Imagine having customers so passionate about your product that they are willing to whip out Final Cut Pro to skilfully produce 30-second videos and hit back at any other companies that diss their gadget.
Allow me to introduce you to…iPhone customers. This is the beast that Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and Android are fighting. Many of these companies will have to come to terms with the fact that their new handset release will never create hour long queues or make the front page of a newspaper because of the hype. Their customers won’t bother spending a couple of days creating a professional looking video to fight a rival companies slur or argue that loudly in the pub on their behalf.
Check out the original anti-iPhone advert for the Motorola Droid here:
and the Apple fanboy response here (it’s racked up 275,000 views in a week):
Nokia had a similar fate when they cussed the iPhone, although sadly this particular Apple fanatic only had access to Photoshop and not Final Cut Pro:
Who needs to spend money on marketing when your customers will do it for you?
It makes me laugh when Apple competitors pick on the iPhones bad points when most consumers couldn’t really give a toss about being able to run background applications or open sourced development. How much of the general public actually know what those things even mean? The danger of ending up with egg on your face is quite high once people discover that the handset you are trying to shift is either a) inferior to the existing iPhone b) outdone by the next iPhone.
The proof will come in a couple of months when Orange and Vodafone get the iPhone in stock, then we’ll see how many customers who have been sold ‘iPhone like’ phones start praising the lord and move over to Apple. Until recently Orange even had a section on their website called ‘iPhone Alternatives’, when have you ever, ever, ever, ever seen anything like that for any other network exclusive phones?
Many people didn’t bother making the switch to O2 because of the hassle or loyalty discounts on their tariff. Instead they ended up like my friend Karl, who requested “Whatever is like the iPhone” on his last upgrade. Orange sold him a Windows Mobile HTC Touch HD, after 3 months it was on Gumtree. I can’t begin to describe how much he hated that phone. Now he’s waiting for the iPhone.
It’s difficult to pull the wool over consumers eyes, all these companies bringing out touchscreen devices with app stores are being seen as ‘Me Too!’ phones. Apple are synonymous with touchscreens, any device without keypad input is going to be judged on the iPhone, period. The funny thing is when you watch people with new touchscreen phones from other manufacturers, they automatically try and do the Apple ‘pinch’ gesture for zooming in with both fingers, that’s the type of mindshare the iPhone has.
When the first Nokia 5800 got passed around the Nokia office, it was amusing watching everyone try to use the Apple gesture to zoom in, fail (Apple owns the trade mark for multi-touch), then with a disappointed expression, pass the phone around to someone else who would then try the exact same thing.
There are two ways to beat the iPhone:
1) Create a better user experience than the iPhone.
Many companies were guilty of manufacturing absolute piles of crap shortly after the first iPhone release, mainly because they were rushing phones out the door to stop the bloodshed. Put user experience first, then concentrate on features, the first iPhone didn’t have MMS, 3G or even a video camera. Build a great product and they will come.
2) Sell at a unbeatable price point.
This is by far the easier way to get ahead of the iPhone. Hype or no hype, people are always persuaded by price. It’s possible to make anyone think twice by offering a similar product at a significantly lower cost. If price wasn’t an issue then everyone would have paid out their contracts and switched to O2 to get the iPhone.
Why don’t phone manufacturers take a hit on price to increase market share? The Playstation 3 Slim is being sold at a loss but will eventually turn profitable next year. In the mean time it’s selling like hotcakes and increasing market share for Sony, shouldn’t iPhone rivals do the same thing?
[Hat tip to We Are Organized Chaos]