Keeping Apple King of the Mobile-Device Mountain: 10 Things to Do
News Analysis: Apple is the leader in the mobile market for now. But after the iPad 2 launches, the company must do a number of things to maintain its position as king of the mobile-device mountain.
On March 11, Apple will launch the iPad 2, the anticipated follow-up to its original hit tablet. The iPad 2 will be Apple's newest device in the mobile market until this summer when it's expected to release the iPhone 5.
Although opinions differ on whether the iPad 2 is a worthwhile purchase for most customers, there's no debating that Apple's latest release is just another example of what the company is doing to maintain its dominant position in the mobile market.
Admittedly, some say that Google is the prevailing force in the mobile space, since its platform is outselling iOS each quarter. But those folks fail to realize that Google requires the help of multiple vendors to do what Apple can with two smartphones, the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 4, and one tablet. On a company-by-company basis, Apple reigns supreme.
But that can change. Apple leads the way now, but it's facing increased pressure in the mobile space from a host of vendors that want to achieve the same level of success it enjoys. But if Apple makes a bad move, it could be overtaken by some of its top competitors.
To ensure it doesn't lose the dominant position in the mobile space, Apple must do the following:
1. Get the white iPhone out the door.
When Apple CEO Steve Jobs first unveiled the iPhone 4 last year, he said that his company would be selling a white version of the device. So far, the white iPhone 4 is nowhere to be found. Many industry analysts expect it won't hit store shelves until next month. Hopefully it will. But if Apple is forced to delay it once again, the company must get it out the door as soon as possible. The white iPhone 4 might not matter to the millions who own the black model, but to everyone else, it's a neat-looking product for which they have been waiting months. It might just boost Apple's sales.
2. Prepare the iPhone 5 for summer.
Rumors are swirling that Apple will be announcing and launching the iPhone 5 over the summer. For its part, Apple hasn't confirmed those rumors, but given recent history, it makes perfect sense for the company to unveil its iPhone follow-up in the coming months. Offering the iPhone 5 this year is an absolute necessity. Apple's top competitors, including Motorola and HTC, will be offering improved versions of their top smartphones this year, as well. Apple must respond with a device that can trump (or at least match) those products. The iPhone 4 just won't cut it.
3. Make iOS 5 a major improvement.
With the launch of Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Google has made something abundantly clear in the mobile market: It wants to offer the best operating system in the space. Honeycomb goes a long way in achieving that goal. It comes with a fully functional browser, complete with Incognito mode and tabbed browsing, along with improved multitasking and an action bar for more efficiency. It's a solid step up over iOS 4. The onus is now on Apple to respond with a winner in iOS 5.
4. Get to work on an antenna fix.
After the iPhone 4 was made available, customers started realizing that when they held the device in a certain way, they would lose signal quality. It was an issue that Apple addressed by offering free cases to customers. With the launch of the Verizon iPhone, it seems that those problems are still present. If Apple wants to maintain its position of dominance, it must offer an antenna fix in the iPhone 5. Not only would it make previous customers happy, but if Apple's claim that all smartphones suffer from the problem is true, the iPhone 5 will have yet another feature that will help the device trump the competition.