The question was two-fold. Survive and prosper. Will it be Android or iOS? Apple’s iPhone 5S makes a strong case that Google’s Android platform is in danger, prosperity remains distant, and survival is at stake.
Differentiation Is Key
My personal take on the battle waging between Google and Apple and Microsoft and Samsung is that Android will indeed survive– for the short term.
Prosperity remains elusive for the copycat OS which powers about 80-percent of all modern smartphones.
Apple’s success with iOS devices– iPhone and iPad– has created a huge economic gulf; an extreme differentiation between Apple and the also rans of Microsoft, Nokia, BlackBerry, Google, as well as the remaining traditional PC makers.
Since the iPhone revolutionized the smartphone market Apple has garnered over $150-billion dollars in profits. Samsung has only recently attained a profit on the Galaxy smartphone line.
Meanwhile, that gulf of $150-billion has extended to perhaps $200-billion because both Microsoft and Google have only lost money on their respective smartphone and tablet ventures.
Money To Burn No More
It’s true that both companies have money to burn, and that’s exactly what has happened as both have devoted upwards of $25-billion each in a failed effort to gain a profitable foothold in smartphones and tablets.
The math of those losses cannot be maintained indefinitely. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer can vouch for that as he awaits retirement after overseeing the company’s failed mobile projects.
That the future of personal computing will be heavily dominated by mobile devices is obvious. What is less obvious is which technology companies will survive to have a future, and which will prosper along the way.
Samsung’s revenue and profits are about to take a huge hit as Apple moves component manufacturing to other vendors (those that choose not to compete directly against Apple’s products).
Meanwhile, Apple continues to differentiate the iOS product line, the first with a 64-bit platform for improved performance, the first to bring biometric fingerprint identity sensors to the masses, and much more; important events overlooked by the critics who worship at the foot of the marketshare shrine.
The Gap Ahead
Here’s what I see happening in the near future. Apple will move the 64-bit A7 chip into the iPad line, and segregate the line similar to the iPhone 5S vs. iPhone 5C. The high end will have the latest and greatest, including Touch ID, while the low end gets lower prices.
It appears that Google’s Android may not even make the jump to 64-bit, certainly not soon, so Apple’s devices will have a performance edge for years to come. Microsoft will become ever desperate to
remain become relevant in the mobile device space, spewing out cheaper products to gain a foothold, but competing head to head with Chinese device makers.
To me, Android customers fall into two distinct groups. The vocal technology pundits who love to tweak and root their devices and prefer ultimate hands on control over every aspect of their smartphone and tablet. And, the average user who just wants a phone that does email and browsing and a few games, but certainly doesn’t want to pay money for anything. That’s not a prosperous platform.
Apple’s future fits nicely between the two extremes. Microsoft is no longer a factor. Samsung is licking wounds.