Apple, the iPhone, and it's make it or break it moment
Today Apple is having an unveiling event. Where, it is expected, they will show off the next iPhone. For them I expect this to be the moment where they solidify their market dominance or begin the slow slide into mediocrity and obscurity.
Apple has been suing competitors left and right. They are insecure with their position in the market place and are seeking other means of staying dominate. As part of their lawsuits Apple has asked that several Android phones be banned from the United States. If Apple was confident in the iPhone's ability to compete with these phones then why ask for the ban. Their need to do anything and everything to keep buyers from seeing competitor's phones shows clear insight into how Apple see their position in the marketplace. Simply that the iPhone can't compete.
Recent iOS release have not been exciting. Apple hasn't introduced new features nor did they expand current features. They didn't introduce anything new. The most exciting new feature was notifications. Something that was a rip-off of Android's pull down notification window. If Apple want to maintain dominance they need to increase their install base. They need to sell more iPhones to Android users. And they won't do that unless they vastly improve iOS.
The iPhone hardware is a monoculture. For all intensives purposes it's the same hardware it's been for five years. Speed bumps, more ram and a different case don't make it a new phone. The biggest upgrade has been the retina display. Competitors are eating up the market by creating a variety of different phones for multiple categories. They have big phones, small phones, expensive phones, cheap phones. They have phones with 3D cameras, and phones with styluses. Apple needs to diversify it's hardware if it wants to fill these small niches and stay relevant. They need to get out of their ivory tower and and come down to where the people are.
Apple is scared, stalled and on the verge of losing an industry they created. The lawsuits show their insecurity. It's their poker tell. They know they need to improve their software and hardware, but will they. Will today be the moment they secure their place on top of the mountain, or the moment we all look back on as the beginning of the end.
Full disclosure: I own Apple stock.