蘋果手機iPhone, 奇襲還是隨著市場起舞

蘋果電腦發佈iPhone會在今年6月29號發行, 在美國引起了一陣炫風. 不知道是因為蘋果電腦的行銷手法真的太過於高明, 還是因為現在北美的消費者已經中了蘋果毒. 有時候連我自己都不得不否認iPod大概算是成功的在消費者的心理定下了對MP3撥放機的定義. 當我坐在一台巴士上面, 或是飛機上, 超過一半的人在用MP3撥放機都是在聽iPod.

天啊, 這樣的市場佔有率, 難怪蘋果的股價從2003年就開始一飛沖天. 從2003年一月的USD8~到昨天的收盤價USD138來講, 如果你在2003年投資一塊錢, 現在就有17塊錢. 聽起來也許好像感覺沒那麼可怕, 如果我跟你講IRR(內部報酬率)是超過158%/年. 你有什麼感覺. 如果你看到這個數字還是沒感覺的話, 不就你真的是對投資沒概念, 不然就是西恩應該要跟你學習投資, 因為你太強了.

我又離題了. 所以當蘋果趁著iPod熱在去年發佈了iPhone的消息後, 市場上又用大力的買蘋果股票來捧場. 這是一個很怕的事情, 因為蘋果根本沒有推銷過手機, 更何況是自己的首支手機. 這跟MP3撥放機不太一樣, 因為手機的複雜度相對的高太多了. 但是因為手機已經進入成熟期, 所以蘋果如果要找供應商來幫忙自己負責設計這款手機, 相對的困難度也比幾年前還要容易. 尤其是台灣的電子5哥每個都會組裝手機的情況下, 每個人都摩拳擦掌的情況下準備搶單.

但是我到現在還想不出來的就是, iPhone到底有什麼魔力可以讓它在今年北美造成一個很大的科技故事. 是它的觸碰式介面(touch screen), 所以使用者不需要像過去的手機已樣壓壓按按按鍵. 還是因為這根本就是iPod跟手機的結合體. 或是因為這個手機的造型實在很特殊, 所以讓人愛不釋手. 還是根本蘋果或是Steve Jobs根本就是一個行銷鬼才. 讓一個只從做電腦的公司, 進入了iPod的市場, 到現在進入了手機市場. 給不了解蘋果公司的人快速提一下, iPod跟相關銷售iTune已佔了蘋果1/3的營業額. 這種可怕的數字, 連我自己做行銷的人都感覺不得不佩服.

再丟一個可怕的數據給大家去思考一下, 在蘋果發佈iPhone以前, 已經有超過一百萬台的iPhone訂單(backorder). 從原本的USD499 (6G) 跟USD599(8G)的去計算一下, 在產品還沒開賣的時候, 已經有超過5億美金的訂單等在哪裡. 5億美金...150億台幣..., 搞不懂為什麼MBA的行銷課從來沒有認真的思考過蘋果這台可怕的行銷怪獸到底做對了什麼可以讓他們的產品從2000年後賣的哪麼好.

再回到主題, 到底蘋果的策略進入手機市場對於其他品牌是一種奇襲, 還是因為市場太大了所以跟著市場起舞呢. 老實說, 應該兩個都有. 我相信現在手機市場的幾大品牌, 諾基亞, 摩托羅拉, SE跟三星都沒有想到蘋果會那麼快速的進入手機市場. 現在看起來蘋果是沒有哪麼大的威脅, 但是很難說三年後是否可能可以再度複製自己在iPod市場的成功.

其實iPhone現在的成功一部份也要歸功於所有在後面支持蘋果的供應商, 鴻海跟其他的日本零組件供應商. 沒有這些公司, 蘋果也沒辦法全心全力的專注在推銷這款新手機. 這就代表著, 現在全世界已經沒有一間消費型電子公司不跟亞洲廠商, 特別是台灣的公司合作了. 這個趨勢不但會給你相對的競爭優勢, 而且可讓北美或是歐洲公司全心全力的去照顧市場. 這是任何在北美的創業家需要了解的.

在iPhone推出快三個月後, 還沒辦法看出到底這隻手機是否完全成功. 但是在上禮拜蘋果選擇減價USD200之後, 相信大家也了解到手機市場的競爭壓力. 這個殺戮戰場是否是蘋果預期的, 大家可能還要繼續觀察. 但是以蘋果在三個月內賣出一百萬隻手機的狀況下, 相對的已經成功的走出了一步. 就讓我們拭目以待這個公司還可以創造什麼奇蹟吧.

原本今天要寫另外一篇. 但是寫到一半發現自己有一點卡住了. 趕快來個180度大轉彎改寫有關iPhone. 由於上禮拜的減價, 我相信也造成大家的注意. 希望在這短短的一篇裡面, 大家可以了解到iPhone的策略走向.


  1. Hi,

    I have a MBA from UNC Chapel Hill and Master degree in Computer Science/Engineering from UMass at Amhert. I am a software developer, an entrepreneur and I am an iPhone user.

    But, forget about my background for a moment and let me tell you two stories (cases) about iPhone experiences from the user point of view and why I think we ain't seen nuthing yet about the momentum that iPhone is creating for the industry.

    Case #1: I have a friend who was about to upgrade to a smartphone. Like any other young (20s something) cell phone users, he uses data more then voice and he spends more of his computing time on his laptop. But, he is a marketing/sale person, not a techie. So, like anyone else, he began shopping around and reading review about smartphones in the U.S. market. His choices came down to either RIM's blackberry, Palm based treo, Pocket PC based and Nokia smartphones. But, he never considered an iPhone (it was 2 weeks ago, and the 8G iPhone still costs him US$600). One day, after all his research in the market and before he decided to head to Verizon to pickup his blackberry pearl, he called me and asked if that is a good choice. I told him why not give iPhone a try and just get it for a 14 days period, if he didn't like it, just return it. Well, a few days later he called me again and said that Apple just lowered the price with a US$200 cut on iPhone and he is going to get one and see. Now, it's been a week since he got his iPhone and he told me that he is keeping the iPhone and the reasons are:

    1. It has been the best experience during this past week. He accesses his gmail account for email 24x7, the UI design is so cool and easy.
    2. The calling and SMS experience are amazing. iPhone kept all his call logs in a very intuitive way with all his hundreds of contact right there for easy access.
    3. He has an iPod, and he sold his iPod. iPhone has become his iPod and smartphone. When a call comes in, music fades away and the transition is awesome. He loves it.
    4. He has been using iPhone more than his laptop now, because he can do most of his things now on iPhone (browsing, email, IMs, SMS, etc.). And the other day, he needed to purchase a concert ticket and he thought he have to go back home to use the laptop to research and purchase the ticket online. Instead, he used his iPhone and completed the task while still hanging out with his friends in the mall.
    5. This is a plus, I don't know the truth to it, but here it is. There has been more hot chicks talking to him and having conversation with him now since he got his iPhone. (Don't know about this one, but he think it's because iPhone).

    Well, it turned out that after he got his iPhone for more than a week, there has been more people around him buying iPhone after he showed them his iPhone. (These people include his father, girlfriend, co-workers and friends that he hangs out the most).

    Case #2: I know I will get an iPhone eventually, but I waited for 3 months because there are still some facts that I don't like about iPhone being a techie:

    a. Safari browser under current iPhone does not support flash. So, you know if you are into Web videos, that's a big minus.
    b. There is not 'upload file' support under the current Safari browser.
    c. There are no native IM clients available.
    d. There is google maps integration, but w/o a build-in GPS, it is kinda crippled.
    e. Camera quality is overall good, but lack of video capability.
    f. I just don't like AT&T's EDGE network (non-3G). This is actually a BIG one.

    But then, I was ready to visit China and Taiwan for 10 days and want to show off an iPhone to all my friends and family there how sexy an iPhone is. So, I went and bought one from AT&T store just one day before my trip. I thought I will return it after the trip and wait for Apple to improve those minus points I listed above then I will get one again.

    Well, the minute I got my iPhone, I played with Safari and I decided to write Safari app for it. So, 3 hrs later, I have a simple photo sharing app ready before I head to Asia. I was excited that, now, not only I can show them the iPhone, I have a custom built app for it.

    I didn't return my iPhone after my trip and I found out more about why I am keeping it:

    1. All the 5 points in the Case #1 applies to my case except the #5 (I am married).
    2. Inside iPhone is actually OS X, which is a BSD based UNIX operating system. That means it is a fullblown UNIX computer. Not a handicaped smart phone. So, just this one, set it apart from the rest of the competiters out there in the smartphone market. All the UNIX developer out there can start developing applications for it only to learn a tiny bit of other things what iPhone UI is all about, but as far as programming go, they will really feel at home (Well, at this moment, Apple hasn't decided to open up for 3rd party developers yet. e.g. Sarafi as a development platform is quite limited.) But this has prevent people from coming out of native apps. At the moment, I have about 20 3rd party apps on my iPhone.
    3. Being a developer and an user, I spend more time on my iPhone because it allows me to:
    a. ssh into my server to do whatever I need to do remotely. (It is sorta like my 24x7 ultra portable computer). I actually ssh into my server in the co-location server and applied a patch to my web server application and reboot apache and published a new release for my web app. Sent out emails to my users annouced the new release and exchanged some messages with the users. All in the comfort of StarBucks couch.
    b. read online bible (the book of Romans) while I was waiting for a friend outside the bench of Barns and Noble under the early morning sun.
    c. browse and edit my blog while listening to my iTunes collections.
    d. get a call from my sister while listening to iPod, and on hold to check an email message about a question she asked me and resume to tell her the answer.
    e. I am helping a friend who is a very talented graphics artist to customized (pimp) his iPhone in a way that no other smartphone out there are capable. i.e. customized ring tone, rearrange the whole dock, icons, themes and install my unix scripts onto his iPhone for automatic tasks and this is all FREE to him. And, I believe there will be some good business models coming out of this effort.
    4. Well, it turned out most of the smartphones out there are also suffering a lot of those minus points I listed above (a - f).
    5. Apple can really release a update on it's iPhone firmware and most of (a - f) will be gone.

    So, do I need to continue why is there an iPhone phenomenon?

    Now, here is a trick that Apple deals with the AT&T disadvatage. Apple just introduced iPod Touch. For those who doesn't really like AT&T and don't really need another smartphone, there is a very good reason to jump on the bandwagon now and enjoy the life style that I have mentioned above having a UNIX computer and iPod in your pocket all the time, 24x7.

  2. William, your valuable comment is highly appreciated. After reading what you wrote, which is more than my blog, I have a sense that iPhone might have successfully cross the chasm and gone beyond the early adopters as we speak in marketing term. I will present my thoughts about their marketing strategy in details later on as I discussed these issues with some of the SV/Vancouver VCs few months back. You had been highly knowledgeable and I hope we can get in touch with each other to shoot off some possible ideas for a startup company.

  3. 看到你的這篇文章所表達出來的其實用一個很簡單的二個中文字就可以說明了這個亂象..."品牌"。

  4. Jenny, 感謝妳的意見. 品牌當然是現在蘋果成功的道理, 所以為什麼這間公司會從蘋果電腦改成蘋果公司. 但是在我這篇的背後是想要探討蘋果怎樣成功的建立自己的品牌, 導致可以打入每個人的心中. 就像明碁(BENQ)併購西門子後是怎樣打了一場敗仗, 或是宏碁(ACER)如何靠Gianfranco Franci成功的踏入了歐洲主流市場. 這都是經營一個品牌的公司需要研究的. 尤其是再台灣當每個人在喊自我品牌的時候, 通常沒有想到自己的能力在哪裡, 自己能做多少, 到底該怎樣做品牌. 新力跟雀巢都是很好的案例. 可口可樂是全世界最高價值的品牌, 幾乎全部都是靠一個牌子就可以賺錢的公司. 但是每年還是需要很大的投資去維持這個品牌. 品牌經營絕對是一門藝術更是一場很難去管理的部門. 但是如果亞洲廠商想要在全世界打出名號, 這絕對是不能避免的.

  5. As much as people think Apple is a marketing company, iPhone is all about branding, they do not realized that Apple also has very deep root in technology and industrial design because Apple acquired NeXT computer, Inc in 1997 for US$400 millions which pretty much gave Apple a brain and boold infusion. Since Steve Jobs came back to Apple in 1997, he was able to use the people who have followed him through out the past 10 years period (1987-1997) outside of Apple Computer and created a lasting phenomenon with continuous innovations. The difference during the period of 1997-2007 is that Steve Jobs gained the marketing and branding power of Apple compared to what he had with NeXT Computer, Inc. If you look at iPod, iTunes, iMac, OS X, iLife, etc. and recently iPhone and Touch, most people think that all these are separate products. But, after further inspection of them and actually becoming a user of those products, you will realize that it is the depth and cohesiveness of them all built up the momentum and excitement of Apple's growing market and brand today. Apple has built a very high barrier of entry for all the competitors out there in the market. When I said you ain't seeing nuthing yet, I really meant that Apple is just getting the first taste of the fruits resulted from its 10 years, or I should said 20 years (1987-1997 NeXT and 1997-2007 Apple) of continuous innovations and reuse of their technologies and experiences (both failed and successful ones). Apple has beginning to change the Music industry now, and I believe, the Mobile industry will be next. The way that Apple did it is by shifting the playing field in its favor or should I say, its strength. First of all, Apple is a new kid on the block in the Mobile industry. There is no way that Apple can jump in to this highly competitive field and play the same game with other competitors which have been playing the game for more than 10 years. Now, by putting the OS X into the very heart of its iPhone and some new(it's actually old in the research fields) touch screen technology, Apple actually shifted the playing field by extending it's Computer(hardware+software) and UI design business into the heart of the product - iPhone. Now, the incredible part is, which I kind of disagree with 西恩潘 about the early adapter curve, that I believe the first 1 million iPhone sold in the first 73 days are in the hand of the early adapters and we are still in the curve period. The whole market of mobile phone worldwide is just too big, much bigger than Desktops and Notebooks. So, 1 million units mareket share isn't much. Second, when Apple ready for the huge and mature developer community in Unix (in general, computing developers) and the current mobile developers to come in to create a renaissance for iPhone then you will see the effect and impact iPhone has to the mobile industry. More to come...

  6. Apple推出iphone也是必然要走的一步,毕竟3年前手机就开始集成MP3功能了。如果一直只是固守于ipod,估计接下来2年内ipod的市场就会给音乐手机瓜分一大块。

  7. William, thank you for your valuable comments once again. I would sure love to talk to you in private to shoot around some ideas for the future. Let me send you an email this weekend and maybe we can catch up in other forms of communication.

  8. 我相信Apple願意跟AT&T合作不是沒有原因的. 雖然沒機會看過他們的合約, 但是沒有好處, 我相信Apple跟Steve Jobs也不是笨蛋. 所以其實大家不應該以AT&T為什麼是獨家供應商來檢討, 應該是為什麼Apple會做出這樣的決定. 一個決定實在有太多的因素在, 以我們外來人的角度, 都很難了解真相的.

  9. Apple's decision to go with AT&T doesn't surprise me. Apple has been very consistent about the way they evaluate and pick a long or mid term business partner. If you study how and why Apple chose Intel as their exclusive CPU chip partner when they switched from IBM's PowerPC partnership, everything will be clear to you. It is not the technology at the moment alone; there are deeper partnership strategic plans in the work for 5 to 10 years along the way.

  10. 我也有大致相同的看法,对于apple来说,无论在核心组件、生产、销售等方面都找当地最强的partner合作的话,可以令这些支持在较长的一段时间内可以达至相对稳定,这样apple就可以更专注于他自己的事情。

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