interface rather than by thumb wheel menus. Videos, controls, previews, songs, lyrics and album artwork are presented directly to the screen. In the future, users should be able to directly access a movie or band’s video by pressing an onscreen order button.
4. PDA, Computer and Camera
Using Apple’s OS X running Widget’s Java based software, the iPhone is able to provide PDA features: appoint calendars, contact lists, photos, emails and documents, literally with a touch of a ‘virtual’ button. It should only be a matter of time before developers will come up with specific iPhone applications, even though Apple has not made any announcements. The iPhone runs Apple’s full-featured OS X, so in the future expect to see powerful applications to appear, especially as the world turns increasingly toward smaller mobile devices for a computing platform.
The iPhone’s built-in camera takes pictures at 2 MB resolution that can be stored in 4 GB or 8 GB flash memory cards or forwarded to a friend, family member or colleague. An internal accelerometer dete
D. Pricing and Specifications
|Ship Date||Ship Date|
|United States||June 2007|
|Screen size||3.5 inches|
|Screen resolution||320 by 480 at 160 ppi|
|Operating system||OS X|
|Storage||4GB or 8GB|
|GSM||Quad-band (MHz: 850, 900, 1800, 1900)|
|Wireless data||Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) + EDGE + Bluetooth 2.0|
|Camera||2.0 mega pixels|
|Battery||Talk / Video / Browsing – Up to 5 hours
Audio playback – Up to 16 hours
|Dimensions||4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46 inches / 115 x 61 x 11.6mm|
|Weight||4.8 ounces / 135 grams|
E. Software Capabilities:
Full OS X
A. Market Statistics:
There have been over 100 million iPods sold. In 2006, the following amounts of systems were sold:
|Game Consoles||26 M|
|Digital Cameras||94 M|
|Mp3 Players||135 M with iPod having 80% market share|
|Mobile Phones||957 M|
Apple’s goal is to achieve 1% market share which is 10 M phones by 2008. They are going after the world market.
B. Value proposition
Intended for style-conscious cell phone consumers who would like to browse the Internet and enjoy entertainment to-go, the iPhone is a smart phone that combines a web browser, email, iPod and personal computer into a single, fashionable, easy-to-use device.
The following strategy canvas illustrates how the iPhone is differentiated from the BlackBerry Pearl (a s
C. Value Chain
The value chain below illustrates the context in which Apple delivers value to the customer with the iPhone:
D. Consumer Targets
Although the iPhone’s functionality would be attractive to business users, its price is considerably higher than that of Blackberries (~40% higher). This makes enterprise purchases unlikely, since businesses are typically price sensitive.
However, the iPhone’s compelling mix of features makes it attractive to a broad set of cell-phone consumers. The iPhone’s market is limited by two factors: 1) the high price ($499 for 4gb) and 2)Apple’s exclusive US carrier agreement with Cingular.
E. Total Addressable Market
Cingular customers who have iPods are the most likely early adopters for the iPhone. Assuming an uptake rate of 50%, this gives an estimate of 8.7 million customers.
|Cingular subscribers with iPod||30%||PiperJaffray estimate|
|Cingular subscribers with iPod||17.4||million|
|Uptake rate from Cingular iPod customers in 1st year||50%||assumption|
|Estimated uptake of iPhone by Cingular iPod customers in 1st year||8.7||million|
This first-year estimate is higher than the 5.8 M Cingular customers who currently own a smart phone costing more than $300. In contrast, the estimate is lower than Apple’s target of 10m customers.
GROWTH AND COMPETITION
A. Barriers to Adoption of iPhone
Since iPhone is only offered by Cingular, customers of other networks will have to wait until their contract expires, or pay an early cancellation fee (typically $200). The average duration of a cell phone contract is 2 years, which means that 25% of consumer’s plans will expire in the next 6 months. Since a $200 switching fee makes the iPhone very expensive, Cingular will probably have to offer discounted iPhone service bundles to entice customers to switch. Cingular would have to recoup this fee by selling value-added services.
B. Growth Potential
It is likely that future releases of the iPhone will not be restricted to Cingular. This would increase the potential market for the iPhone considerably: in 2006 there were 201.4m wireless subscribers in the US, compared to Cingular’s 58m subscribers.
Apple’s key competitor, Rhythm in Motion (RIMM) estimates the Total Addressable Market of its BlackBerry Pearl to be 84 million individual “pro-sumers” in the US.
Internationally, the cellphone market is much larger (1.8bn worldwide, IDC), and non-US iPhone sales are not restricted by the Cingular agreement.
C. Pricing Policy
By setting a high price point, Apple is adopting a skimming strategy, whereby it initially targets a narrow segment of the market with a high willingness-to-pay, as opposed to the mass market.
However, most handset prices decrease considerably after a year, sometimes by 50%. If Apple reduces its prices or introduces new models for price-sensitive consumers, then its sales could expand considerably. Since the iPhone has margins 30% higher than comparable smart phones, Apple has some opportunities to innovate with its pricing.
Currently it is hard to estimate a demand curve, since the iPhone is unlike any other device, and Apple is selling it to a new customer segment, cellular customers.
Unlike iPods, which are available through many retail channels, the iPhone will only be sold through Apple stores and Cingular stores.
E. Revenue model
Apple makes its revenues from selling the devices, not from revenue sharing from cell phone plans. Cingular will not be able to sell the iPhone at a discount through its stores to avoid cannibalization of Apple store sales.
With the iPhone, Apple is not only trying to break into already large and already well-established cell phone market, but is also trying to simultaneously reinvent people’s conception of how cell phones work and how to use one. In order to do this successfully it must overcome or navigate around several challenges.
F. Barriers to Entry
Apple not only had to face a number of barriers to entry in the development of the iPhone but they must also worry about potential competitors (Google, Microsoft) overcoming them as well.
Economies of Scale
Apple already had pre-existing experience in manufacturing mass-market consumer electronics devices, many of which share components of the iPhone; so Apple was not adversely affected by this barrier. New entrants, however, may not have that luxury and the cell phone market is almost defined by its mass-market (which requires mass production and consumption) nature.
Overall this trait sides favorably for Apple (right now) because the iPhone is significantly different than its nearest competitors. Apple also has a certain amount of protection through the strength of its brand identity. But this product differentiation can be emulated, to a certain degree. Cell phones, in general, are pretty uniform in functionality and use and thus not overly differentiated between each other.
Apple enjoys a slight advantage here, though it’s an advantage that may be quickly lost. The other cell phone manufacturers have a lot of experience making cell phones, but not necessarily software. So, to most effectively compete with the iPhone they will need to invest significantly in certain areas. And Apple also has a lot of experience making hardware, which gives them a head start on some other potential entrants into the cell phone market whose experience lies largely in the software realm. In this sense, Apple itself did not face much friction with this barrier because of their experience creating both software and hardware. Future competitors looking to enter the cell phone arena are less likely to have that advantage.
Cost Disadvantages Independent of Size
Apple has a number of manufacturing resources and channels available to it and was able to minimize the impact of this trait; though this would be a significant barrier to an aspiring entrant who did not have these qualities. Apple has, however, invested heavily in knowledge and experience which will take time for competitors to be able to emulate. Furthermore, Apple is in possession of at least one patent for the iPhone, which will give them short-term monopoly rights on some of its technology.
Access to Distribution Channels
While Apple was successful in gaining access to a distribution channel, they also tied themselves exclusively to a single cell phone network. Furthermore, the iPhone will be only available at Apple and Cingular stores and it is only supported by the Cingular network. Not only are they not able to sell to the cell phone market in its entirety but they are making it difficult for people to even purchase the phone. A future entrant into the market may be able to make their product available for multiple carriers and multiple retailers.
Two factors may work to keep competitors from entering this market: the strength of current players’ patents and the regulatory obligations and approval requirements of the FCC, which governs communication technologies (radio, television, wire, satellite and cable) in the United States. Apple applied and was granted a patent for the iPhone, which may help keep competitors from emulating their phone too closely, and are currently in the process of receiving FCC approval for the iPhone.
G. Supplier Power
Fortunately for Apple the iPhone is more than the sum of its parts. Arguably, the parts themselves are not that interesting as they are readily available from a number of sources and alternatives exist for most of the parts. What gives the iPhone its appeal is really the software that brings all these parts together and allows the user to interact with the phone in a compelling way. And Apple, of course, developed and owns the software. Further, given the barriers to entry outlined above, Apple has little to worry about forward integration from its suppliers. So, in this sense, Apple is not beholden to the whims of powerful suppliers.
H. Buyer Power
The buyers of the iPhone are somewhat more powerful, however. Broadly speaking the consumers as a group can be considered the principle purchasers of the iPhone, a claim that gains more credence given the fact that no large resellers will be selling the phone. And consumers tend to be susceptible to price sensitivity and alternative choices. Given the relatively high price of the iPhone it remains to be seen whether consumers will pay a premium for Apple cachet and technological convergence when their needs may be equally met by cheaper alternatives.
I. Threat of New Entrants
Ultimately the iPhone is going to face the most competition from imitators who can sell a similar or comparable device at a lower price. Most of these threats are going to come from established players in the cell phone industry (such as LG and Samsung) rather than companies trying to enter the cell phone market anew. This is not to say, however, that new entrants may not be around the corner. Software companies such as Google and Microsoft may pose a credible threat at entering the cell phone market and trying to carve a niche out for themselves. It has been rumored that Google has a team actively investigating such a move and Microsoft currently has a lot of experience creating software specifically for mobile devices. It remains to be seen, however, if either company will take the initiative to enter into the cell phone device market directly rather than content themselves with creating licensing software for cell phones.
The iPhone mainly distinguishes itself from competitors over its user interface which is driven by a multi-touch screen. Apple claims various patents relating to this technology. However, it is still likely that other players in the market will soon be able to deliver similar products. Synaptics and LG have already disclosed details of coming products which feature touch-screen interfaces, as well.
There are two major complements to the iPhone: cellular phone service and wireless Internet access. Phone service is currently entirely provided by Cingular, wireless Internet is provided through a Cingular data plan when no other/free wi-fi is available.
If “the value [of a product] to the user depends on the entire system” (Varian), then it is in Apple’s interest to commoditize phone and data services. Interestingly, there are no signs of Apple opening up the product to customers of other carriers. Although it is not entirely clear why Apple agreed to such an exclusive contract, it is likely due to both technical reasons (Apple being able to fine-tune the device to Cingular’s services, like visual voicemail) and marketing (though not confirmed, Cingular likely provides subsidization for the phone).
The iPhone does not bring about entirely new lock-in effects. Instead, its tied distribution with Cingular contracts reinforces the lock-in model of the cellular phone industry, and its integration with iTunes encourages users to buy music from Apple in the proprietary, iPod-exclusive AAC format.
In addition, Apple has begun distributing video content over its iTunes channel, and has introduced video-capable iPods in late 2005. These video files come in a proprietary format as well, so that users who buy digital media through Apple’s channels will find themselves in a data lock-in situation.
D. Network effects
Currently, while the iPhone distinguishes itself from competitors over its style and features, none of its features are specifically set up to promote a network effect among iPhone owners.
Apple has not yet indicated that they will open up the iPhone operating system to third party developers. However, taking this step would greatly benefit the phone’s usefulness: iPhone-specific applications which make use of its connectivity and user interface features could dramatically increase network effects for its owners (especially social games and applications).
In an interview, Steve Jobs indicated that Apple is unwilling to open up the operating system to third party developers.1 Jobs justifies this with possible security compromises for the network and concerns that the user experience might suffer if unapproved applications get in the way of crucial functions like telephony.
Network effects are more likely to develop for Cingular than for Apple. Having exclusive rights for an attractive product is more likely to attract more customers to the carrier, which in turn may work towards a network effect among all Cingular customers.
The iPhone does not support UMTS, a telecommunications standard of importance in Europe. While no announcement has yet been made about which cellular carriers Apple plans to partner with in Europe and Asia, this could potential limit their options.
The iPhone has several features that add to the strength of the product. These include its unique look and feel accompanied by a mobile operating system. It has phone sensors that work with the multi-touch screen, which is a new patented technology. These new features are presented to a large and loyal user base that Apple has accrued over the years. Additionally, marketing was given support from all over the internet, saving the company over 400 million in advertising fees. Finally, the fact that the company is first to deliver in this arena of computer phones is one of its greatest strengths
Like every new product, there are is a set of weaknesses. The iPhone is not a 3G device and will not work in technologically advanced countries such as Japan and Korea. All of their phones are 3G compliant. Several of the iPhone features are also not particularly impressive. These include the fact that it has a sub par camera, standing at about 2 megapixels as well as its memory not being removable. The phone is priced around 500 to 600 dollars and surveys have shown that 52% of consumers are happy with their current mobile device; essentially, this phone is geared towards the high end consumers. Apple’s choice of distribution channel has also been construed as a weakness as they’re limiting it to only Cingular and Apple retailers. Finally, its purpose is to be questioned – does the phone fulfill corporate duties or is it just an entertainment system.
There is quite a demand for a better mobile computing experience. The iPhone tries to combine both powerful computing as well as entertainment into one system. People have also noted that the Mac OS applications for desktop can be seamlessly adapted for the iPhone. Also, this is the first step towards an Internet Protocol-based network. The emergence of Wi-Fi networks is pushing for there to be visitor fees instead of having a provider lock in users. It is very likely for the device fees and pay-per-view system to take flight, eliminating the month to month subscription fee.
The majority of threats come from other companies including Nokia, Sony, and Google with their respective products. Smart phones are one popular example that stands to compete against the iPhone. The fact that these phones run on the 3G network also puts iPhone behind in the speed race. Although the economy is no longer in its volatile stages, the release of the iPhone is still in a time where people are cautious of spending money. The last threat is the Cisco vs. Apple trademark-infringement lawsuit that may or may not have taken away from the product launch steam.