Phones How does Apple do this?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by bmac4, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. bmac4 macrumors 68040

    bmac4

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    #1
    As we all get prepared to see Apple reveal a new iPhone, and most of us believe it will be the 5s. I have a question. How does Apple sell millions upon millions of iphones, and then a year later release an S model that sales millions upon millions? No other phone manufacturer does this. The S model is aways just a spec bump with a couple of features Apple says the old phone can't do. Last year we had Siri that no other Apple device had at the time. I am a huge tech guy that loves having the latest and greatest, but even when I had my iphone 3g I saw no reason to get the 3gs. I waited until the 4 came out. Now someone in the forum told me that the only reason they has the S models was because there old iphones broke and were out of warranty. I can understand that upgrade.

    Beyond the fact that the phone looks just like the older model. If you are like me with At&t you have to pay the upgrade fee plus $250 to upgrade early to an iphone. I just cannot see paying $450 on contract each year for an S model.

    No other phone manufacturers have this practice. They always give us a bit of design up at the least. Let's look at the galaxy phones. Each galaxy S model has been a design change, and up until the S4 it has been a pretty big one. I understand none of these phones are as popular as the iphone, but still the companies that make them at least update the look of the phone.

    Why does Apple do this? What makes you guys that do upgrade each year want to have the new S model? It kind of makes me think Apple holds out on some of the specs on the first redesign model, and them puts it all into the S model. Makes people want a new phone. I like Apple and understand a lot of what they do with the iphone, but this just kind of blows my mind. I guess more so the customers that buy into this than Apple. Apple is selling millions of each of these iphones why would they stop making S models?
     
  2. roxxette macrumors 68000

    roxxette

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    #2
    Well i upgraded my iphone 4 with a 4s when they released just because of the 64gb option; im sure a lot of people did the same plus finally whe got the white model too.

    Apple seems to tell people they have to upgrade everytime something new comes lol they do it in most of the products they sell, ive seen people that upgrade imacs and macbook every damm year :eek:

    With the 5s i assume the people that are in the 4s cycle will upgrade if they havent go with android plus the usual new smartphone user.
     
  3. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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    #3
    I am on the GS cycle - when my contract comes up for renewal, the latest iPhone available has always been the S-series. However, unless the 5S has a larger screen, I might skip it and wait for a year since the 4S is such a great phone for my purposes. Indeed, my 3-GS is still going strong in spite of the abuse it takes from my teenage kid.
     
  4. TheAppleFairy macrumors 68020

    TheAppleFairy

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    #4
    Well I have the 4S, and didn't upgrade to the 5. Will probably upgrade to the 5S when it's sold unlocked from Apple.


    Assuming NFC will be added, I will definitely buy it. If they don't add it, it's 50/50.
     
  5. cynics macrumors G3

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #5
    I like the S models because its like a perfected version of the non S with better software.

    Look at the 4 vs 4S vs 5 software wise. The 4S got Siri, the 4 didn't. Then the 5 came out and got navigation and the 4S did as well. Actually the 4S got all the software the 5 has.

    A slightly taller screen and LTE. Easy for me to pass on. I'll likely get the 5S depending on software upgrades.
     
  6. Fernandez21 macrumors 601

    Fernandez21

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    #6
    I think people over estimate how many people upgrade yearly. I only know one other person who has upgraded their iPhone yearly, and we both do it because we can sell our old phone for enough money that we can upgrade only paying a small fee.
     
  7. bmac4 thread starter macrumors 68040

    bmac4

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    #7
    You make think it is a small number, but look at the sales. There is no way just people updating their phones every 2 years are buying the S model. The numbers are just too high for that. We would be talking well over 100 million people buying iphone. I think it's more like 50 million and about 20 million of that buy every year. Just look at these forums. People post all the time about getting the new iPhone every time they come out.

    ----------

    Yea, but you don't buy an iphone each year do you? I understand that people like being on the S cycle, but why can't Apple just release a new design each with the most up to date specs and next year redesign again? That is what every other company does.

    ----------

    Also something that bothers me about this is when they make an S model they leave the older model behind. Sure it gets the newest ios, but features like Siri never go oh the old device. I buy most of the nexus phones each year because it is a redesign. Now I still have my gnex which has all the features that the nexus 4 has. It may have come a little behind the nexus 4, but I got them. Google is not trying to tell their nexus customers they need the latest phone to have all the features. I guess this is Apple's way of trying to get people to upgrade each year.
     
  8. Oohara macrumors 68020

    Oohara

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    Jun 28, 2012
    #8
    The people I know that upgrade with every new model are those that have a lot of cash and can afford to treat their iPhone like a fashion item. Because that's what it is to them. It's not really the strong geeky urge for the latest tech that drives them, but simply the thing of having the latest model. Like when you go buy a new suit jacket for £500 because the one from six months ago isn't the latest thing anymore, not because you actually need a new suit jacket.

    And these are the type of customers that Apple have to a much greater extent than any other phone/OS manufacturer. I think a lot of people don't comprehend just how strong their brand is. It signifies style and reliability in a way that no other mobile phone or OS manufacturer even comes close to, and this is why well-off people in general choose Apple and iPhones. And why Apple is able to sell so many phones that have little more than the last model to offer beyond an 'S' at the end of the product name.

    As for getting away with several iterations of the iPhone using exactly the same design, well, I have to say that as long as they don't want to change the dimensions of the thing to accomodate for a larger screen, the design stays the same because it is so damned well done in the first place. The Galaxy S3 to S4 update for instance features a design change because it was direly needed, and the design of the S4 is much more harmonious. But the iPhone 5S won't need to look any different from the 5 whatsoever, because what would you change on the 5 really, unless the screen were to get bigger? (And I'm saying this as someone who didn't get all that turned on by the 5 - but I still acknowledge the remarkable degree of coherence in Ive's design.)
     
  9. cynics macrumors G3

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    #9


    Yes, you are correct. I typically use a device until it breaks, gets too far outdated to be useful, or a killer new feature is released on a newer version.

    In regards to my post it was more of a defense toward the S model. If every year the phone was changed entirely then there wouldn't be an S model. But I think apple can get away with that because there designs are pretty good. If a 4SS came out tomorrow that was a 4S with a faster processor, more ram, NFC, etc etc cool new software etc in the 4S shell I'd be very interested. If it had a bigger screen on the 4S frame (less bezel) I'd leave work early to go get one.

    So that's the "how" apple can do it.

    The "why" is obvious. They can produce the same phone for 2 generations with just upgrades. There is little need for retooling machines, retraining works, using other factories to supply different models, and everything that goes along with that.

    They can save an incredible amount of money by doing that. This plus the lack of some of the newer tech and sensors and stuff is why they can turn such a high profit.
     
  10. bmac4 thread starter macrumors 68040

    bmac4

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    #10
    So you think the iphone could not get any better than it is now with the design? I kind of see it differently. I think the iphone 3g and 3gs were better looking in terms of shape. I do like what they did with the back being aluminum and glass, but I just don't like the rectangle design of the phone. I like it a lot better when it was more round. I don't think I am the only one that feels this way.

    In regards to the S3 needing a redesign. I again am not so sure about that. It looked pretty good and sold like crazy, but after the phone had been out for year they felt they need a new design to keep people interested. I think it has more to do with the name Apple than anything. People will buy Apple no matter what it is.

    I just think Apple could do away with the S model and just sell new designs each year.

    ----------

    You are right it does keep cost down by using the same phone design for 2 years. Like I said it is working so why change. Just from me as a consumer I would rather see new updates each year.
     
  11. cynics macrumors G3

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    #11
    I would if I had the new model. But I kind of like the minimal change of the next model or two because I don't feel like I need to upgrade. That's pretty shallow of me I know but its nice having a 4S knowing aside from screen size and speed I'm not missing out on anything.

    Of all my friends and family nearly all have iPhones however only 2 have the iPhone 5. The only reason is because it was their first iPhone. If the 5 was more of a redesign or offered something their/my phone doesn't have we/I may have upgraded. The S model is even worse for some, because it looks the same.

    Personally I think iOS is the bottleneck of iPhone redesign. Just changing the screen from 3.5" to 4" was a nightmare for app developers. Never mind additional hardware required for NFC or additional sensors. More then likely only native apps would be allowed to use such things due to security reasons. There are certain apps now that seem like they are fighting iOS just to have basic functionality. Dropbox for example, "automatic" upload requires you to open the app and possibly more steps. In other mobile OS's you take a picture and it uploads to Dropbox. Now which one of those is actually automatic? My manual transmission car automatically goes into gear once I shift it there....
     
  12. Oohara macrumors 68020

    Oohara

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    #12
    Well, like I said I'm not totally in love with the 5 myself and of course anything can be improved. And whether the aesthetics of a design are good or not is ultimately a subjective matter. But my point is that the design of the iPhone is of such high quality that they don't need to update it. People will still buy the phones.

    In the case of the S3, again it's subjective of course, but to me that design is further from what we might call a generally perceived impression of aesthetic harmony, which in turns signifies reliability and quality. It just has too many arbitrary elements, the worst of which is the unbalanced position of the home button on the "chin" of the phone. Just compare it to the same spot on the S4 - the new design is much more balanced. Again, I respect your taste if you don't agree and this is still subjective, but I think in general people will find the S4 more elegant. Still not as elegant as the iPhone 5 though - and I'd wager the general opinion will agree.

    I agree that to some extent people are buying "Apple no matter what it is", but I don't think that's the whole story. They still have a leg up on design quality and will continue to attract the wealthier and more style oriented customers because of that.

    Samsung are improving though, and I think they might be on their way to finding a kind of sweet spot between style and versatility where a lot of iPhone users will go for Galaxy phones because they want that extra depth of functionality and don't think the iPhone is that much better looking anymore. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the S4 and 5S do compared to each other this year.
     
  13. jrswizzle macrumors 603

    jrswizzle

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    #13
    The answer to this question is very simple:

    The vast majority of smartphone owners upgrade when their carrier allows them, which is generally every 18 months or so - therefore Apple is targeting all those who have had a 4S for almost two years with the 5S.

    Those who upgrade every year (those who would be on the 5 after having a 4S) are doing so for various reasons, so Apple gets them as well.

    There are more than enough iPhone users in these targets without catering to those who are upgrading on the 3G - 4 - 5 cycle.

    This could change in the future, but I don't see any issue with the way it is now. It's not like there are any HUGE hardware features that MUST be added ASAP.....

    As others have mentioned, it also likely saves Apple some money and helps supply line efficiency (even though generally every iPhone model is tweaked quite a bit internally - from new components, to different arrangements etc.).

    You may think they are using the same components/design, but they aren't.
     
  14. bmac4 thread starter macrumors 68040

    bmac4

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    #14
    So I think the iphone 5 is one of the best looking phones ever made, but it is not the best phone to hold for me. I thought the 3g was way more comfortable in the hand. Sure I phone can look good, but I think it has to feel good in the hand. I have a note 2 and the curves of it make it much more comfortable to hold. That is one reason I am not a big fan of the rectangle design. Like you said it all comes down to what people like for themselves.

    I understand people hating on the plastic of the galaxy phones. People also want to talk about build quality of the galaxy phone compared to the iphone 5. This I think is were Apple kind of has a positive and negative. Sure it looks great and can be dropped without cracking most of the time, but scratching and denting are huge issues. You don't get that with the galaxy phones. Sure they feel a bit cheaper, but really I think they did it for a reason.
     
  15. bmac4 thread starter macrumors 68040

    bmac4

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    #15
    Yea I understand people upgrade for different reasons, but let's look at it this way. I have the iphone 5 which the newest design and newest ios. The iphone 5s will have the same look, but will be a bit faster I guess. I am not sure how much faster the phone can get. The iphone 5 is crazy fast. There will mostly likely be some new features like siri or something that the S will have that 5 does not have or will get. Is that enough to upgrade a phone?

    From that side of things it just does not seem logical.
     
  16. Michael Goff macrumors G3

    Michael Goff

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    #16
    All companies do a spec bump, and they all sell in rather large amounts.

    When it comes to hardware, even the S4 is just a spec bump.
     
  17. bmac4 thread starter macrumors 68040

    bmac4

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    #17
    The phone looks different. How is that a spec bump? Yes things like the camera are just a bump, but when you change the look of the phone it becomes more than a spec bump.
     
  18. Michael Goff macrumors G3

    Michael Goff

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    #18
    [​IMG]

    They don't really look all that different.

    >_>;
     
  19. Menel macrumors 603

    Menel

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    #19
    4 to 4S was huge.

    Went from single core CortexA8 architecture CPU, to the next generation dual core CortexA9. New microarchitecture and introduced multi-threaded. This is huge from a end user responsiveness and performance stand point. Way bigger than 4S -> 5.

    5MP camera, to 8MP with more sophisticated lens elements.

    Siri? sure. There is a new audio processing chip, many wonder if it contributed.

    Top and bottom dual split, dual antennas for diversity mode.

    And a slew of other less interesting features.

    4S is more like the 5, than it is to the 4.
     
  20. bmac4 thread starter macrumors 68040

    bmac4

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    #20
    No not that much, but there were some upgrades. It gives people something new to look at. If I have my iphone 5 for a year, and then get the 5s the design just gets kind of old after a while. To me at least.
     
  21. Oohara macrumors 68020

    Oohara

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    #21
    Of course ergonomics may be important to the functioning of the device, but I think what matters most to Apple is having a premium look and feel. Premium - as in looking fancy, expensive and stylish. And this is where the iPhones excel.
     
  22. bmac4 thread starter macrumors 68040

    bmac4

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    #22
    Ok so a lot of specs were increased over the 4. My question is was that worth paying $450 for a 16gb iphone 4s on contract? I just can justify that. Do you think the 5s is going to do the same thing?

    ----------

    Really you think Apple cares more about the look than the feel of the phone? That is a really interesting point of view. I hear so many people talk about how a phone feels in hand I thought most people cared a lot about it, but maybe they don't maybe you are right. I know people buy iphones because it is a statues symbol, but kind of interesting to think maybe Apple caters to those people.
     
  23. Menel macrumors 603

    Menel

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    #23
    1. Depends on priorities, that's upto you. For me? no.

    2. No. In the mobile space, the 4S's CPU was powerful, nothing is dragging it down except or maybe the one off extreme game. 5's A6 is overkill. There is no reason for Apple to 2x the CPU again, and there would be no gain from a user perspective for todays or forseeable future apps. I won't say never, but for the next 2-3 years we don't need number crunching increases.

    Now... if they doubled, truely doubled the battery life or even +50%'d it. That could be niiice.
     
  24. Oohara macrumors 68020

    Oohara

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    #24
    No, I think they care a lot about how it feels in the hand. I just think they prefer it to feel expensive rather than ergonomically correct :)

    ----------

    Please don't ever try to become an industrial designer :p
     
  25. bmac4 thread starter macrumors 68040

    bmac4

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    #25
    Yea if they double the battery life that would grant an upgrade to me. Just a spec bump what the crap for. My iphone 5 blazing fast. What would you need more power for? Also what more could they do with the camera it is pretty darn good now too? That is what made me ask this question was I don't really get an upgrade each year on the iphone.
     

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