The iPhone has been our Golden Child for over two years and we’re much accustomed to reading how it’s setting this record, or breaking that record, or changing “the game” in some revolutionary way. I’m not complaining in the slightest — credit where credit is due — but by now all the plaudits have blended into a gentle, harmonious, background hum.
So, it’s a bit disjointing when a few errant notes are played out of tune. If you’ve managed to survive this disaster of a metaphor this far, you know I’m talking about Bad News. A few numbers-heavy reports this week present us with news that, if not entirely bad, is at least disappointing…
According to Electronista, NPD Group reported this week that the Blackberry Curve — of all things! — kept the iPhone 3GS (s aapl) from the title of first place handset in this summer’s smartphone handset sales in Northern America. Verizon’s (s vz) “Buy One Get One Free” deal is said to have been the culprit; it not only offered two handsets for the price of one but also lowered the average selling price of a ‘feature phone’ handset from the same period the previous year ($88 down to $85). The iPhone 3GS and the older 3G took second and third spots respectively, which is not too shabby considering they were only beaten-out on price.
More recently, Verizon’s wily ways have proven (again!) to be bad news for Apple’s smartphone. In its BrandIndex report last week, YouGov announced that Motorola’s Droid had a loyalty score of 29.3 among younger men, easily beating the iPhone’s score of 22. Why is Verizon to blame for Motorola’s success? YouGov say that loyalty scores for Motorola remain largely unchanged, so they attribute the success of the Droid to Verizon’s cunning ad campaign that has very openly criticised AT&T’s (s att) spotty 3G coverage and poured scorn on the iPhone, decrying its closed software platform, low-resolution camera and lack of multitasking ability.
Might not sound so bad, but consider that just prior to Verizon’s ad campaign, the iPhone’s loyalty score was running at a high of 48.1! It seems obvious that Verizon’s advertising was hugely effective; irrespective of whether or not the Droid is a superior platform, Verizon managed to significantly influence customer perception.
Hungry Hungry Handsets
It’s not all bad news, not really; according to a recent study conducted by AdMob and reported by Hardmac, the iPhone has captured 50 percent of the world’s 3G network bandwidth. Other mobile OS’s are trailing far behind it seems, with Symbian taking second place with 25 percent share. Android takes third place with 11 percent and RIM (s rimm) and Windows Mobile fail to make double digits.
I said it’s not all bad news, but the carriers might disagree with me. They’re suffering at the hands of smartphone-wielding customers and their bandwidth-hungry handsets. AT&T has been gradually upgrading its 3G network to try to cope with the added strain of millions of data-hungry mobile devices but it’s an expensive upgrade that will take years to complete. But, still — nice to know we iPhone users are being a nuisance and shaking things up a bit for The Man!