Apple’s incremental iPhones break records: What’s next?

Apple has reported 'record breaking' sales for both iPhone 5c and 5S, over the first weekend. Why do the naysayers keep getting it wrong?

“The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting,” said Steve Jobs. “The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.”

When Apple’s founder and visionary made this statement, the company was going through a turbulent time during the late 1990’s. Today, their situation isn’t as bad, in spite of lagging behind the Android revolution and going through some serious trouble.

But technology experts are not happy with the purely incremental improvements we witnessed in the recent launch of iPhone 5c and iPhone 5S.

Apple’s stocks tanked 5.4% just a day after the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5S were announced. Pre-orders were closed, unlike earlier releases. This was enough to get the naysayers into action. Some might have wondered if Apple’s record breaking days were behind it.

And it sold 9 million iPhones!

Apple plays the marketing game cleverly well. The company announced a ‘record-breaking’ first weekend sale of 9 million units, without providing individual figures for each of the handsets’ sales. Additionally, the launch was worldwide. Apple’s stocks then jumped 6%.

The critics, the naysayers and the experts are left scratching their heads again.

Apple’s secret sauce

Why then, do people continue to line up to get their hands on the ‘iconic’ smartphones?

An Apple fan camping outside a store in London. Image credit:

The first reason is hard to miss: Steve Jobs’ charisma has remained alive. Apple fans think they own the Rolls Royce of smartphones.

That is not surprising, because Apple is backed by a glittering history of innovations: the 1998 iMac, 2001 iPod, 2007 iPhone and 2010 iPad.

The second reason is Apple’s strategy of locking in users to stay in their ecosystem. For instance, users accustomed to Facetime might sorely miss that app on Android phones.

Detractors think Apple is all about skin deep beauty and clever marketing spin. But supporters of Apple’s tight control of its ecosystem are impressed by the company’s cohesiveness, even if it means lagging behind equivalent Android phones by almost a year at times.

Will the craze last?

Steve Jobs' magic...continues to live on!
Steve Jobs’ magic…continuing to live on!

My short answer is “Yes”.Commentators predicted Apple’s doom when the newly launched iPhone 4 in 2010 evoked the infamous “Just don’t hold it that way” remark from Steve Jobs. Next, the iPhone 4S was criticized for being lackluster.

The iPhone 5 that emerged last year began life in the market as a sequel to a sequel. Soon after, big trouble was to hit Apple with the maps fiasco — even the die-hard fans have been upset. Motorists have been trapped in a snake-infested desert, or prompted to cross an airport runway!

Little could have been more embarrassing for Tim Cook than advising his customers to use the rival Google maps.

What about the future?

In the foreseeable future, Apple believers will continue to hire people to camp outside stores, or scramble for TV interviews to tell the world how it feels to be the first new buyer in the country. But will Apple showcase a new innovative product? The next wave of innovation, by the way, seems to be wearable technology.

Will Apple stand firm in a highly competitive market? Samsung today is aggressively working on new designs like flexible smartphones for the new generation of mobile technology — will Apple follow suit?

If Apple stops innovating, they’ll have to rely on members of their closed ecosystem to pay for newer gadgets. Inevitably, a steady decline could set in. Maybe Apple should heed a warning from some of their old competitors like BlackBerry and Nokia who declined by pursuing only incremental updates to their products while Apple was innovating its way towards becoming a giant.

What do you think?


Tushar September 26, 2013

So true. I think its a consolidation kind of phase they’re going through.
Sometimes you’re forced to go with what world needs while sudden changes might not be acceptable in short period & rightly so they now have two versions of an iPhone.
I guess, now they have one version of an iPhone which they can play with – change it – & also get ahead with an iWatch before this holiday season.

Naeem September 28, 2013

Who else knows that Steve Jobs used to eat at Hare Krishna Temple in his young age? It was told by him only in His Famous Stanford Speech.

Such a gentleman to accept it; no wonder we love his phone.

John Unger September 30, 2013

Wearable tech and ultra-cheap, disposable phones for the developing world seem to be two major markets for mobile tech, both of which have severe competition for Apple. I agree that locking users into their ecosystem has been a powerful tool as well, but after the Android revolution of the last couple of years, I wonder how much longer that can go on.