Home / Opinions / Has The Apple Rumour Mill Gone Too Far? / Has The Apple Rumour Mill Gone Too Far?

Has The Apple Rumour Mill Gone Too Far?

As CCS Insight analyst John Jackson neatly put it: "Apple is in that rarest of all positions where the Street will punish them for anything less than an excess of success. If there's a positive spin on the iPhone story, it is one of latent demand."

Latent demand may be the consequence of romanced customers who believe what is around the corner will solve all their problems, but it is a trend Apple will hope isn't exacerbated. Predictable 'slumps' (if the Q3 figures can be seen in such a way) aren't good long term, but Apple can't shift from marketing practices so closely tied to its identity. The Apple Store must continue to needlessly go down when adding new products, a veil of absolute secrecy must be maintained to ensure excitement and build demand, keynotes must stick to a smug, drawn out formula of show and tell. And Apple will be fine… unless someone starts doing it better.


That someone may just be Samsung. Strategy Analytics this week announced the Korean giant shipped 51 million smartphones worldwide between March and June - the largest amount by a single vendor in history. Furthermore just 12 months ago Samsung shipped just 20.2m representing a 150 per cent gain. Of course Apple will think "this is ok, we aren't purely about volume" but Samsung is also coming close to Apple's famous hype.

In the run up to the launch of the Samsung Galaxy SIII the rumour escalated to iPhone levels: fans mocked up images, components were uncovered in blurry photographs and expectation went through the roof. The result: 10 million shipped SIIIs in under two months. If it can keep the momentum up and hit over 15m in a quarter Samsung will have a single model achieving 75 per cent of Apple's iPhone 4 figures last year. What's more Samsung has handsets at every price point and a less predictable release schedule - latent demand seems unlikely.

one more thing

All the while Samsung and Apple continue to battle in court and legal rulings see Apple secrets brought out into the open. This week it was early iPhone and iPad prototypes, days before it was 58 per cent iPhone profit margins - all of which serve only to kill the mystery of the company's famous design process and make us angry about the prices we pay.

Make no mistake Apple is not trembling, such margins alone guarantee the iPad remains hugely dominant and iOS still woos most developers. What has been unearthed for the first time, however, is Apple's rhetoric is developing a distinct downside, a sense of stale predictability and this addition is far beyond 'one more thing'…


July 29, 2012, 4:24 pm

Part of the problem Apple have with the "Osborne effect" is that they fix their prices for the lifetime of the product. A Macbook or an iPhone bought 11.9 months after release is exactly the same price as on the day of release.

This means that instead of the price gradually lowering during the life of the product keeping sales up (like almost every other product!) as people go "I could get the new one when release, but the older one is cheaper" they instead go "why pay full price for something that's superseded shortly?"

I know a number of people who have held off buying Apple products for that exact reason!

Take a look at something like the Galaxy Note, for example, which was released with a huge £599 (or thereabouts) price tag. It's now £398 on Amazon SIM-free while the iPhone 4S is still the same ~£500 it was at release.

When Apple releases a new product, it almost always costs the same as the product it replaces, with the older model reducing in price. Why pay full price when the new model is out soon?

tl;dr version: Apples pricing policy is to blame for their lack/slowing of sales near to refresh time just as much as the hype engine.


July 29, 2012, 7:28 pm

Or simply competition from Android is beoming fierce and people are not holding out for Apple products... I'm certainly not.

I can see the Nexus 7 taking a huge chiunk out of iPad sales. Next quarter will tell us more.


July 30, 2012, 12:03 am

I think there was a time, during the Job's era, when Apple's secrecy worked in its favour. The iPhone & iPad launches were better because we didn't know most of the details.

However, now it seems each "Special" event is about a new, slightly improved model like the iPhone 4S or iPad 3 - and what's exciting about that?

The great thing about Apple was when it launched products that redefined their market, like the original iPhone and iPad. I'm just wondering if Apple - post Jobs - still has that ability, or will it now be about refreshing old designs, adding slightly new features each year?


July 31, 2012, 6:28 pm

This is a really good point. The flip side is fixing prices means people don't simply wait 3-4 months to get things cheaper, they are mentally prepared for paying the full price until it gets very close to the next model.

There is a lot of benefit to Apple's approach, but I think for the first time it is starting to feel some of the downsides too.


July 31, 2012, 6:29 pm

True, though iOS marketshare just rose against Android in last month's figure. That said I think the Nexus 7 and all post-Nexus 7 Android tablets will be significantly more appealing than what went before - the bar has been raised. Whether Apple responds with a 7in iPad (and at what price) remains to be seen.


July 31, 2012, 6:31 pm

They certainly seem to be in the Intel 'tick/tock' approach of new design one year then modification of it the next. Whether that is sustainable or it feels the need to switch we don't know. If it did radically reinvent the iPhone each year then I suspect accessory makers, particularly cases, charging stands, etc would suffer. At present they at least know they are getting two years worth of safety (probably 3 with previous generations now regularly used as entry level models).

iPhone 5 then 5S? I'd think so.


July 31, 2012, 7:07 pm

I agree with all of the above, the fact Apple is seen as the best of the best in terms of Design must be hard to keep up on a yearly basis by a company. Look at the dissapointed customers when the 4S came out. The only thing it didn't have that the rumours had talked about was the redesign in shape and size. It still ended up being a huge seller.

My only concern is I think Apple seem to concentrate on functionality a little too much with IOS, the standard icon grid layout is starting to look really dated. Google's approach seems to be more focused on the look and feel.

I guess if apple started to look at changing it though to what customers want I can see Google suing apple for patent/copyright issues. Your IOS screen supports widgets you stole that idea...

As an Ipad 1, Ipad 3, 2011 Macbook pro, iphone 4s, user I love my Apple products but they're not perfect. I also have Samsung Galaxy S2. (S3 arriving this week).

I love my Notification center capablilites in android, and its a shame I rely on a jailbreak to get something as simple as SBSettings.

My only issue with android is the time it takes for updates to arrive after Google releases new versions. The time also hypes everything up so by the time I do get the update I'm disappointed. So that is where IOS has Android beat, IOS 6 will still be available on the 3GS! I doubt the next version Android will be release for S2, we're lucky Jelly Bean will be according to the rumour mill.


July 31, 2012, 7:58 pm

RE Gordon: Isn't the recent relative rise in iDevice sales due to the questionable sales bans on the Android competition over the past few months?

comments powered by Disqus