In the face of a global economic downturn, you wouldn’t expect some of the most expensive smartphones on the market to grow in market share. And yet that’s what Apple’s iPhone has done.
According to a new report from Canalys. worldwide smartphone shipments fell 9% in the second quarter of this year (opens in new tab), but Apple’s market share rose from 14% to 17%. Admittedly, that still lags behind world leader Samsung, which has 21%. But when Samsung fell, Apple rose. In addition, Canalys states that the demand for Apple’s iPhone 13 is still high.
What is going on here?
No one has ever called Apple “the affordable brand” or “the place to buy 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, are less than $699 (some are over $1,000). You could argue that Samsung’s flagships are just as expensive, although Canalys argues that Samsung’s top spot is down to how “its low-end A series deliver.” Those phones can start as low as $350.
You could argue that this is Apple’s undeniable cachet at work. People just want what Apple sells because it’s Apple. I do not agree. I’d say there are six reasons why Apple is still winning while our wallets are losing.
Long-term and consistent software support
When you buy a new iPhone, it comes with the latest version of iOS. An iPhone 13 purchased today will have iOS 15. One purchased later this year in October, after the iPhone 14 likely launches, will have iOS 16. Any supported iPhone version can be upgraded to the new mobile operating system once Apple releases it. available. In the Android world, that’s always a question mark. New devices should be running Android 12, but that may not be the case. And when Android 13 is released later this year, there’s no guarantee that all Android devices will support or upgrade to it immediately. Apple just never lets you live with that insecurity (until they stop supporting your really old phone).
Performance across the board
Apple is one of the rare handset manufacturers that no longer mess with various mobile CPUs. It now offers the A15 Bionic in every iPhone 13 model (and even the iPhone SE). Android devices have a wide range of mobile CPUs from Qualcomm and Mediatek. Older generation and slightly less performing models help keep products like the Samsung A series in the affordable range.
If you really want an “affordable” iPhone, you can go 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 iPhone SE’s decent, but unspectacular, camera still look good, especially since you can still shoot portraits with a single lens. Once you get into the iPhone 13 series, you’re looking at excellent dual and triple camera arrays. I won’t argue that Samsung consistently beats Apple in terms of zoom power and quality, but for overall image quality and processing, the iPhone still leads the way.
While Samsung builds a high-quality collection of connected devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S22 line, Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Buds, the software and the connections to other hardware such as smart speakers, streaming devices, tablets and desktops and laptops are not nearly as strong. and cohesive like what you find at Apple.
iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, watchOS, macOS, iCloud all feel like they are 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 entering a long passcode on your Apple TV and your iPhone lights up so that you can type it there more easily.
Every product is part of a bigger picture because Apple designs 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 to Apple because it works to sell you billions in new products, it also benefits customers. Not only does it provide quick, physical access to more Apple gadgets, but it’s also a destination for customer support and camaraderie. Apple recognizes that its stores are more than just shopping destinations and has built them into something akin to tech community centers. Microsoft has tried and failed to do so and while Samsung and Google offer wonderful stores with similar amenities, they don’t have the same levels of vibrancy and usability.
I think it’s safe to say iPhones hold their value. A recent visit to Gazelle (opens in new tab) thinks iPhones are going back to the iPhone 6s still on sale (why buy an $84 6S when you can get an iPhone 13 mini for $589?).
Even with all this, Apple’s iPhone doesn’t always win. At the end of 2020, Apple was briefly No. 1 with a market share of about 20%, but then it slumped through the summer of 2021 as customers waited for the iPhone 13.
My point, however, is that people will always come back to Apple and its precious iPhone and not just for the iconography or the spirit of Steve Jobs. They pay more because in the end they get more,