Apple’s unveiling of two new iPhone models will strengthen the Company’s position in the enterprise but will do little to halt the expansion of Google’s Android platform outside Apple’s North American stronghold.
Perhaps more importantly, Apple has finally embraced ‘tap-and-pay’ technology, building NFC near field communications) chips into both new handsets which should hasten the adoption of mobile wallets in developed markets and entered the ‘wearable technology’ market with the launch of a smartwatch due to go on sale early next year.
Together these two developments bring Apple more into line with other leading smartphone makers including arch rival Samsung, and together with the introduction of a significant update to the iOS operating system, will open up new opportunities for both consumer and business app developers.
Apple under Steve Jobs and then Tim Cook had previously resisted pressure to adopt NFC and shunned calls for iPhones with larger touch screens despite the raft of larger screen ‘phablets’ launched by its Android-based competitors including Samsung, LG and Google itself.
The introduction of an Apple-branded smartwatch – though widely anticipated – also marks an important milestone in the evolution of wearable technology and the Internet of Things powered by low cost digital sensors and ubiquitous broadband communications.
Investors appeared pleased by Apple’s announcements sending the company’s shares higher, but the two new iPhones, the iPhone 6 with its 4.7-inch touch screen and iPhone 6 Plus with a 5.5 inch screen, are still clearly aimed at the premium end of a rapidly commoditizing market where lower cost Android-based manufacturers, particularly Chinese companies, are making big market share gains.
As a result, the new handsets may help Apple hold onto its market share in the US, but are unlikely to win new followers in more price sensitive markets including those in Europe, Asia and Africa.