Apple's new iPhone 5 is a case study in incremental improvement. Nearly every aspect of the product -- the CPU, display, cameras, radio modem, size, weight, etc. -- are all improved over the iPhone 4S and at the same $199 price point. No doubt, the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 will sell millions of units, preserve Apple's momentum, and hold off the competition, but significant threats are mounting that Apple cannot afford to ignore:
Nokia is delivering Apple-quality innovation. As Nokia demonstrated last week at its Lumia 920 event, Nokia's innovation engine is firing on all cylinders. When the Lumia 920 launches (rumored for November 2), it will outclass the iPhone 5 in key areas such as imaging (PureView imaging, Cinemagraph) and location (Maps, City Lens, Transit) as well as bring wireless charging and NFC into the mainstream. While the breadth of accessories will be nowhere near what the iPhone offers, Nokia gets strong marks for showing Apple how NFC can enhance the accessory experience.
Quick review: iPhone launches in 2007. CIOs don't care. I perk up. 2008. Apple launches App Store and Exchange ActiveSync support. CIOs start to wake up. Kraft's Dave Dietrich uses iPhone to revitalize Kraft's technology culture. As a software developer, my spidey senses start tingling. 2009-10. Apple adds hardware encryption, hooks to device management suppliers like MobileIron and Good Technology and Boxtone, a hundred million customers, and oh yeah, CEOs start bringing Christmas iPads to work and asking for email support. 2011. Apple App Store really picks up steam. (Android does, too.) iPad at work reaches 67% of the installed base according to our global information worker survey of 10,000 of your employees. iPhone gets slimmer, and Apple sells more of them than ever.
Now it's 2012. Apple sells over half a billion iOS devices since 2007. Apple is the major go-to smartphone for CIOs coming off a BlackBerry addiction. Apple is the dominant supplier of business tablets. Microsoft introduces v8 of its Windows Phone OS (not so many of them sold yet) and announces a tablet. And as colleague Thomas Husson points out, Google lights up 1.3 million Android devices a day. And Apple launches iPhone 5 running iOS 6.
So what does this announcement mean for CIOs? I'd say, CIOs need to tune into popular culture and divine what's happening in the consumer market. Because whither goeth the consumer market goeth the business market. You heard it here. Here's what iPhone5 means for the enterprise:
A lot has changed in a year. Samsung sold 20 million Galaxy S III devices this summer, while Google recently announced that more than 1.3 million Android devices are activated each day — and that it would soon reach the milestone of 0.5 billion Android users. The San José court’s recent decision to fine Samsung $1 billion for copying Apple raised a number of complex questions regarding what exactly innovation means in the smartphone era. While it badly affected Samsung’s brand image, Samsung has a larger portfolio of mobile devices and has also proved it was able to innovate with the Note.
Even more so than a year ago, Apple’s product strategists face an ongoing paradox: maintaining premium leadership with an annual product renewal while tapping the rapidly “mainstreaming” global smartphone market. Consequently, expectations were extremely high — often irrationally so — that Apple would once again truly innovate with hardware design and features.