Maybe it’s the political silly season. Maybe it’s too many years as a news junkie. Whatever it is, I’ve grown both accustomed to media members stretching and obscuring the facts and truth, and have become more irritated at how little far too many people seem to care about viewing the world behind a few headlines on faux news stations and faux news websites.
Here’s my case in point. Windows vs. Mac is exactly like Android vs. iPhone. In other words, they are mismatched comparisons. One is an operating system that resides on many different computing devices. The other is a computing device; Mac and iPhone. Yet, members of the media technorati elite conflate the two with arcane and inaccurate comparisons.
Apple’s products have had an untold number of near death experiences simply because of invalid marketshare comparisons. Don’t be fooled. When it comes to marketshare there is nothing to see here. Please move along to something worthwhile.
It’s the tale of the long tail.
Android devices constitute a market with a very long tail; a long, tail-like spectrum that ranges from high end premium smartphones and a few tablets– Samsung’s Galaxy class comes to mind, but there are others– all the way down to the cheapest devices you can buy that still run Android. All those Android devices get counted in marketshare comparisons vs. Apple’s iPhone, a product line with a decidedly short tail.
That’s wrong. The comparisons are invalid. Whenever you read an article that makes the comparison just remember what I wrote. “There is nothing to see here. Please move along to something worthwhile.”
Marketshare merely is one product marketing metric, one among many, and not even the most important. Even worse, marketshare is a guesstimate because only Apple delivers actual sales numbers and they do it every quarter. Windows PC manufacturers do not. Android device makers do not. Why not? If their sales numbers are so much better than Apple’s then why not trumpet that fact?
Maybe it’s not a fact.
Marketshare numbers are guesstimates; numbers made up from various and sundry research organizations and such numbers have little basis in fact. Guesstimates all.
What about that long tail?
Think of the tail as a graph with the premium Android smartphones at one end; the devices that make the most revenue and profits for a few manufacturers who actually make money selling Android– and the hundreds and hundreds of manufacturers who make up the rest of the Android smartphone sales guesstimates. Those companies come and go and have little to show for their place in the Android ecosystem because they push cheap products and sell them at cheaper prices.
Apple does not play at that end of the tail. As of Wednesday, the least expensive iPhone is the iPhone SE, arguably as good a device as the iPhone 6s but in a smaller package deserving of a slightly lower price. That small product lineup explains why Apple maintains nearly 90-percent of the entire smartphone industry’s profits. There’s not a long tail. Apple does not compete with long tail products.
The next time you read about or hear about marketshare and iPhone, or marketshare Mac, ignore it, and consider the source (to ensure that you’re not hoodwinked by the same source in the future). Like Windows and Mac, Android and iPhone is an invalid comparison. Apple does not compete with those manufacturers who make up the long tail of marketshare.