In the face of a global economic downturn, one thing you wouldn’t expect is for some of the most expensive smartphones on the market to grow in market share. And yet, that’s what Apple’s iPhone did.
Global smartphone shipments fell 9% in the second quarter of this year, according to a new report by Canalys (opens in new tab), but Apple’s market share rose from 14% to 17%. Granted, that’s still behind global leader Samsung, which has 21%. However, with the fall of Samsung, Apple rose. In addition, Canalys claims that demand for Apple’s iPhone 13 is still strong.
What’s going on here?
No one has ever called Apple “The affordable brand” or “The place to get your budget phone.” None of the iPhone 13 models, from the 5.4-inch iPhone 13 mini to the 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max, cost less than $699 (some cost more than $1,000). You could argue that Samsung’s flagships are so expensive, although Canalys claims that Samsung’s top spot is attributable to the way it “strengthened its low cost A Serie supply.” These phones can start as low as $350.
You could argue that this is Apple’s undeniable paycheck at work. People only want what Apple is selling because it’s Apple. I disagree. I would say there are six reasons why Apple is still winning while our pockets are losing.
Consistent, long-term software support
When you buy a new iPhone, it comes with the latest iOS version. An iPhone 13 purchased today will have iOS 15. One purchased in October this year, after the iPhone 14 is likely to be released, will have iOS 16. All supported versions of the iPhone will be able to upgrade to the new mobile operating system as soon as Apple is ready. available. In the Android world, this is always a question mark. New devices should be running Android 12, but may not be. And when Android 13 is released later this year, there’s no guarantee that all Android devices will immediately support or update to it. Apple just never makes you live with that uncertainty (until they stop supporting your really old phone).
Performance across the board
Apple is one of the rare phone makers that doesn’t play around with different mobile CPUs anymore. It is now offering the A15 Bionic on all iPhone 13 models (and even the iPhone SE). Android devices carry a wide range of mobile CPUs from Qualcomm and Mediatek. Older generation models and slightly less performance help keep products like the Samsung A Series in the affordable price range.
If you really want an “affordable” iPhone, you can opt for the $429 iPhone SE and still get Apple’s best mobile CPU.
Camera performance across the board
Since all these iPhones have the same CPU, they can do more with less. So photos taken with the decent, if unspectacular, camera from the iPhone SE will still look good, especially since you can still take portrait mode photos with a single lens. Once you get into the iPhone 13 lineup, you’ll see excellent dual and triple camera arrays. I won’t argue that Samsung consistently outperforms Apple in strength and zoom quality, but for overall image quality and processing, the iPhone still has the lead.
While Samsung is building a collection of quality connected devices, including its Samsung Galaxy S22 range, Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Buds, the software and its connections to other hardware such as smart speakers, streaming devices, tablets and desktops and laptops , aren’t nearly as strong and cohesive as what you find with Apple.
iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, watchOS, macOS, iCloud seem to be part of the same universe because there is a real synergy between these platforms and products. Sometimes it can be as simple as when you start typing a long passcode on Apple TV and the iPhone lights up to let you enter it more easily.
Each product is part of a larger whole because Apple is designing it that way. Samsung, Google and other Android companies are all trying to work in the same direction, but I think consumers can see they’re catching up.
The availability of Apple’s physical store is not only a real asset for Apple as it works to sell billions of new products, it is a benefit to customers as well. Not only does it provide quick, physical access to more Apple gadgets, but it’s also a destination for customer support and camaraderie. Recognizing that its stores are more than just retail destinations, Apple has turned them into something closer to community tech hubs. Microsoft has tried and failed to do this and Samsung and Google, while offering beautiful stores with similar amenities, do not have the same levels of vitality and utility.
I think it’s safe to say that iPhones retain their value. A recent visit to Gazelle (opens in new tab) finds iPhones dating back to the iPhone 6s still on sale (why would you buy an $84 6S when you can get an iPhone 13 mini for $589?).
Even with all this, Apple’s iPhone isn’t always winning. In late 2020, Apple was briefly No. 1 with roughly 20% market share, but it dropped in the summer of 2021 as customers waited for the iPhone 13.
My point is, though, that people will always come back to Apple and its high-value iPhone and not just the iconography or the ghost of Steve Jobs. They pay more because, in the end, they get more,