Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) will introduce new iPhones next week, and it won't be enough for some people.
How many generations of Apple's iconic smartphone have gone by without the NFC feature that's been available in several Android devices for years? When will Apple offer larger iPhones?
I couldn't ignore that last question. It was the biggest reason why I switched in May. After going through three different iPhones since 2008, I fell for the irresistible charms of Samsung's Galaxy S4. The learning curve hasn't been steeper than I thought it would be, but I'm too far gone at this point. It just feels strange when I compare the tiny screens of the iPhone 5 or my old iPhone 4S to what I'm using now.
Apple doesn't get that. It doesn't get me.
Normally I would argue that my subjective view doesn't matter. I am just one person. How many people do you know that have said that Facebook is doomed because they stopped using the site years ago, falsely assuming that everyone's following them on the way out?
However, Apple is losing market share in both the tablets and smartphones that helped carry the growth baton at the tech giant after the iPod peaked in popularity. The decimation is more evident in the tablet niche where Apple's selling fewer iPads -- period -- but the class act of Cupertino is also now failing to keep pace with Android's growing Borg collective.
According to industry tracker IDC, Apple's share of the smartphone market has contracted from 17% to 13% over the past year.
A year ago it was easy to fear that the iPhone was vulnerable. Apple's stock may have peaked when it topped $700 the day the iPhone 5 hit stores, but Microsoft was readying its attack with a fortified Windows Phone 8 release a few weeks later. BlackBerry rolled out its hyped up BlackBerry 10 mobile operating system a few months later.
Microsoft and BlackBerry proved to be weak villains for Apple. Microsoft's market share has only moved from 3.1% to 3.7% over the past year, and BlackBerry's going the wrong way as it fades in Apple's rearview mirror.
The only reason that Apple is losing market share is because Google's (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android is taking over the planet. Its market share has soared from 69% to 79% over the past year. That puts it on the Lucky Strike cigarettes or Trident gum category with four out of five doctors or dentists on board.
The iPhone 5 didn't change that, and next week's iPhone 5S is unlikely to gain share at Android's expense unless it doubles as a Taser, can predict winning lottery tickets, and puts your Roomba to shame with its floor-slurping flexibility.
That's fine. The iPhone is still growing. Most iPhone owners ready to upgrade will upgrade. Apple's taken enough pins to its helium-balloon gut to keep expectations low.
There are things far worse than second place. Just ask Microsoft -- it's spending billions to sustain third place.