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What Is The Secret Of The iPhone’s Success?

Somewhere out there in the vastness of space is an alternate dimension where consumers reacted far more enthusiastically to Microsoft’s Zune. In this alternate dimension, Apple never scored the branding coup with the iPod that made them a household name in consumer electronics outside of the relatively small confines of computer and tech enthusiasts. It’s likely that in this alternate dimension, iPhones don’t exist, and Samsung’s market penetration is near absolute. In this dimension, however, it’s pretty difficult to argue against the success of the iPhone. Look around on any busy high street and you’re likely to see them in the hands of passers by as they FaceTime friends, navigate through the busy streets with their mapping apps or just stride to the sound of their favourite tunes. The iPhone wasn’t just the best selling smartphone of last year, it was the best selling tech product of any sort of last year. While there are many other excellent handsets on the market, none (not even Google’s sensational Pixle 2) has the “must have” market reputation of Apple’s counterpart. But what is the secret of the iPhones success? What makes it stand out in sales and brand familiarity from the competition year after year. Of course, there’s no single answer, but here we’ll look at some of the most likely contributing factors…

The iPod did a lot of the heavy lifting

For the benefit of younger readers, the iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone on the market. Indeed the first phone to be labelled a smartphone was IBM’s Simon Personal Communicator in 1992 and was the first mobile phone to allow the sending and receiving of emails, faxes and pages. It even boasted a 4.5” x 1.4” stylus operated touch screen. Needless to say, IBM’s product was years ahead of its time and the market simply wasn’t ready.

Just as Apple weren’t the first to enter the smartphone market, neither were they the first to pioneer mp3 playing technology. Mp3 players had been on the market since 1998 and were already a growth market. The iPod, however, revolutionised the humble mp3 player with its own distribution system, iTunes. The synergy of software and hardware combined with that unforgettable marketing campaign of black silhouettes holding white iPods against vibrant, colourful backgrounds made the iPod a “must have” accessory.

As the iPod evolved, so too did the emerging smartphone market. Indeed as the iPod coexisted alongside a number of smartphones from other manufacturers, it seemed inevitable that the same technology would be incorporated into a smartphone. Looking at the iPhone release date history, it becomes clear that the iPhone piggybacked on the success of the iPod, just as honing the technology behind several generations of iPods facilitated the integration of different technologies to create the iPhone. Steve Jobs promised an iPod, a mobile phone and a computer all in one device. The rest is history.

The iPhone has zero learning curve

We all know a handful of hardcore tech geeks who favour Android devices as they offer far more scope for customisation and tweaking for the technically knowledgeable. The vast majority of consumers, however, are not technically knowledgeable. Most consumers want to be up and running with a minimum of effort and there’s no denying that this is a huge part of the iPhone’s appeal. So long as you have an iTunes account, your iPhone can be set up in just a minute or two, with very little need for tinkering with user settings. Moreover, the interface is intuitive and elegant in its simplicity. Most of us know older people for whom most technology is anathema who get along perfectly well with their iPhones. Even toddlers can become proficient in the use of Apple devices (which is why their use must be strictly supervised lest they spend a fortune on in app purchases).

Apple offer a great in-store experience

If you’ve been to an Apple store you’re aware of the convivial atmosphere that permeates their stores, along with their extremely minimalist design aesthetic. The staff are friendly and helpful but you’ll never encounter a pushy salesman. They know that the products speak for (and sell) themselves. Likewise if you’ve ever used a genius bar you’ll know that the staff are extremely knowledgeable and genuinely want to help you to get the most out of your product.

iPhones are faster than the competition

The current generation of iPhones (the iPhone 8/ 8 Plus and iPhone X) are powered by the A11 bionic chip inside which is significantly faster than anything else on the market. More and more of us are managing our work lives on the go while increasingly consuming our media content through our mobile devices as we commute. In order to do this effectively, we demand that our devices be as time efficient as possible which is just one reason why customers flock to Apple.


It seems that in the technological sector, success lies in evolution rather than revolution. For all the behind the scenes changes that have gone on in iOs over the 11 years since the iPhone’s inception, the interface itself has remained virtually unchanged with features like fingerprint and facial scanning facilitating ease of access and security rather than reinventing the wheel.

Bloatware free

Android users will be familiar with the frustration of bloatware. Bloatware, for the uninitiated is unnecessary software that slows down your phone and impedes its functions by hogging needless amounts of RAM. In fairness, all manufacturers are getting better and better at reducing bloatware (mostly by reducing carrier software) but iPhones are completely free of bloating pre-loaded carrier software.

Apple Pay

Android Pay and Samsung Pay are also in on the game (and once again, Apple weren’t the first to take a bite at this particular… piece of fruit) but Apple Pay is by far the most popular way of facilitating quick, easy and secure transactions. Payments can be made in seconds and in using either facial or fingerprint scanning technology they are far more secure than transactions needing a password or PIN code.

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