CNN: Apple makes Toyotas, Androids are concept cars

From David Goldman's "The iPhone is for people who drive Toyota Camrys" posted Monday on CNN Business:

Since 2007, Apple has made the best, most popular smartphone on the planet. The company is expected to launch the new-and-improved iPhone 12 this week, and you can be assured it'll come with the Apple-approved "it just works" experience Steve Jobs fought for.

In many ways, the iPhone is like a Toyota Camry, a machine that offers familiarity and reliability over fun, productivity, speed, performance, innovation and futuristic features.

That's not a bad thing. The Camry is a good car, and Toyota sells boatloads of them every year to people who just want to get from point A to point B, without having to worry about what this button does or what driving mode they should switch to or whether their car is going to melt down while they're stuck in rush hour traffic...

With phones that run the competing Android operating system, you've got far more options. You want a Ferrari? You can get a Samsung Note20 Ultra 5G, a $1,300 phone that has the top-of-the-line everything -- a quad-HD screen with a super-high-refresh rate, up to 512 GB of storage with a truly insane 12 GB of RAM, a 108 megapixel camera and an onboard pen.

Seriously, there's an Android for everything. The Asus ROG Phone 3 is the ultimate gaming machine, complete with RGB color-changing lights (it wouldn't be gaming hardware without them) and a 144 Hz display. For photographers, the Sony Xperia 1 II has pro camera controls, and the Google (GOOGL)Pixel 5 looks like it will maintain the best-camera crown that earlier Pixel models earned.

Android phone makers even design the equivalent of concept cars, such as when Amazon put a no-glasses-required 3D screen on the Fire Phone or when Huawei put a freaking scale in the Mate S' screen. LG's WING phone has two screens right on top of one another, and the top screen turns 90 degrees to give you a second screen. Wild.

[T]he iPhone is designed for everyone. You can find an Android phone that feels like it was designed for you.

My take: I drive a Prius.


  1. Bart Yee said:
    Apple haters gonna hate. This “opinion” hit piece treats Apple like dirt yet tells half truths about Androids.

    The vast number of Androids (85-90%) are sold on the basis of low price (<$299 or <$200), partly because Android is “free” except for Google search, data harvesting and pushed ads built in. This is a price tier which is barely profitable and Apple chooses not to offer or compete there except by private used iPhones changing hands.

    Despite Apple’s “small” 13-15% worldwide smartphone unit sales market share, as of Dec. 2019, it took in 33% of total revenue and 66% of all smartphone profits. This is because Apple designs, builds, and maintains an ecosystem which attracts a higher demographic of users which is loyal, able and willing to spend, and is quite secure in Apple’s hardware and software offerings that work and are productive rather than simply complex and fiddly.

    Apple just dominates unit sales in the $600 and up range despite all the diverse Android product tricks and perks in those price ranges outlined in the opinion. Apple quietly and consistently banks its financial success back into its users, products, services, shareholders, planet.

    October 13, 2020
  2. Bart Yee said:
    Ironically, the article reinforces that Apple, iPhones, and iOS is hardly a monopoly or even a majority in the smartphone world, that it has vast numbers of Android hardware and software competitors, and users are quite capable of choosing what works for them.

    If we’re using automotive metaphors, personally, I would say that Androids are more like the vast sea of Far East econoboxes, some hopped up with arrays of tuner parts, many with garages of would be mechanics fiddling with every setting they can think of. The “Ferrari’s” of Android are just that, some highly stressed exotics that sometimes come “Spaghetti on the Wall” engineering with “Fix It Again Tony” origins and levels of support.

    “Never confuse motion with action.”
    Benjamin Franklin

    IMO, Apple products are like Porsche’s range of performance vehicles, tried, true, engineered, experienced, prepared. Oh, they might look pretty familiar and traditional, but all models, even the lowest ones, have breeding and pedigree, already on the track and running laps around the competition.

    To quote Hans Solo, “She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid.”

    October 13, 2020
  3. Peter Kropf said:

    How about Merc, BMW, Porsche, Lexus?

    And Androids? I’d say mostly slow, underpowered, and driven by malware with even the fastest being lapped by iPhone.

    October 13, 2020
    • George Cardoso said:
      Peter is dead on. To stick with your auto metaphor, Samsung is more like an Ika or Hyundai of phone makers. They are affordable and a majority of them are carbon copies.

      October 13, 2020
  4. Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:
    My take :
    Apple products offers familiarity, reliability, above & beond service/support *AND* fun, productivity, speed, performance, innovation and futuristic features.

    October 13, 2020
  5. Fred Stein said:
    Nice metaphor, to Toyota. It makes the counter argument to Veblen goods.

    In contrast to Veblen, all iPhones are value-priced in the true sense, as in fair value for the price. None are premium or Veblen goods.

    October 13, 2020
  6. Joe Murphy said:
    @ Fred: “Nice metaphor, to Toyota. It makes the counter argument to Veblen goods.”

    I see Goldman’s post as a positive. A compliment comparing Apple’s value, reliability and dependability to Android’s mfgs striving repeatedly, without success. They may get noticed, but like all “concept cars” without sustaining sales they’re forced to strive for new ideas. Concept cars are just that, presenting a concept to see will it’ll float? Invariably it doesn’t.

    Meanwhile, Toyota became the worlds largest auto mfg.

    I forecast similar results for Apple.

    October 13, 2020
  7. Jerry Doyle said:
    Decades ago I was a masterful car aficionado who subscribed to a dozen car magazines, attended all the annual car shows and traveled to auto manufacturing centers world-wide to do tours. I could look at a person and figure closely the type auto they drove or conversely, see a car and do a psychological profile on the driver relative to their cultural, social, economic, educational and environmental standing. On a road trip from Dallas to Austin with my team we stopped at a restaurant. A staffer decided to put me to the test and asked if I would examine the patrons and then choose which car in the parking lot they owned. Out of five patrons I got four correctly as we watched each patron head to their respective automobile or truck.

    Smartphone users are somewhat similar to me. On average their educational, cultural, social, economic and mindset to the environment is going to be reflective in the smartphone they choose.

    October 13, 2020
  8. John Konopka said:
    Corolla? More like a Celica Supra.

    I was awestruck by today’s presentation. The technology in the new iPhones is jaw dropping. The A14 is crazy fast and powerful. The new displays are beautiful. The new technology for the cover glass is really cool. I’m trying to wrap my head around how they managed to precisely precipitate some sort of crystals in the glass and how that makes it tougher. I can’t wait to get some of that in a SEM/EDS and have a look.

    October 13, 2020

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