I read on twitter earlier today that the iPhone is the third most popular smartphone in the UK at the moment, behind BlackBerry and Android-based devices (second and first respectively).
I can’t remember the original source of that stat, so you’ll have to take my word for it. Or not – the choice is yours.
Coupled with all the brouhaha about the lack of an iPhone app for GooglePlus, this got me thinking. Who has the most to lose from the lack of such an app?
I’ve seen a lot of comments on GooglePlus (and again, this is – I’m afraid – anecdotal) saying that Google needs to pull its finger out and get an iPhone app sorted out… and fast.
I’m not sure that’s a perspective I share.
The success of the smartphone phenomenon is down to the ability to use apps and other data-dependent services on the go. If those apps and services weren’t appealing, didn’t offer any value to the user, would the smartphone be as ubiquitous as it has become? I, for one, think not.
It is still too early to say whether GooglePlus will be a long-lasting success or just another flash in the social media pan. So far though, I think all the indications are pretty positive.
The lack of an iPhone app isn’t going to impede the success of GooglePlus. Some of the most active people I know on it are also iPhone users. They’re using it because it gives them value. Not because it is associated with one device or another.
The same might not be so true in reverse.
If Apple’s loyal iPhone customer base begin to see there are other smartphones that offer a better all-round data experience they may start to consider jumping ship rather than upgrading to a new iPhone next time their contract is up for renewal.
Apple risks, therefore, experiencing some of the same disintermediation that blights the network operators. In the UK Orange, Vodafone and O2 used to enjoy significant brand loyalty among their customers. Not any more. They are the plumbing that allows the cool stuff to flow. Nothing more.
If Apple finds GooglePlus (or anything for that matter) starts to come between the iPhone brand and its customers it will be the one who loses out ultimately.
The onus therefore, in my opinion, has to be on Apple to redouble its efforts in being more open, something where it still has much to prove.