No, this is not a repeat episode of the Macalope! If it seems like it was just this past Tuesday that the Macalope was taking The Motley Fool’s Sam Mattera to task, well, that’s because it was.
“2 Reasons Apple’s iPhone Won’t Take Two-Thirds of the U.S. Smartphone Market” (tip o’ the antlers to @JonyIveParody).
Sam, honey. Don’t.
Based on the current rate of smartphone adoption, and more specifically, the rate of adoption of Apple’s iPhone, analyst Horace Dediu at Asymco is projecting that, by the time the U.S. smartphone market nears total saturation (around 2017), the iPhone will account for about two-thirds of U.S. smartphones.
As the Macalope has previously stated, he finds trying to project market share to be a rather silly exercise since there are so many unknowns. However, in a fight between Horace Dediu and Sam Mattera, the Macalope is willing to spot Mattera a +2 vicious greatsword and still bet on Dediu.
The rate of smartphone adoption in the U.S. has been fairly steady, and to his credit, Dediu has been able to successfully project adoption rates in recent years.
Mattera, meanwhile, successfully projected what night Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. was on.
Carriers could ditch subsidies
Right now, U.S. carriers are happy to subsidize the iPhone, but that might not always be the case.
Is it possible that Mattera doesn’t know what these “subsidies” are? The Macalope has been pointing this out for four years:
That isn’t a “subsidy” by the traditional definition. It’s a loan. AT&T is loaning you the money to buy an iPhone and you’re signing a contract to pay it off…
But now Jean-Louise Gassée has pointed out the same thing:
There is no subsidy. Carriers extend a loan that users pay back as part of the monthly service payment. Like any loan shark, the carrier likes its subscriber to stay indefinitely in debt, to always come back for more, for a new phone and its ever-revolving payments stream.
Does Mattera really think carriers are getting screwed by selling iPhones or that customers are really getting them cheaper? They’re not.
Android’s open model has produced far more innovation
Like larger screens! And, uh, wood grain? Is wood grain an innovation?
Yes, there are many more kinds of Android handsets, but that doesn’t mean they’re more innovative.
There are lots of reasons why Dediu’s prediction could be disrupted. But the mythical idea that carriers give you money so you can buy your iPhone isn’t one of them. And neither is pretending that you don’t have a double standard for what’s innovative.