Mobile strategy – iPhone should factor but certainly not dominate.

Published 21st October

Apple’s push into the mobile market has been interesting – some say a game change – they have certainly shaken the market up, but have they really delivered the results? If only they had sold as many devices as column inches that they have achieved.

There seems to have been a global obsession with the iPhone. From the moment of first launch back in the summer of 2007 the iPhone has been headlining, the fixation still continues today. Apple has yet again demonstrated that it is a remarkable media machine. The iPhone receives a disproportionate amount of attention from the media, mobile industry and businesses alike.

Rather than being an explosive entrance the iPhone has seen a very steady growth to date and is likely to continue to do so. The iPhone today has very low single digit penetration in every market that it is sold. Since launch we believe that globally Apple has sold in the region of 34 million devices. If you are to factor in devices upgrades it could be safe to suggest that 2/3rd of those devices are active, or just over 20 million. In the UK that would mean less than 1 million active devices. Apple is a very small player.

An interesting element is that iPhone users make up a high percentage volume of mobile Internet activity. A sign of where the market is going. The masses will become prolific users of mobile Internet services. A stimulant the increasing number of devices that provide simple access the mobile Internet and lower costs associated to mobile data consumption. The majority are unlikely to be iPhone users, they will be owners of devices from one of the top five handset manufacturers.

Talk mobile to those looking to develop a mobile presence they all seem fixated with developing an iPhone application as a priority. This is equivalent to the Blackberry effect from three to four years ago. Despite the disproportional cost, those developing applications had to deliver Blackberry variants as a priority as that was the device the Executives typically used. The iPhone is a showcase opportunity, to demonstrate what can be done and gain engagement. It is not a mass market play. For those looking to develop a mobile strategy the iPhone should factor but certainly not dominate.

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