iPhone's Enduring Success: 10 Tactics That Keep the iPhone on Top

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-08-20

iPhone's Enduring Success: 10 Tactics That Keep the iPhone on Top

When Apple launched the iPhone in 2007, it was easy to determine why the device was so successful. Apple had delivered a product with an input function–touch screens–which customers had not seen to that point. All other competitors, including Research In Motion, LG, and Nokia, were knocked back on their heels.

But nowadays, Apple is facing much stronger foes. The companies it calls competitors now know what it takes to be successful, understand the consumer far better than they did in the past and come up with ideas that even Apple hasn't considered. It's a dramatic shift.

Yet, Apple has in no way given up its place as the dominant smartphone maker in the world. Despite constant effort by competitors to tear it down, Apple's iPhone remains the most successful handset out there.

This is what t Apple does to ensure that its iPhone stays atop the smartphone market:

1. Design matters most

If there has been any reason for Apple's success over the years, it has to be its product designs. The company has found a way to appeal to the customer's eye with special iPhone bodies that ooze elegance and sophistication. Meanwhile, competitors have been delivering products that seem rather cheap and childlike in their designs. It's something that can't be overlooked in Apple's product mix.

2. Pricing stays constant

Although Apple continues to offer better iPhones, the company has kept each new device the same price as a predecessor. As a result, it doesn't scare away customers who might otherwise not want to spend extra cash on a new handset. Apple has made $200 the sweet spot for smartphones sold with contracts by major mobile carriers. Apple's iPhone takes advantage of that.

3. The marriage of hardware and software

The best thing about the iPhone is that it delivers an extremely strong marriage of hardware and software. Unlike Android, which is an operating system used by a host of vendors that didn't develop the software, iOS is Apple-made. The hardware it's running on is Apple-made. That means Apple can control (and generally improve) the experience of using its iPhone. Its competitors can't do so to the same degree.

4. An overall product strategy

Apple has rightfully realized that in order to be successful in the mobile market, it needs to carry a certain product strategy throughout its mix. So, the more successful Macs are, the better its chances of selling an iPhone or iPad. The same thing could be said about the effect of massive iPhone sales on the continuing success of the Macs. Apple's overall product strategy is the secret sauce in the company's success.

iPhone's Enduring Success: 10 Tactics That Keep the iPhone on Top

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5. Make customers your most zealous evangelists

There has been no better sales force for Apple than its customers. For years, Apple's customers have believed that the company's products are best, and each step of the way, the iPhone maker has relied on them to sell its devices. That's very much the case with Apple's iPhone and its legion of evangelists.

6. Leverage increasing enterprise acceptance

Apple has surprisingly tried to make some inroads into the enterprise. For example, its remote device management feature for iOS has proven extremely popular in the corporate world. In addition, the company has tried to improve its relations with CIOs and other IT decision-makers. The iPhone's popularity in the corporate world seems to show that effort is working.

7. Play the Secrecy Game

Over the years, Apple has effectively played the secrecy game, by clamping down on all possible leaks about future products until the company is ready to strategically leak bits of information to the most influential media. That's especially true with the iPhone, which Apple doesn't  announce until the company is ready and the rumor mill has given Apple as much hype as it can hope to have. Judging by sales, that formula works every time.

8. The "It Just Works" mentality

Apple has embraced simplicity perhaps more than any other company in the industry. The company wants customers to break the iPhone out of the box, turn it on, and get it up and running as soon as possible. It keeps customers happy and keeps them coming back for the latest model.

9. Carrier reliance

Although carriers are reportedly trying to push more Android device sales to reduce Apple's influence in the marketplace, the iPhone is still their top-selling product. As a result, they need Apple. For the iPhone maker, that's great news. For the carriers, it means less power. But none of the carriers are complaining about high iPhone sales.

10. Keeping the legacy

When iPhone sales are tallied, the latest Apple product typically gets top billing. However, it must be made clear that a key component in Apple's iPhone success has been its willingness to offer earlier models at cheaper prices. Not everyone is willing and able to buy the latest and greatest iPhone. Apple knows that and its sales are all the higher as a result.

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