Apple is already down to 14.9% marketshare in smartphones.
There are about 700 million smartphones shipping in 2012. By about 2018 there will be about 3 billion smartphones shipping. Apple grew by 58%, so they increased their marketshare as overall smartphones grew by 46% but that was share taken from Nokia and Blackberry.
The new stronger competitors are emerging from China.
When 3 billion smartphones are shipping every year it will be because everyone in China and many people in India and Africa will also be buying smartphones. Most of those will not be premium priced smartphones.
Apple still has more dominance in tablets, but the new Nexus 10 and other tablets are going to erode Apple market share there as well.
The New $250 Chromebook (I am using one to blog this post now) will also reduce the need for full laptops. The new Chromebook only weighs a little over 2 pounds and integrates with android devices.
The new Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (I have been using one for a few days) also provides a fast and smooth user experience. It has many refinements over past Android phones. Zooming with the camera is easy and intuitive by using two fingers to expand the picture. The large screen enables most of the controls and options to appear on the one screen at the same time. There is less need to step through options.
Unlike in the PC and Mac wars, there is no reason that Apple should screw up so badly that they lose profitability. Although when Apple goes to 5% marketshare and has competitors in China making 1 billion smartphones per year to their 150 million then Apple will not have a comfortable position. Apple can be a smart competitor that is still very profitable. A safer strategy would to try to emulate Toyota in cars. Have more populist products to maintain volume and have a Lexus premium brand.
We will see how well the iPad mini can expand Apple volumes to hold more of the lower end. I think if Apple were serious about creating a lower end offering then the Apple would have a $199 tablet.
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