Apple’s iPhone Light may be a big mistake

My sources in Silicon Valley tell me that Apple is getting closer to producing a light version of its iPhone device.

And, by light I mean a smartphone without a camera. Don’t be surprised to see something from Apple this September. Now Apple has been hit somewhat by lower-cost Android smartphones in several areas of the world.

And, I learned from a Lenovo executive that Samsung and Lenovo overtook Apple in smartphone sales in China recently. Further speculation has it that Microsoft intends to make smartphones more affordable than iPhone specifically for emerging markets. BlackBerry is winning in India. Apple is still on top in North America, but all these markets add up.

All this has put pressure on the Cupertino, Calif.-based vendor to make a low-cost iPhone to better compete in these markets and potentially even in the more lucrative North American market space.

All this speculation is getting the market interested in “when” Apple releases its iPhone Light or iPhone Mini or iPhone cheap or whatever it wants to call this device.

But the real question should not be “when” but “’why”.

You don’t see Porsche starting to make cheap or light cars because KIA is doing well in China, or Singapore, or Indonesia.

Apple came back into prominence not by catering to the lowest common denominator (price), but by out innovating the competition to the point where customers would pay a premium for its products.

Apple should stop getting cute about its products and start re-inventing the wheel again.

By producing a Light version of the iPhone it only cheapens the real iPhone. Most vendors who have stripped down version of a premium product just to get marketshare in a low-cost area of the market have more often than not retreated. I mentioned Porsche earlier in this blog. Well, Porsche tried to go cheap with a 4-cylinder car in the early 80s called the 944. The Porsche 944 was a sales success especially in Canada and the U.S. But what it also did was ruin Porsche 911 Carrera sales, the car company’s premium automobile. Porsche soon learned that they were cheapening its quality brand and stopped production of 944 a few years later.

Apple looks to be heading down the same route as Porsche. If you ask Porsche executive what is there entry-level model they will tell you a used Porsche 911.

And, making a smartphone without a camera is just as ridiculous as Porsche making a 4-cylindar sports car.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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