Why the iPhone 4S Was Not For The Early Adopters

Its now been a few hours after the much anticipated iPhone announcement.  The upcoming  iPhone 4S has been announced and the general sentiment I’m seeing from those with a vested  interest in Apple (ie: Investors) and those who are fans of the brand (early adopters,iPhone users) is of general disappointment. No there aren’t any huge innovations. No the iPhone hasn’t been completely redesigned. Without a shiny object they all can swoon over of course they are disappointed. For Apple at this moment  though that’s not  really important. This launch wasn’t a showing of Apple’s latest and greatest. Simply put this launch was designed  for everyone else!

Keeping Up With Competitors:

Apple is smart in realizing that the market is making a small shift. Previously phones with single core processors were good enough but soon that won’t be the case. With competitors like LG and Samsung bringing out phones with Dual core processors, consumers consumers will see two things when they buy a new phone over the next year: phones with 2 cores and phones with only 1.

As a tech company, Apple needs to have this upgrade because when they are being compared to other high spec’d phones they definitely don’t want to be seen as one of the firms in the second column with only one core. What could it mean for Apple if they did? This would be seen as a slow weakening of the brand. For a company that has built a brand on being innovative to be seen as falling behind is a big deal and in this sense the iPhone 4S ensures that Apple in the short term is able to keep up with ‘the Joneses’.

Getting the rest of Consumers On Board:

In selling phones Apple is also  unique against its competitors that it sells just one brand. For a company in Apples standing only to have one phone means that the market  it can target is very limited. Much like the release of the iPhone 3GS  sold along side the iPhone 3, the addition of the iPhone 4S opens up a new product line for Apple which allows them to sell to different segments (along the lines of the “Technology Adoption Lifecycle‘).

Looking at this cycle its easy to see that Apple’s early adopters are already very settled into the iPhone 4 product line (as well as into multi-year contracts) and aren’t very likely to buy anything just yet. What the iPhone 4 will do is grab tech consumers  who need a phone now and  are neutral to what phone they get as long as its  the latest technology. They will see that Dual Core is the latest and greatest and in their research Apple hopes that these consumers will go its way.

Moving back down to the iPhone 4 this is a phone for those who are more so  in the middle ground and would probably be considered the Early or Late Majority. In their eyes they know that the iPhone is a solid product but they are a bit more sensitive to price and not as sensitive to technical specs. They like that they can get the iPhone 4 at a cheaper price and are willing to give up that its only about a half generation off of what the latest model is.

Last but not least is the iPhone 3GS which is the bottom of the barrel phone. Not to be mistaken as a bad phone, this phone is now considered aging and is primely targeted at the Late Majority and Laggards who don’t care for the latest and greatest technology but are more so price sensitive and will see having an Apple Phone as an added bonus to a purchase they make more so out of necessity.

Early Adopters and Apple Fans Will Have Their Turn:

As disappointed Apple Fans and early adopters are that they don’t  have a new shiny product they can swoon over, I think its safe to assume that come early 2012 (if not sooner) Apple will have some  new product announcements to make. Of course its key that for Apple to stay relevant they need to be constantly innovating and giving customers an opportunity to invest in its brand. Looking outside of this though  something just as  important for Apple to grasp onto is an expanded market share. By expanding its product reach along all lines of technology consumers  they ensure that a larger audience has its hands on their products and supply them with the incremental cash flow they need over the longer term.

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