APPLE NEEDS A STRATEGY FOR ASIA. PERIOD.

Samsung along Androids flood the market here.

GALAXY Y
This is a cheapest dishonest, mean, pitiable, shabby, sordid version of iPhone 3GS, Anyone?

I’ve been running a small Apple products related shop in Colombo suburbs in Sri Lanka and have seen how our markets behave.

1. Our mobile market is very active and lucrative business right now growing super fast as anywhere else.

2. As anything else it IS preliminarily price sensitive.

3. We have very competitive GSM market with 5 neck-to-neck operators in a small 65,610 square kilometers. (Dialog GSM, Mobitel, Etisalat, Hutch and Airtel)

4. Few have repeatedly tried a subsidized model without any sort of success. Subsidized phones with contracts can not be sold here even if the phone is FREE given. Contract free, top-up, SIM swappable phones sell like hot cakes. We are a predominantly a prepaid market.

5. At the current market price (20.05.2013) cheapest new iPhone 5 costs Rs.100,000/- or 795USD here. Whatever brand recognition or hype Apple has, which is waning now you can not convince many persons to spend that kind of money on a phone even if they have money unless he or she is an Applacoholic. Rs.1 LAK is a mind barrier.

6. Our market always had phones for every sweet market spot. Traditional cheap Nokia and Chinese phones, luxury Nokia and Samsung clan had anyway got it all covered. From 20USD Feature phone to near 900USD Nokia N95 marketing had always flooded the market from the past.

7. Phones were phones, all dumb phones. None expected more than that unless a fashion or status statement as Nokia Vertu or the latest flagships according to the time.

In 2007 Apple iPhone DID change all that, everywhere.

8. Now after 6 years we (Asia) still don’t get iPhones. Walk in to any phone shop, they all have but condemn Chinese Androids and now recommend Samsung Galaxy as the De-facto Smartphone over once dominant Nokia. And the cheapest piece of Samsung Android sells as Galaxy Y (Android 2.3) for Rs. 15,000/- or 99USD a sweet package. Roughly a monthly wage of young worker.

9. After iOS 6.0 maps debacle and near impossible iPhone unlocking, bricking new bootrom 3GS killed even the refurbished market dead which I was based on. So from last year Apple advocate me and my company also had to start offering Android without having any other resort for us to survive.

10. No official iPhone (3GS, 4, 4S or 5) can be obtained by any of the 5 operators we have. Not even the grey market here now have iPhones for the above reason either.

11. Samsung is the new SONY. From TVs, to Smartphones to the electronics. Samsung is now well renowned, positioned and portrayed as the highest profile consumer brand and riding the waves. Locals have bad perception for Chinese. But they also catching up. No one knows nor they care that Samsung DID copied Apple or use the off-the-shelf Android. Or what is the real values of the Apple ecosystem can bring in for the users, as an option of choice at least. Most they want is to go online, Facebook, Google, play a game and have fun on their phones, have VOICE calls on their tablets. Quality, value, integrity and market differentiation apart Android now provides it all. I guess this is exactly the way commodity PC market grew on the 80’s and even my neighbor Indian market is heating up.

12. iPad has no Voice Calling Facility has perceived as very negative for Apple tablets here. More than Samsung, cheap Chinese Tabs which runs the latest Andy 4.2.2 sold in this regard.

13. Apple iOS 6.0 update brought few real surprise for the Apple’s remaining fanfare here. Google Maps which always had worked near perfect for them, which any darn corner of the street name can be looked upon was suddenly gone. Apple crowd was pretty used to it. Now Apple Maps killed the chance even to search the main cities here I live in, Imagine?

14. Samsung and carrier backed Android marketing is in full swing! Apple brand name is never heard of in any of the media circles for new breed of people who look at my iPad units at demo desk and ask, what is this tab? Is it Chinese? Don’t you guys have Galaxies? What the heck?

15. There was a notion Apple is considered a BMW to a Toyota. Not quite, I never buy that, not quite so in consumer electronics.

16. Where is Apple? From my point 8 to 15 Apple has no iPhone to showcase. So Apple is not been in the talk show lately.

17. Even car DVD setup and TV market is now warming up to Android embedded devices. When they all come in 4.3 Jellybean it’s almost iOS for almost everyone here.

If Apple don’t make junk products. There should be some ways they might move forward from here: They can surely figure out a way.

A cheaper strategy that do not hinder Apple’s own values better be put in to action soon.

I can see 2 ways around this.

(i) They figure out how to make a low-cost iPhone that’s not “piece of junk” (Well Galaxy S3 Mini)

(ii) They just can’t figure it out so can make the old 3GS or plastic iPhone 5 as unlocked iOS 7 device and market it aggressively.

Just look at the Samsung portfolio you will soon see how to differentiate. I know it is a soup of 90 devices a year marathon. But it DID remarkably well to established the Android Platform for Google and Galaxy Brand for Samsung. So ain’t Apple smart enough to figure out at least three (5 ideally) sweet market spots out of this soup???

As far as I can see this doesn’t have to be a demographics view, rather price and feature points, hardware or software differentiation for people with various needs who don’t care about the other.

You cater them all or soon you will be serving no one.

iPhone Category 1

Generally the cheapest iPod/ feature iPhone for

1. School/ Education (Safety/ Being in touch/ Locate/ Academic Apps) 2. Early Teenage/ Laborer/ Worker (Fun/ hyped/ iPod Nano like/ Basic Apps)

iPhone Category 2

Average Premium iPhone for

3. Late Teenage/ Worker/ Starter Executive (Fun/ Work/ Special Features/ Laser Measurements/ IR)
4. Junior Executive/ Manager (Management/ Work/ Special Features/ Projector/ Laser Pointer/ NFC)

iPhone Category 3

High Premium Designer iPhone for

5. Affluent/ Celebrity (Hype)
6. Specific high-skill professional market (Photographer, Doctor, Scientist, eCommerce/ Merchants)

This is at least 3 iPhone models. When Apple don’t respond to the market. This is happening right now .

In the Asian market.

i. Someone who makes a smartphone that is basically as good as the iPhone-or at least “good enough”- which radically undercut the iPhone on price and features. Now showing, Samsung Galaxy low end and other Chinese Android copies. They gather up the volumes.

That’s what tends to happen in consumer technology markets. And Apple’s massive profit margin leaves it highly exposed to this kind of competition.

ii. If a high-end smartphone market radically undercuts the iPhone on price, Apple will either be forced to sit and watch as it loses sales to the cheaper competitor-or match the competitor’s price. This is what Verizon did with original Droid which kicked off Android, it didn’t have much effect then on Apple there, but got wings in the Asia when Samsung dig it deeper. “Thermonuclear War” Anyone?

For Eg: Samsung still sells S3 and even S4 now 100USD cheaper than iPhone 5 now

Then this has to alter a bit of Apple iPad internals too. Mini and big iPad seems ok. But they sure has to be integrate two main features missing now seem to be a main-stream here, though iPad is the declining pioneer.

i. Add Voice Calling Facility
ii. Integrate handwriting Wacom Pen for productivity apps

Macs had long relationship with Wacom. I used it on my Mac since year 2000. I wonder how it slip through an Apple and got in to bed with Samsung? Samsung S Pen is high productive seller for professionals. Even software guys I know now prefer it over iPad.

I hope Apple make itself heard this chapter very clearly.

Goes unheard, Other than that I have personal business which I like to be Apple success focused, I have no personal bearings on this. I either can sell Apple,Samsung or Chinese brands in my shop for the same profit margins, sometimes even higher margins cos I portrait them against Apple prices. But I like the choice to be remain viable for my customers. Like what Mac vs PC brought to the world on personal perspectives. Any gain or market loss for Apple is a market loss for the Apple platform, hence iTunes, iPods and future Macs innovations to come. Killing it for whatever the ignorance with that 150B of cash pile is a shame to the man we all knew as Steve, the greatest visionary-marketeer of our time.

Platform Wars was or is as fierce as or more fearsome in the 2012 as the 90s Windows PC vs Apple Mac outcome.

I am sure Apple don’t feel the heat yet, but it’s apparent:

It’s all over 80 to 90 all out Mac-PC war again. Since PC won we consumers got lost the real choice and suffocated the PC innovation waves up until Apple itself shakes it with iPad. Bear in mind this had a long serious negative effect on both hardware and software innovation for years.

To wait another decade that to happen in mobile again is nightmare!

NB: After I wrote this article these reports come from India. Now Apple is reportedly pushed out of top 5 mobile players in India. I imagine this picture will be much worse, if Apple do not act on this fall 2013. Period.

Apple in India

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Bravo, Hail Sri Lanka!

LTTE defeated; Sri Lanka is free from terror

Sri Lankan armed force have militarily defeated the LTTE and freed the nation from three decades of terror , Army Chief Lieutenant General Sarath Fonseka announced short while ago.

Meanwhile defence sources on the battlefront said that all top LTTE leaders have been killed . The soldiers are in the process identifying the bodies of LTTE cadres.

Ministry of Defence

Seeing the amount of arms and resources smuggled by these sick terrorists if let this maniacs to continue for another year Sri Lanka would have been terrorists state! So bravo our heroes. Today we write a new history free from Cyanide Killers.

You dreamy asylum seekers, your money is utter waste in vein, at least now can you see and support SL government to build a better Sri Lankan Nation.

The HE President should announce today  18 MAY 2009 is our new National Day!

The victory, war and obsession, we shouldn’t miss the point again…

This is one of Sri Lanka’s history’s best turn-around.

Decision are made, battles are fought and now the sweet victory sweeping all across the country. There is no doubt we should celibate this.

I refrain from commenting on war, because it’s been mostly showcase as a politicized standpoint, but this time the “War On Terror” is bound with an exceptionally extra-ordinary courage and country’s outshining heroism at peak. So I forget the political mambo-jumbo of liberating Sri Lanka from LTTE terrorists.

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It’s a sheer mammoth achievement of our own war heroes, a near impossible victory over just a 3 years ago standpoint of a 30 year long insurgency.

This brings up the new hope for many things lie stagnant across Sri Lanka’s future. One history is written, the other has to be begin with, right now!

As I write this, the last bastion of LTTE stronghold, Mullativu has fallen. The western media often referred as the most ruthless terrorist outfit, who invented the suicide bombing tactics, LTTE terrorists have now been literally defeated by SL Army.

This brings Sri Lanka back in to the times of pre 1983 where Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim we all lived in a one country in harmony.

For some of our unwise political leadership, many people paid price out of their lives, hands, limbs and eyes while some got their “pockets” swelled by NGOs’ and Peace Broker money who flourished where insurgency rules, they  asks our government to hold “peace talks” while helping LTTE to stiffen their loose-ends. But we are yet to see a single development carried out by these NGOs in the war-torn region in the sake of innocent people, after a whopping 25 years! Where are all those millions of Tsunami aid funds gone to Killinochchi? Evidence show all their money and aid have gone into building LTTE bankers and feed their blood thirsty mouths. Not a single road, bridge or housing scheme was build by any of these 40 odd, so called NGOs worked there so long.

Money laundering, lack of political will and the guts to take on the terrorists crippled the Sri Lankan economy and livelihood for more than 25 years, making LTTE is one the most hyped cardboard terrorists outfits, now defeated by heroic Sri Lankan Army.

So regardless the politics, the credits should go where it’s due rightfully. And I take this moment to hail the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, his brother Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapakse and the Commander-In-Chief Sarath Fonseka and the heroes who fought in the battle-flied, in and out.

Politically and strategically taking a strong stand which was the turning point of this “War On Terror”, which was never been the case until Mahinda came along.

As my distant memory hold truth to me,

  • President JR signed the Indo – Sri Lanka Agreement and avoided this terrorists issue altogether while he could have sweeped across the entire issue.
  • President Premadasa had vision for the country but anyway killed by the LTTE ultimately
  • President Chandrika was also almost died by a LTTE bomb, She’s never seen as a visionary leader either.
  • Mr Ranil officially gave away some parts of Sri Lanka to terrorists and was never seen as a patriotic man to the common man.
  • Then western-backed LTTE propaganda made it almost certain untruth been told and stays just as the sole truth. Sri Lanka never counter attack the false propaganda until Keheliya Ramukwella started as the defense spokseman and tells the Sri Lankan Official Stand of the story.

So it was seen, a strong political will was the lacking part to defeat the terrorism. 9/11 helped Sri Lanka to open the western eyes to the sheer issue of the problem. The Bush popularised “War On Terror” was an inevitable answer to LTTE.  And luckily just in time we’ve got a strong political leadership so this “War On Terror” can be won in the other side of the world, for the first time in world’s recent history!

Hence I say, the victory, the obsession, all fine. And we all should celibate it!

Anyway we shouldn’t loose the point again that what made possible this insurgency to erupt at the first place that erode Sri Lankan Sovereignty. We have to prevent what happened from happening again. I hope the current leaders have the will and the blessings to make that possible and concentrate on country’s development now the war is won.

So development…development…development…development…

We were more than a sound economy when the British left us in 1948, more than where the rest of the Asia was. Now Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and India all gone bypassing us.

Mahinda Rajapakse has just wrote one history already. Now we need another Mahinda to make this transition a full-circle.

Ranil hardly seem to fit the bill, he says he wants to make Sri Lanaka a Singapore, then suddenly change the topic to the King Parakrama Bahu the Great. I guess we need a mix of both worlds. So I fear the war is won, Sri Lanka may loose again in the economic slum for our famous political “neigh” sayers.

So who will fit the bill to be Lee Kuan Yew, the next?

Your comments are welcome… Read more Sri Lankan news here