Another Funny Samsung Ad Ridicules Apple iPhone Fans

From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

Samsung is an old hand at poking fun at iPhone fans.

It ran an ad last November for its Galaxy S II smartphone that portrayed Apple fanboys and girls as blindly obedient doofuses. It ran another for the S II in January during the Super Bowl that portrayed Apple fanboys and girls as blindly obedient doofuses.

And now it’s running a new one that extols the cutting-edge virtues of the Galaxy S III that and portrays Apple fanboys and girls as–you guessed it–blindly obedient doofuses. Give Samsung points for consistency–and some real humor.

“I heard you have to have an adapter to use the dock on the new one,” says one guy standing in a line in front of a building in Chicago that heavily suggests an Apple store. “Yeah yeah, but they make the coolest adapters,” another line-waiter earnestly replies. “This year,” says another young man, “we’re finally getting everything that we didn’t get last year.”

Later, a guy in line using a Galaxy turns out to be holding a place for someone else. His parents. Zing!

The initial numbers for iPhone 5 pre-sales suggest the ads may fall on deaf ears, or at least ears plugged by Apple headphones. But the spots last January may have had an impact. BrandIndex said the campaign helped Samsung edge past Apple in brand perception, at least for awhile.

It looks like the iPhone 5 will do just fine. And if Samsung’s predictions are any indication, the S III will do well this year, too.

But Samsung, along with Google, maker of the Android software running on the devices, clearly hope to steal some of the iPhone 5′s thunder, as well as siphon off some of its sales. Will these ads do it?

About these ads

Why 2 Million Apple Fans Ignored Reason And Bought An iPhone 5 Anyway

From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

Even though I recommended that most people not buy Apple’s just-launched iPhone 5 last week, I’m the last one to be surprised that my sage advice was largely ignored. Apple just announced that 2 million people pre-ordered its latest and greatest smartphone in the first 24 hours. I fully expected the new iPhone to be enormously popular because, well, Apple’s major products almost always are.

I still stand by my advice, however, despite the record pre-orders. I continue to think that most people who own a smartphone purchases in the last year or two have no overriding reason to buy a new one so soon, and some good reasons not to. Nonetheless, it’s worth asking why so many people did anyway–and why a third of Americans want one:

1) People didn’t read my post. Hey, I fully understand that I am no Walt Mossberg or David Pogue.

2) The iPhone 5 is the right decision for a certain portion of smartphone buyers–easily millions in a market of hundreds of millions of them. As I wrote before, if you have a phone that’s more than a couple of years old, technology advances mean it’s about time to get a new one, and the iPhone 5 is a great choice, if not the only good one.

3) The new iPhone is a clear advance over the iPhone 4S, even if it’s not a revolutionary advance. It has high-speed 4G data capability, its screen is larger, and it’s noticeably lighter. All good.

4) Media hype. The dirty little secret of tech media is that anything written on Apple gets a lot of readership, even if it’s not positive–though it was hard to be too awfully negative on the iPhone 5. Sure, the Samsung Galaxy S III and other smartphones have more bells and whistles, but not enough more to really shame the iPhone 5, and the S III has its own shortcomings as well. And so that mostly positive iPhone coverage drove more interest in the new Apple phone, and record pre-orders. Nothing new here, but this dynamic undeniably gives Apple products a leg up on every other rival.

5) People don’t always buy in an economically rational way. If you’ve got a 4S with an unlimited data plan, you’ll be spending on a new device and paying more for data to boot if you buy the iPhone 5–a device that for all its improvements probably won’t change your life, your productivity, or your mobile communications or entertainment very much. Nothing new here either, but I still contend that many of the tens of millions of people who will snap up the iPhone 5 in coming months will fit this profile. And that’s not counting idiots who can’t tell the difference between iPhone models.

6) I’m actually an idiot, so why would anyone take my advice anyway? OK, I don’t believe that, but clearly a lot of commenters on my previous post do, so I feel obligated to mention the possibility that I don’t know what I’m talking about. Besides, I wanted to provide one answer that would satisfy all those rabid Apple fanboys.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy Apple’s New iPhone 5

From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

We’re just hours away from what will certainly be one of the most massive hypefests of the year: the introduction of Apple’s newest iPhone. Even without the benefit of Steve Jobs to add that extra touch of magic reality distortion to the proceedings in San Francisco, the entire tech world will see a plunge in productivity for several hours starting at 10 a.m. Pacific while they watch and chew over the launch of what is all but now confirmed to be called the iPhone 5.

* Update: Catch Forbes’ liveblog of the event here. And here’s Apple’s own announcement.

No doubt Apple will sell a ton of the new iPhones. Indeed, though I find this hard to believe, iPhone sales could even add a big boost to this year’s Gross Domestic Product. Diehard Apple fans, and there are millions upon millions of them, won’t be able to resist lining up at Apple stores the night before they become available to be among the first to buy the latest and greatest iPhone.

But you shouldn’t be one of them. Here’s why I think most of you–not all, but most–would be better off not buying the new iPhone:

* It probably won’t be revolutionary. I know–blasphemy! The many leaks of what the new one will look like and the way it will work indicate the new iPhone will, of course, be thinner and faster and sport a bigger screen. So what else is new?

And think about the last time. The iPhone 4S had Siri, the voice assistant that was supposed to revolutionize the way we interact with devices and, oh, by the way, kill Google search. It did neither (though ask me again in a few years, as Siri no doubt steadily improves).

Anyway, let’s face it, smartphones in their current incarnation may not get much better fundamentally. As Steve Shankland at CNET recently pointed out, we’re in an era of incremental refinement more than revolutionary change. At some point, Apple may well come up with yet another product that actually resets the standard for computing and communication devices. But by all reports, the new iPhone isn’t that product. Simply put, you don’t need to own this phone.

* There’s always a risk that something won’t work quite right on the new model, leaving you with buyer’s remorse. Apple’s better than most at avoiding this sort of thing. But remember that faulty antenna in the iPhone 4 two years ago? Update: One word: Maps.

* The older iPhones are still great. Even though some reviewers criticized Apple for touting a machine that didn’t provide many advances, such as a larger screen, the iPhone 4S last year still was widely seen as the best iPhone yet, and still the best overall on the market.

* You will get several of the benefits of the new iPhone just by installing iOS 6–for free. No big screen, no fast LTE data, of course–two biggies, to be sure. But you won’t be left with lagging services like you do with many Android phones that can’t upgrade to the latest OS.

* The older iPhones are also cheap–or free! For one thing, used iPhones are flooding the market as people get ready to buy the new one. Last month, Sprint Nextel and even Apple itself discounted the iPhone 4S, and it doesn’t stretch the imagination to think that when the new model appears, prices for older iPhones will fall across the board. When the iPhone 4S came out, the iPhone 4′s price fell to just $100 and the 3G model was (and still is) free with at AT&T contract. If the pattern holds, doesn’t a free iPhone 4 sound pretty sweet?

* Update: Yes, it does sound sweet. The new iPhones will cost from $199 to $399 depending on the amount of memory, but the 4S will fall to $99. And the 4? With a two-year contract, it will indeed be free.

* If you go with an older model, you can also save bigtime on service plan costs. If you go with a prepaid carrier such as Virgin Mobile or Cricket, you have to pay more for the phone, but over a couple of years, their lower-cost data plans save hundreds of dollars. It’s not clear whether similar deals will be offered with the new iPhone, but it appears unlikely at the outset–so your only way to get those savings is to go with an older model.

* You may have fewer unlimited-data plan options with the new iPhone. Verizon and AT&T have ended their unlimited-data plans, so that’s not new. But on existing phones and contracts, they’re grandfathered in, a significant reason to think twice about an iPhone purchase that would require you to switch carriers. Sprint may offer an unlimited-data plan, but that means switching carriers if you’re not already on it.

* There are–yes–other smartphones out there. Android phones such as Samsung’s Galaxy S III, and even some Windows 8 phones such as Nokia’s Lumia 920, get rave reviews. …

Read the complete, Apple fanboy-inciting post at The New Persuaders.

Five Reasons Apple May Not Dare To Sue Google

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From my Forbes.com blog The New Persuaders:

Now that Apple has scored a decisive win over Samsung in its smartphone patent trial, the big question is whether the maker of the iPhone and the iPad will go after the real enemy: Google. The search company is the maker of the Android software underlying Samsung’s and many other companies’ mobile devices, after all.

But a direct shot at Google looks unlikely at this point for a variety of reasons:

* Apple’s schoolyard bully strategy of going after the legal weaklings like Samsung worked like a charm, so it’s likely to continue going after hardware firms such as HTC and the now Google-owned Motorola Mobility, rather than Google directly. There are many other cases involving those companies, as well as Samsung, around the world–plenty to keep Apple busy, especially now that it has such a clear victory to build upon.

Indeed, patent expert Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents, a persistent Google critic, thinks Apple is more likely to go after Amazon.com first. As Mueller told Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt: “If I were in Apple’s shoes the next company I would sue is not Google, but Amazon, which has an even weaker patent portfolio than Google and sells large volumes of Android-based devices with a subsidies-centric revenue model, which is even more of a threat to Apple’s margins than Google’s advertising-based model.”

* Other hardware makers may now decide to settle with Apple, ratcheting down the need for Apple to go after Google. Analyst after analyst notes that with the clear loss for Samsung, the leader among Android device makers, other firms may decide it’s not worth continuing a fight they now seem more likely to lose.

* Apple looks less likely to win a patent infringement case versus Google. For one, Google itself mostly makes only software, and although its Nexus S device co-branded with manufacturer Samsung was identified by the jury as infringing Apple’s patents, it’s the only one and it’s not clear whether a single device provides a strong case for a separate suit. (It’s also not on Apple’s list of Samsung products it wants banned from sale.)

What’s more, Google doesn’t charge hardware companies for using Android, relying instead on ad revenues derived from Android device use, so there may not be much for Apple to sue about. Finally, let’s not forget that Android existed well before the iPhone came out–in fact, Google bought the company that made it in 2005, two years before the first iPhone. That doesn’t guarantee that whatever Google has done with Android since then is on firm patent ground, but it doesn’t seem a stretch to cast doubt in a jury’s collective mind that Android is simply copying iOS when Android the company clearly predates the iPhone.

Not least, Google has pockets deep enough to counter whatever legal threats Apple throws at it. Indeed, this ruling could well galvanize Google’s mostly passive efforts so far to protect Android hardware licensees. Apple may get all it wants from going after hardware producers, given that Apple makes most of its money from hardware itself.

* Apple has already gotten what it wanted from Google with this ruling: the likelihood that Google will have to change aspects of Android to avoid infringement, potentially reducing the competitiveness of Android devices. As Needham & Co.’s Charles Wolf writes: “Google will be forced to design workarounds of the violated software patents, which was the intent of Apple’s lawsuit, not the monetary award. These workarounds are likely to materially degrade the Android user experience relative to the user experience on Apple’s iOS operating system.”

* Google itself may start talking with Apple about some kind of way to avoid litigation. Wells Fargo Securities’ Maynard Um told investors in a note today that the $250 million or more that Apple could get in licensing fees from Samsung–not to mention additional fees from other device makers that may settle or lose in court as well–would be significant enough for Apple to be worthwhile. Add Google in there, and it may be a cash flow Apple can’t resist. After all, it apparently already offered a royalty deal to Samsung, whose rejection led to Apple’s suit.

One might wonder why Apple would feel the need to deal. …

Read the complete post at The New Persuaders.

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