Android

Will the "iPhone effect" hurt Android this time around?

Will the Android ecosystem be hurt or helped by the release of the latest iPhone? Jack Wallen offers an answer in the form of the "iPhone effect."

iPhone Effect

Soon, the latest and greatest iPhone will be released. This annual event draws Election Day-level attention to the world of technology, and with good reason — Apple knows how to release a product better than any company on the planet. Their marketing team knows how to build consumers into a frenzy and have them salivating at the mouth to get the newest product.

I call this the "iPhone effect." It's like a special kind of Christmas for adults. The second the newest iDevice is released, those with the previous years model are antsy to have the new gleaming goodness in their hands.

The world of Android really has nothing like that. Why? Simple — Android devices are released throughout the year. With so many manufacturers producing smartphones and tablets, it's easy to grow numb from the buzz and frenzy akin to Apple's big day.

Ultimately, will the latest release hurt Android this time? After all, Apple has completely redesigned the interface and enlarged the iPhone. These radical departures from Apple's norm dig deep into that which is part of the Android ecosystem. Does this mean Android's global dominance might take a hit?

The short answer? Here's how I think it will unfold.

  • US: Apple will see a significant rise in market share
  • Global: Apple will see a minor rise in market share

One of the reasons for the rise in both markets has as much to do with Samsung as it does Apple. Samsung's Galaxy S5 was a massive disappointment (both to the market and to users). However, with the upcoming release of the Galaxy Alpha, Samsung is on an opposite design trajectory than Apple. You see, the Alpha is going to be smaller than the S5 and will consist of a metal chassis. Two of the biggest issues with the S4/5 was the size and the cheap feel of the device. So, while Apple increases in size, Samsung is finally learning from its mistake and bringing to light a smaller version of its flagship phone. And if you've seen images of the Galaxy Alpha, the first thing that comes to mind is, surprisingly enough, the iPhone 6 — a form factor many agree is the ideal size and shape for a smartphone (though, for me, the Moto X is the ideal size and shape).

This, of course, makes one wonder — have iPhone users longed for a larger device? To avoid complete disaster (backlash from those that prefer the smaller size), Apple is rumored to be releasing two iPhone 6 devices with screens of either 4.7 or 5.5 inches. The larger model is actually bigger than the Galaxy S5 (coming in at 5.1) and the new Alpha will be the "ideal" 4.7 inches.

So, clearly, Samsung and Apple are taking queues from one another. The Galaxy line of devices is seeing its own iPhone effect and the iPhone line seems to be reaching Galaxy sizes. I firmly believe that when the Alpha is released, there will be quite an uptick in Android purchases from users who are tired of oversized, plastic devices... and this will help balance out the shift from iPhone 6 sales.

Yes, there will be a brief spike in the Apple market share (even globally) — but in the end, it will even back out, and Android will continue to remain the king of mobile across the planet. Truthfully, this "competition" between the two mobile giants benefits everyone involved. As Apple, Samsung, HTC, Motorola, LG, Sony, etc. continue to push the boundaries of mobile technology, everyone wins. Although no other manufacturer of smartphones can claim to have the same effect as the release of an Apple product release, it should be easy to see how the "iPhone effect" positively affects all other manufactures.

As surprising as this may sound, I'm excited about the release of the iPhone 6. Why? Because it inspires competition and innovation from all other companies. It means the manufacturers of Android devices will, once again, bring their A-game when releasing their next devices (like the Galaxy Alpha).

How do you think the iPhone 6 will affect the Android ecosystem? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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