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Sales start of the iPhone 5 – Tougher competition puts Apple’s cult status to the test

Sales start of the iPhone 5 – Tougher competition puts Apple’s cult status to the test

The pre-order of the iPhone 5 is in progress. The new cell phone will go on sale in nine countries on Friday. Apple stock has already broken all records and cracked the $ 700 mark. Nevertheless: the competition on the market has become tougher. Can Apple maintain its cult status and shine with a new sales record?

By Anne-Kathrin Keller

Samsung and Apple – an incredible battle between two giants. A social media glitch at Samsung Mobile USA last week showed at least once who the consumers see as the winner in the corporate duel. The Korean company wanted to start a conversation with its Facebook fans with a seemingly harmless question and posted: If you were allowed to take an electronic item with you to a desert island, which one would it be? The result on the company’s own fan page should not have been pleasing. There are now 15,000 almost identical comments: the iPhone.

After the presentation of the new iPhone, the electronics industry and its fans are going crazy again. One day before the official start of sales of the smartphone in Germany and eight other countries on Friday, September 21, the Apple share has already reached a new record high. On New York’s Wall Street, the paper rose to over $ 700. More than two million American Apple fans have already pre-ordered the new smartphone. It breaks all iPhone records. No model has been in such high demand. The previous model, the iPhone 4S, was only ordered half as often in advance. The demand in Europe is also enormous, report German mobile phone providers.

Apple versus Samsung

It was more than time to launch a new product if Apple is to remain the most valuable company in the world. Especially since the iPhone 5 was expected much earlier. The iPhone 5 is Apple’s first major innovation since the summer of 2010. The market has now become tighter and the competition has upgraded. The toughest rival is Samsung, the toughest competing product is the four-month-old Samsung Galaxy S3. The similarities with the iPhone are obvious: it is thin, has a large screen and many extra functions, such as unlocking with face recognition. 20 million copies have already been sold.

In fact, the iPhone 5 is technically inferior to the Samsung model. It has neither the NFC chip to enable cashless payments nor extra tools like facial recognition. But it is almost a tradition at Apple to bring slightly worse equipped products onto the market than the competition. So it brought the first generation without UMTS onto the market. So far, this tactic has not harmed the company.

But the competition is far from just in the market. A patent war has also broken out between the two electronics companies. Before the last instance in California, Apple won. Now it wants to extend its lawsuit to the S3 as well. Samsung has already announced that it will sue Apple in Europe and the US if the new iPhone used LTE. That is the case now. So the war is going into the next round.

Tamer competitor Nokia

With the Windows Phone operating system, Microsoft and Nokia have been trying for some time to gain a foothold in the smartphone market and finally to become a force on the same level as iOS from Apple and Android from Google. But that doesn’t really work out. The new Lumia models with the latest Windows Phone 8 version have already been presented, but what the smartphone should cost and how and when it will be available has not yet been officially determined. Experts estimate that it should come in October, one month after the iPhone at the earliest. It is doubtful whether consumers will then still be ready to buy.

For Apple CEO Tim Cook, the new smartphone is his most important project to date and a real test of success. The danger: Loyal Apple customers could be disappointed because the new model – according to the public opinion of experts – does not bring any fundamental changes. Recently, the sales figures for the previous model fell significantly. Competitor Samsung, on the other hand, doubled its sales figures in the past quarter. Only after the iPhone 5 has gone on sale will it become clear whether Apple customers really only wanted to wait for the new model and consumers have rushed to buy Samsung products, or whether Apple has actually lost customers.

Loyal customers

So far, the group has always remained loyal to its fans. Even when Tim Cook only presented a revised 4S generation instead of the then expected iPhone 5 in autumn 2011, Apple disciples stormed the stores and bought the model 37 million times within three months – a record result for Apple. On the stock exchange, the price initially plummeted. The stock exchange traders were concerned that the group had lost its innovative strength.

This time the analysts are much more optimistic. Industry experts believe that up to ten million copies will be sold in the first week. The number of previous pre-orders also shows that Apple doesn’t have to worry about its cult status. But the company also needs success: Because the group result depends to a large extent on the iPhone. The smartphone department now accounts for almost half of group sales.

If the iPhone is fine, Apple is fine too. This is a crucial difference to the competition. Samsung is highly diversified and could compensate for failures in the cell phone division much more easily. Apple depends on the iPhone. This time the numbers speak for the company again. For the future, however, the question arises whether the company can continue to increase sales figures to the same extent. Because it would have to if the group continued to focus so heavily on the smartphone market.