Should Apple Fear This New Phone?

On March 25, HTC released its next-generation HTC One. The phone is a pretty meaty upgrade from its predecessor, offering the following improvements:

  • A larger, improved 5-inch display (up from 4.7 inches in the prior generation).
  • A Snapdragon 801 processor (much more powerful than the Snapdragon 600 found in the previous version).
  • More metal, lending a sleeker industrial design.
  • Improved software and interface.

Source: HTC.

In short, it's a better version of last year's HTC One, which was already a very well received Android device. The question now is whether this new device should be enough to worry shareholders of the world's leading premium phone vendor, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) .

It's more than just the hardware
Smart business decisions and economies of scale have kept Apple and Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF  ) in control of the majority of the profits in the smartphone business. A phone like the HTC One packs in a number of great features, but the gross margin profile isn't likely to be very good. A 5-inch 1080p display isn't cheap, nor are a top-end Qualcomm SoC, 2GB of DRAM, a large metal chassis, and so on.

That wouldn't be too big of a problem if HTC had the scale to source components at more favorable rates and to amortize the fixed design and manufacturing costs over a large shipment base. Unfortunately, since both Apple and Samsung are much more popular brands that already have the mind-share of a good chunk of the smartphone market, HTC is fighting an uphill battle trying to compete against the Apple iPhone and, probably more directly, the Samsung Galaxy S.

Does that mean Apple is safe?
When it comes to the smartphone wars, Apple has a number of critical advantages that -- if utilized properly -- help keep the likes of HTC at bay. For example:

  • iOS is popular among developers and has a very loyal user base.
  • Apple's customers tend to buy more apps than Android users do, which helps create a "stickiness" for users who are already on the iOS platform.
  • Apple's brand is extremely powerful -- far more people are familiar with Apple than with HTC.
  • Apple is a big buyer with its suppliers and as a result can strike much more favorable deals than a company like HTC can.

Of course, poor management decisions or a stroke of bad luck could always undermine Apple's advantages, but Tim Cook and company appear to understand the strengths Apple enjoys and continue to work hard to build on that successful base. Apple has fought high-spec competitor phones in the past and emerged victorious -- so there's nothing new here from Apple's point of view.

Foolish bottom line
No company -- especially one so dependent on the fickle whims of consumers -- is "safe," but Apple has built itself a wide moat around its hardware, software, and brand. While the HTC One is a gorgeous phone that should appeal to Android enthusiasts, it's unlikely to capture meaningful amounts of Apple users.

In fact, if anything, users looking for the Android equivalent of an iPhone may favor the Galaxy S5 over the new HTC One. And the original HTC One still had many of the same advantages over the Galaxy S4 that the new HTC One has over the Galaxy S5, so it's unclear whether HTC will even gain share against its nearest, cash-rich competitor in the Android space, let alone Apple.

Did you miss Apple's historic run? Don't miss out on these high-growth picks!
They said it couldn't be done. But David Gardner has proved them wrong time, and time, and time again with stock returns like 926%, 2,239%, and 4,371%. In fact, just recently one of his favorite stocks became a 100-bagger. And he's ready to do it again. You can uncover his scientific approach to crushing the market and his carefully chosen six picks for ultimate growth instantly, because he's making this premium report free for you today. Click here now for access.


Read/Post Comments (4) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2014, at 11:42 PM, djtetsu wrote:

    The short answer is "no".

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2014, at 7:49 AM, bshamblin wrote:

    Apple, no.

    Samsung, maybe.

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2014, at 9:08 AM, Jjkiam wrote:

    This article once again proves the genius of Betteridge's Law

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2014, at 10:36 AM, MeirElazar wrote:

    For anyone who wishes to understand Ashraf Eassa’s motivations and methodologies, I suggest you examine his article entitled “AMD Looks Finished” along with all of the reader comments. It was published on March 20th, 2014 in Seeking Alpha.

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/2099473-amd-looks-finished?i...

    I would particularly like to point out all of the comments relating to Ashra’s deletion of peoples comments. It indicates that Ashraf has comments of people opposing his view deleted, censored, and purged.

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2889871, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/23/2014 12:45:56 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement