There has been a lot of talk about the iPhone’s arrival in Verizon stores and how it will be a game changer relative to Verizon’s investment in Android phones (via their “Droid Does” campaigns). But as Dan Lyons (of Fake Steve Jobs fame) openly questions, is iPhone too late to the Verizon game here? A clear benefit of Android is its flexibilty and the ability for the user to have more control of the experince, while Apple’s iPhone is a very rigid and controlling experience, where Apple (or Steve Jobs) is almost dictating what the user wants and needs:
The iPhone is like omakase, the style of sushi where the chef chooses what you’re going to eat, and might even tell you how to eat it—no wasabi allowed on this, no soy sauce allowed on that. Definitely no California rolls.
That’s the way Apple has always been. One of Apple’s big failures 15-20 years ago in the PC “wars” was the fact that it would not cede control over its licensing and distribution…and on that war, it got its ass kicked by Microsoft from a market share perspective (Yes, Apple’s products are more profitable per user but that’s a story for anther post). We’re actualy seeing signs of this scenario repeat itself with Android surpassing iOS in terms of installed devices and market share .
The game is much different now with Applications, Mobile, Social Networks and, most importantly, the clear shift of power and conversation to the customer through the Internet and self publishing tools. You could argue that Apple’s “rigid” approach is a metaphor for the old school marketing approach, where the “brand” talked to the customer as opposed to talking with the customer.
No doubt that Android has its flaws, while Apple has some amazing features and benefits. And there is no way to avoid the fact of their recent success and valuation in the marketplace. But to me, it will be very interesting to see if people will be willing to let Apple dictate the experience so rigidly with something so personal as your personal mobile device. Combine this with Apple’s recent announcement that they will be taking 30% of all subscription revenues and its impact on publishers’ iOS content and service offerings, and you really have to step back and wonder how this will all play out