At six years old, Apple’s iPhone is still holding strong as one of the most popular phones on the market.
Apple came out with its seventh and eighth iPhone models on Sept. 20 and 21.
The company debuted the iPhone 5S, with updated features such as a fingerprint sensor, faster processor and better camera. Apple also debuted the 5C, which comes in several vibrant colors and is $100 cheaper than the 5S.
An Associated Press report said Apple sold 9 million 5S and 5C iPhones the first weekend after the release. Long lines were seen at stores globally.
Fresno State marketing professor William Rice said the iPhone phenomenon is due to consumers’ psychological want and need to have the newest and best phone rather than the technological updates.
“People want what I call the ‘newness cycle,’” Rice said. “When was the last time Apple came out with a phone? Less than a year ago. That’s because the newness has worn off, and all of the sudden everyone has one. Now people have to have the next one and have to have their standard raised.
“Why do people stand in long lines to get anything that’s new? Because they want to be able to be the first person to say, ‘I was the first one in line.’ It all has to do with the newness cycle of how people psychologically want to say that they have some notch on their belt that says they’ve accomplished something.”
Rice said the split with the 5C and 5S was a poor marketing strategy on Apple’s part and could potentially harm its brand.
“It’s kind of like when Cadillac came out with the Cadillac Cimarron. It was a lower-end Cadillac,” Rice said. “No, I buy Cadillac because I want the best car on this earth. I don’t want a junk car that looks like a Volkswagen. This issue of splitting the phone up, I think, is dividing the whole marketplace. Whoever made that decision was stupid.”
Rice said he believes Steve Jobs, who died in October 2011, would not approve of the division of the two phones. He said Jobs was particularly notorious for coming up with one product and idea at a time.
Kara Sidorowicz, a Fresno State graduate student in psychology and recent 5S owner, said she felt Apple should have kept the 5 in production rather than discontinuing it and creating the 5C.
“I thought it was kind of bogus because the 5C, the cheaper version, is essentially the same thing as the iPhone 5,” Sidorowicz said. “I think they made a couple modifications to the 5C, but it still has the same speed processor and they don’t have it in 64 GB. It only goes up to 32 GB.”
Sidorowicz also said she did not like that the 5C came in colors. She said it looked more young and juvenile rather than mature and professional.
Arun Shivaprasad, Fresno’s Best Buy mobile lead salesman, said he and his team have had at least a hundred people reserve the 5S at his store.
“Apple kind of constrained the amount of 5S’s, because we only got a few 5S phones,” Shivaprasad said. “Those are the ones people really wanted right away. We didn’t have too many of them, so we did reservations. We have a huge list of reservations. Every time a new shipment comes in, they are all reserved.”
Shivaprasad said people like iPhones because they trust Apple and its products.
“I think it’s the brand positioning of how they market,” Shivaprasad said. “The Apple customers are very loyal because they love the way Apple works all together with their products. Some people are more trusting and will buy Apple because they know it’s a solid phone and a solid product.”
He also said people tend to go for the phone because of its simple layout and design.
“I think it’s the ease of use,” Shivaprasad said. “We get a lot of people that want something simple that is reliable and easy to get into the smartphone market. The iPhone gives you that. Whenever I talk to customers, Android is kind of looked like the techy, customizable phone that you can do so much more with it. And the iPhone is always looked at as the reliable, easy to use type of product.”
Rice said that if Apple does not broaden their horizons in the future by working with other companies among different platforms, the company’s fortune could decline.
“The best thing that Apple can do now is make a marriage for people who are combining all the technologies together,” Rice said. “Right now, the iPhone is not a total platform, it’s a partial platform. How many more things can they do with bells and whistles? What are we up to, a million apps? The best thing they can do is to work with other companies to create a larger platform.”