iPhone Demand Could Start to Wane in 2013: 10 Signs of Trouble

NEWS ANALYSIS: Apple’s iPhone is certainly popular and the device has impressed many customers. But there’s a chance demand for its products could slip this year.

Apple’s iPhone isn’t what it used to be, some say. The device, while still wildly popular and selling more units each year, has been hit by some increasing doubt over whether it can remain the dominant force in the mobile industry.

Devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy S III have spurred some of those conversations, but so too have Apple’s mistakes and missed opportunities. In the process, some can’t help but wonder if the iPhone will be hit with declining demand in 2013.

Of course, declining demand is a relative term. In the iPhone’s case, it doesn’t necessarily mean that sales will plummet. Instead, it’s possible that iPhone sales growth slows this year. It’s also possible that, in the worst-case scenario for Apple, it will actually see shipments drop in 2013. Regardless of the scenario, it appears increasingly likely that the iPhone’s demand among consumers and enterprise users will slow to some degree in 2013.

Don’t believe it? Read on to find out why:

1. It’s losing the power war

Today’s mobile customers want power. They want to know that when they break a product out of the box, they’re getting something that can handle their games, will deliver the best performance and will not be obsolete in a year. But looking around the mobile space, Apple is losing the power war as companies like Samsung deliver products with faster processors and better graphics chips. Customers are starting to realize that.

2. It’s also losing the feature war

Apple isn’t just losing when it comes to power. From the standpoint of comparative specifications, the company’s iPhone is starting to lag behind competing devices. The device’s 4-inch screen, for example, is nearly one inch smaller than its chief competitor’s. What’s worse, the device lacks near-field communication (NFC) support and its camera quality is trailing Nokia’s. In the smartphone space, at least, the iPhone is no longer so impressive.

3. iOS Has Fallen Behind Android

When Apple launched iOS, the mobile operating system was far ahead of any anything else on the market. Now, though, it’s fallen behind Android. For instance, Android supports full near-field communication data transfers and multiple user accounts. With the Premium Suite Upgrade from Samsung, users will find a host of other nice features, like the ability to rotate the screen based on the user’s face position. Meanwhile iOS is a nice piece of 2010 software technology—and in the mobile market two years is a long time.

4. Embarrassments abound

It’s important to point out that Apple and its operating system have been embarrassed in the last couple of years. When Apple launched Siri, it was supposed to be the product that would make folks more productive. Instead, Siri became the butt of jokes because the voice response technology hadn’t shown much improvement. The same is true for last year’s underperforming Maps. Customers haven’t forgotten about those flaws and might think twice about buying an iPhone this year for fear of other issues.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...