if connected

Strategy and analysis about mobile, smartphones, tablets and connected experiences

Apple SIM is a Test for Mobile Operators’ Main Business Model

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Apple SIM threatens to fundamentally change the relationship between mobile operators and users. Making it easy for users to switch carriers and tariffs from a device user interface removes barriers to consumer switching, makes market competition more efficient, and places pressure on operator revenues and profitability.

The software-managed Apple SIM model moves Apple into a mediation position because for operators to be present on the Apple SIM, operators must negotiate terms direct with Apple, rather than offering their own carrier iPad SIM direct to any end user.

With this initial iPad launch, Apple is testing the business model and technology of software controlled multi-operator SIM cards. If successful, Apple has a number of ways it will look to extend the Apple SIM strategy:

  • Extend Apple SIM to the iPhone. IHS forecasts Apple will be the second largest handset maker by shipment volume in 2014. If Apple offers Apple SIM on the iPhone because of this scale it will have enormous impacts on the business models of mobile operators.
  • Make Apple SIM the sole embedded SIM option on iPhone or iPad. Apple may choose to remove the SIM card slot entirely, and embed Apple SIM in future iPhones or iPads as the sole way to connect to mobile networks. In this event, operators will no longer be able to offer their own SIM cards to iPad or iPhone owners.
  • Lock consumers more into Apple-brand devices. If users have an Apple SIM which either only works with Apple devices, or is non-removable, then it is much harder for users to switch to a Samsung, Sony, Huawei, or HTC cellular device because the user will need to source a new SIM card for their new device. This will reduce churn from Apple device ownership.

Mobile operators’ business models centre on the SIM card. It anchors…

Read the rest of the analysis on the IHS Technology website

Written by Ian Fogg

October 17, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Apple risks new categories with iPhone 6 phablet and Apple Watch

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Our Analysis – iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus expands Apple’s reach

The iPhone acts as a critical bridgehead to acquire new customers, and as a foundation for new ventures such as Apple Watch and Apple Pay. The more new customers Apple can win the with iPhone 6, the greater the chance of success with the Apple Watch and Apple Pay. Apple is raising the competitive threat to other smartphone makers with a new stronger portfolio including two new large screen iPhones. By launching multiple products together, Apple is opening multiple fronts to build on the success of the iPhone to date….

Read the rest of the analysis on the IHS Technology website

Our Analysis – Apple aims to reset the wearable market and make 2014 year zero 

Apple aims to reset the wearable market and make 2014 year zero for wearables, as 2007 became the start of the true smartphone market because of the iPhone. But moving into a new category is a bold, expensive and risky effort. This Apple Watch is a first generation device, whether it is successful or not, Apple will aim to iterate and make it a must have companion for every iPhone owner. Apple Watch stands on the shoulders of Apple’s iPhones. Significantly, the addressable market for Apple Watch will…

Read the rest of the analysis on the IHS Technology website

Written by Ian Fogg

September 9, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Samsung seeks curved differentiation with Note 4 and Galaxy Note Edge

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Samsung has consistently led the market using the large smartphone category, ever since Samsung launched the first Galaxy Note in 2011. Then, no one believed in this smartphone form factor, and yet Samsung created a successful market category. But over the last three years the smartphone market has changed: Mainstream flagships have grown much larger, and as a result the Galaxy Note model is less differentiated than it used to be. Samsung still holds a leadership…

…As Android market leader, Samsung has most to lose from stronger Apple competition. With the Note, Samsung is choosing to emphasize the stylus as a way of countering Apple. This will not be enough. Samsung will have to spend to support its brand and operator distribution channels to maintain its market share.

Read the rest of the analysis on the IHS Technology website

Written by Ian Fogg

September 3, 2014 at 7:25 pm

Amazon must change tactics with its Fire smartphone to ignite the mobile market

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Amazon’s debut smartphone includes differentiated and technically impressive features, but none represent the game changer which Amazon needs to drive consumer adoption. The launch pricing also places the Fire in direct competition with the flagships of established smartphone market leaders Apple and Samsung.

This is a high risk launch price strategy which is unsustainable for a smartphone market entrant. Simply having a well-known brand on the box is not enough to sell smartphones as Nokia and Motorola know well. IHS expects Amazon will reduce the Fire’s price within months to make the Fire more attractive.

By launching on just one carrier, in just one country, Amazon is artificially capping its addressable market at a very low level: AT&T ships around 8 million smartphones each quarter, which is a tiny fraction of the global smartphone market. This year, over…

Read the rest of the analysis on the IHS Technology website

Written by Ian Fogg

June 18, 2014 at 7:57 pm

Amazon must innovate with its launch strategy to succeed with an own-brand smartphone

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Amazon is already a key player in the smartphone market through its widely used mobile apps including Kindle, Instant Video, IMDB, Local, Cloud Drive, and the main Amazon app which supports its retail business. These apps benefit from wide availability on many smartphone makers’ handsets and on different operating systems, including Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone.

Amazon’s mobile content has been successful because of this wide device compatibility which makes their content and services convenient for consumers to use. But were Amazon to launch an own-brand smartphone they risk alienating the many existing smartphone makers, which are the platform for Amazon’s current mobile content and services success to date…

…The smartphone market is fiercely competitive with numerous challengers to market leaders Apple and Samsung. It’s very hard to profit from making smartphones as a result. In this challenging smartphone market, Amazon must use both an innovative go-to-market strategy and create a differentiated product. To succeed with an own-brand smartphone Amazon must:-  …

Read the rest of the analysis on the IHS Technology website

Written by Ian Fogg

June 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm

Apple’s re-engineered iOS8 will entice app developers to make more iPhone exclusives

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iOS 8 will dramatically improve the competitiveness of iOS against the challenge of Google’s Android. The ability of third party iOS apps to offer services and features to other apps through iOS 8’s Extensibility system will counter two of Android’s core strengths: flexibility and customization.

Apple is smart to make this bold move now, while the iPhone has strong developer and user support instead of waiting until Android’s threat started to cut into the iPhone’s lead in app monetization and app developers changed their innovation priorities towards Android. Today, iOS generates four times as much app revenue per device as Android and app developers routinely pick iOS as their priority smartphone OS to target. The new iOS features will boost iOS’ monetization further and…

Read the rest of the analysis on the IHS Technology website

Written by Ian Fogg

June 3, 2014 at 7:38 pm

With Android Wear, Google kickstarts its wearable portfolio using its smartphone developer base

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Google correctly understands smart wearables require apps, content and services to deliver on the promise of a smart device. Consumers will not buy smartwatches to tell the time any more than consumers today buy smartphones just to make phone calls. By seeding the app development kit now, Google hopes to have a rich range of apps and services available by the time the first devices ship in the second quarter of 2014.

With Android Wear, Google offers a broad range of features. Consumers will not wear multiple smartwatches, one to act as an end point for smartphone notifications, another for maps, and a third for health and fitness.

Instead, a smartwatch platform must be able to do everything a consumer needs from a wrist-worn device. IHS tracks wearable and smart accessory apps by category: While health fitness is the largest category today, it represents just 28% of overall smart accessory apps. Other important categories include media playback control, imaging, games, and sport. Android Wear supports all of these types of apps.

By focusing on a notifications-based app experience for now, Google is making…

Read the rest of the analysis on the IHS Technology website

Written by Ian Fogg

March 20, 2014 at 7:43 pm