It has been quite humorous watching the acolytes of the iPhone sink into deeper and deeper denial as Android blows through obstacles at ever-accelerating speed. It would require an epic poet, or perhaps a psychiatrist specializing in religious mania, to do full justice to this topic. But I will attempt a brief tour through the more prominent delusions here.
Back in the beginning – I remember first hearing this just weeks after the G-1 shipped (I got mine on day 3) – There was “Android will never gain any significant market share because the user experience is inferior.”
The latest fashionable form of denial is “It doesn’t matter that Android is now the #1-selling smartphone in the U.S. and worldwide, Apple is making money hand over fist.” Heh. What this actually says to any long-time tech-industry watcher is: disruption from below succeeded, Apple marketshare and revenue collapse coming in 3, 2, 1…
Ah, but let us consider some of the intermediate delusions. “Developers won’t write for Android because the Apple app store already has too big a network-effect advantage.” That was an early one, more recently replaced by “Nobody’s making any money writing for Android.” Somewhere, the Angry Birds crew is laughing at that one all the way to the bank.
Remember “The iPhone 4 is coming! It will rule OK and whip all you whimpering Android weenies back to your fetid holes!” I recall that one being quite the favored invocatory chant around this time last year. It was, of course, followed by the Antennagate fiasco and the utter failure of the iPhone 4 to slow Android’s rise even enough to show up as a speed bump on comScore’s 2010 quarterlies.
Blaming Android’s rise on the AT&T carrier exclusive had always been a popular evasion. After the iPhone 4 failed to deliver salvation, the faithful switched to “The iPhone 4V is coming! It will rule OK, etc.” Alas, sales out of the gate were unimpressive. Two months later it appears that the iPhone 4V is now being outsold on the Verizon network not just by Android in aggregate but by a single Android phone – the HTC Thunderbolt.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Apple boosters assured us repeatedly that what consumers wanted was slick industrial design, iTunes, and the close, comforting embrace of the walled garden – not all that icky, chaotic openness and freedom and choice. They’ll pay extra to have Steve Jobs tell them what they really like!” chorused the cultists. The consumers…disagreed.
Ah, yes. And do you remember when version fragmentation was the sure doom of Android? This one was particularly popular in early 2010, when the 2.x versions hadn’t completely replaced 1.6 on smartphones. Having learned almost nothing from that go-round, the Jobsians are now singing the same tune in a minor key about Android tablets.
In fact, now that Android has blown the doors off Apple zooming past it in the smartphone market, the belief that Apple can somehow make the tablet market come out differently from smartphones is probably now the most cherished of the Apple fan’s delusions.
One popular version of this myth is Apple cleverly bought up all the parts, preventing anyone else from ramping up production of inexpensive tablets for years!” Uh huh. Anyone except every single electronics company on the Pacific Rim, seemingly all of whom are piling into the Android tablet market like sharks smelling blood in the water. Archos, Heropad, Samsung, eLocity, Viewsonic, scores of others – it’s nearly a full-time job just tracking the product announcements.
It’s all quite like the mid-2009 explosion in inexpensive Android phones. Yeah, sure, no threat to Apple’s marketshare at all there. Low-end disruption? Never heard of it. iPad 2, superior user experience, quality leader, la-la-la-la-la-la-la. One only hopes that Apple’s product planners are less prone to self-delusion than the company’s fans.