Monday brought a lengthy laundry list of OS updates from Apple. macOS Sierra, watchOS, tvOS, and of course iOS for iPhone and iPad, got the latest updates; mostly bug and security fixes, but nothing special.
Why not special? Because Apple’s customers bathe in the luxury of frequent OS upgrades and updates; all free, all easily implemented, and most work as expected with new features and functions and fixes. Compare Apple’s system to improve each gadget with Windows or Android, both of which leave the vast majority of customers in the darkness of the upgrade abyss.
Great Unwashed Masses
This upgrade system that Apple employs has been around awhile and is honed to near perfection (with the occasional glitch; after all, Apple has a billion customers on many, many different devices) and stands in stark contrast to what other gadget owners experience. It’s also one of a few business operations which set Apple apart from competitors. More on the second one after the first.
My household is loaded with products of all kinds; most everything Apple makes, but a few Windows PCs, a couple of Android-based devices, and more. Only one of the Windows PCs has been upgraded to Windows 10. None of the Android devices get the current OS. Yet, after just a few minutes on Monday, every Mac, every iPhone, every iPad, and both Watch and Apple TV were updated to the latest versions. Flawlessly.
Apple just makes that process too easy for nearly 1-billion customers, and competitors have yet to copy what the company does very well– the customer experience. Consider this: a few months ago I upgraded my iPhone 6s Plus to iPhone 7 Plus under Apple’s iPhone Upgrade Program. I walked into the store, asked for a specific model and color, which arrive a few moments later. The new phone was setup completely and activated in minutes without having to swap a SIM card. The old phone was wiped clean, stuffed into a bag and sent off to Apple India or some place to be reused. A friend came with me and upgraded from an iPhone 6 Plus to an iPhone 7 Plus and received $225 credit. For a two year old phone.
Who else does that and makes such a system available for so many customers?
Apple’s iOS 10 has been out since late summer 2016 and nearly 75-percent of iPhone and iPad users have upgraded to the latest. Compare that to Android’s latest OS, Nougat. Total market penetration remains in the low single digits. Even the previous version, Lollipop, from more than two years ago, has captured 30-percent market penetration, thanks mostly to new phones sold, not old phones upgraded.
That upgradability is one important factor that Apple maintains with customers that competitors do not.
Another has to do with a comparison of marketshare to profitshare. Apple does poorly– kinda– in the former, but leads the industry in the latter and that’s because there is a false equivalency going on with those who track such things. Android is an OS while the iPhone is a smartphone. They are not the same. But let’s make them the same. That changes the comparisons. For example, compare iPhone’s marketshare of 15-percent with Samsung’s 24-percent. Other smartphone makers have their marketshare, too, and with the exception of specific countries, most fall below Apple, and well below leader Samsung. When one compares marketshare by product, Apple fares very well and the nattering nabobs of negativism are put in their place.
Now, compare profitshare, where Apple manages to obtain more than 90-percent of the entire smartphone industry’s total profits. It’s been that way for years. One can look at every product Apple makes and see how it competes with other brands, and determine quickly that the company competes well in marketshare– brand to brand, not product to operating system (because Apple does not sell an operating system)– but even better in profitshare, and leads in every product category.
So, how is it again that Apple is in trouble? What does the Apple is doomed meme stand upon? It’s not math.