"What company can realistically give Apple a run for its money?"
From a note to Above Avalon members ($) posted last Tuesday:
As product strategy changes were underway within Apple, the competition began to flounder. A growing number of bad product bets were placed, peaking with the ultimate misdirection in tech of the past decade: voice computing and the stationary smart speaker mirage. The subsequent embrace of stationary screens positioned on kitchen countertops has seen limited adoption. Foldable smartphone sales have not been impressive. Apple competitors are now struggling to capture consumers’ attention and money with routine annual smartphone updates.
We are at the point when tough questions have to be asked about Apple’s competition, or lack thereof. What company can realistically give Apple a run for its money? The number of paid subscriptions across Apple’s platform is increasing by 170 million per year. Google wants to compete in some hardware verticals that Apple plays in, but it’s fair to question Google management’s commitment. At times, their heart just doesn’t seem in it. Amazon and Microsoft have stronger motivations to do well in hardware, but their lack of design thinking is hard to miss. Meta would win the award for strongest public commitment to hardware, but the company’s culture and heritage don’t seem to mesh well with what it takes to do well in hardware. Snap, Spotify, Sonos, and the long list of smaller companies dabbling in hardware all lack the ecosystems to truly go up against Apple toe to toe.
When thinking of competition outside the U.S., a growing number of consumers are looking for entry points into comprehensive (and premium) ecosystems. Apple is selling both the all-around best smartphone in the market and tools and services designed to live both below and above the smartphone. Android switching rates are increasing while Apple entices hundreds of millions of iPhone-only users to move deeper into the ecosystem.
My take: Don't know how I missed this last week week, especially because Cybart -- who is good with unit sales estimates -- offers some fresh numberts drawn from Apple's commentary and his own assumptions...
- iPhone new users: 60 million per year (a five-year high)
- Apple Watch new users: 30 million per year (an all-time high)
- iPad new users: 30 million per year (an eight-year high)
- Mac new users: 15 million per year (an all-time high)