Why do I follow Apple? The company is interesting. Not only is there the rags to riches and storied history, Apple– among major technology gadget makers– truly approaches products and customers with a different perspective and a somewhat unique attitude.
There is a reason that today’s smartphones all look like the iPhone. There is a reason why the best personal computers running Windows also look like Macs. There is a reason the nascent tablet industry follows Apple’s iconic iPad design. There is a reason that Microsoft’s retail stores look just like Apple’s retail stores.
Apple has a big voice.
In fact, Apple’s voice is far larger than product marketshare would indicate that it should. Who follows HP or Dell? Who follows Samsung, HTC, or Lenovo? Yet, Apple has hundreds of websites that specialize in, well, for lack of a better phrase, following Apple. Why? Apple has a voice bigger than the company’s marketshare.
Lies, damned lies, and statistics being what they are, good numbers are not easy to come by, but a general consensus says the Mac’s overall PC market share runs around 10-percent or so, which pales in significance to Windows. Yet, Apple’s Mac also accounts for about half the PC industry’s profits, and it’s the trendsetter device that others copy rather than pay for an R&D department.
The same thing holds true with iPhone and iPad. For the former, estimates tell a sad tale of sorts, whereby iPhone holds about 15-percent marketshare worldwide (Samsung is about 25-percent) among hundreds of manufacturers. Yet, Apple owns the profit share lead at about 90-percent. And, every smartphone of significance looks like an iPhone. It’s just easier to copy an iPhone’s design than it is to worry about Research and Development, right?
Apple’s big voice in the technology industry means it has an oversized presence relative to marketshare and unit sales. But that doesn’t mean Apple is a niche player and it’s not likely to fall into that status anytime soon.
Count the customers. Google claims Android OS has more than 1.6-billion devices in use around the world, the vast majority of which are inexpensive smartphones which are used more as feature phones than how iPhones are used. Here’s where I have trouble with the common math used by researchers who love marketshare. Apple claims to have around 1.1-billion iOS devices in use.
Something is wrong with the math. Combined, Android and iOS would appear to have about 2.7-billion customers, and those are Google and Apple numbers, respectively. That puts Apple’s iOS marketshare at around 40-percent. See the disparity? 15-percent marketshare seems to me to be less than 40-percent marketshare.
Apple’s voice in the industry is big because Apple’s presence in the industry is bigger than many researchers, critics, watchers, and competitors think it is. It’s math.