Product Strategy of Apple Part 1st: iphone5

In coming days, I will be discussing marketing strategy of Apple Inc for its different products and this post is the first one of that series. I am going to begin with product strategy of Apple iPhone 5(although iphone 5 is now too old to be discussed, but I believe the strategy Apple follows is still the same) that is the latest smart phone in its series of smart phones over the years and one that is flagship product of Apple Inc. So without further ado let's get to it.

Product strategy of Apple iPhone 5 diagrammatically 

Apple product strategy
Figure A

The above figure provides a brief sketch of product strategy of Apple for its flagship product iPhone 5. The strategy suggests means and methods by which Apple develops its flagship products, like what factors it considers while developing new products.

This strategy is a brief review of key factors that I believe play key role in their product development, it is by no means a complete product strategy of Apple but it will still provide some really interesting insights into Apple product strategy.


Though there are number of competitors of Apple but we are going to pick the ones that are real competitors of Apple, so when it comes to smart phones those competitors are Samsung and Google.

Blackberry, HTC, Nokia, Sony etc are also worthy competitors but for the sake of understanding, we will take the best and tough time givers only, that are Samsung, Google.

Samsung is giving tough time to Apple in its Galaxy flagship. While Google is competing on software or operating system front, with its ever growing Android market.

Product SWOT

I believe to understand and compete with your competitor do product SWOT (product SWOT of competitor) instead of doing the overall SWOT that may not give you the whole picture or would be really time consuming.

So in the post I am going to do the product SWOT of Apple competitors, after all that’s where a company puts its all efforts, all its strengths and weakness.

Apple was doing great with its product strategy of being unique and totally out of the box until now, but it seems like Apple couldn’t keep up with the pace and lost its focus along the way.

It seems, it failed to realize that its real competitors Samsung and Google were mastering and developing the similar product skills that once only belonged to Apple, especially smart phones niche.

By conducting the product SWOT of Samsung Galaxy S4 I gained the following insights.

Competitors Product SWOT: Samsung Galaxy S4


  • The sleek, ultra thin awesome look that was once part of Apple iPhone smart phone strategy is adopted by Samsung, it seems like they did the product SWOT of Apple instead of Apple doing theirs. Galaxy S3(8.6mm) back in 2012 was much thinner and sleeker than Apple iphone4s(9.3mm) but you know thinness and smoothness was a strength (used to be) not anymore. That’s why Samsung trim its next in S series around 0.7mm whereas I guess Apple kept with its old strategy of trimming down to 7.6mm which is 0.3mm thinner than current Samsung Galaxy S4.
  • According to Kantar WorldPanel Google android market has increased from last 43% (February 2012) to 51% (February 2013) while in the same time Apple iOS share dropped from 47% (February 2012) to 43% (February 2013) it speaks a lot. Considering the other smart phone OSs in the US like RIM (Blackberry) whose market shrunk further from 3.6% (February 2012) to 0.7% (February 2013), Symbian from 0.5% (February 2012) to 0.1 % (February 2013). While Windows has it share increased from 2.7% (February 2012) to 4.1% (February 2013).

    Now what I see here is that Android has captured larger share as it has not only outdone Apple (Samsung Galaxy S4 vs Apple iPhone 5) but all other high end phones around in terms of their operating systems. The Windows share increase could be contributed by, to a little extent by Apple share shrink as majority of Apple customers won’t like to go for relatively bad thing but for relatively or superior thing that is Galaxy S4 which has Android OS.

    While RIM market decline seems like the major factor for Windows market share increase as RIM and Windows OS both are almost similar high end phones OSs. The Apple share decline and Android market increase has also been reported from UK, the pattern is almost similar rather worse for other OSs.

    The whole situation seems like Android is going to eat up iOS market eventually, this is quite alarming considering that Apple has wide distribution channel that is comprised of 250 plus outlets in the US, 27 in the UK and yet Android market is on rise, surely something is wrong with the iOS.
  • The pixel quality or display quality of Samsung series used to be not so good compared to Apple iPhone flagship but then, like I said they were mastering and they learn quite well from Apple by doing product SWOT and coming up with exquisite piece, which display is far better than iPhone 5. 441 pixels per inch (ppi) means far better display quality than 326 pixels per inch(ppi) and this has become strength of Samsung Galaxy S4 product, which was once a weakness compared to market Apple in smart phones.
  • Another key strength that Apple for the sake of another strategy (iCloud), made its biggest weakness in its flagship iPhone series is the unavailability of external memory slot in its product. If you make a great phone, with great features and great camera (8MP) then why would you not provide your target market to make full and best use of it. With no external memory and limited internal memory of which good amount is consumed by its operating system and different apps, its user was left with little or no storage to capture memories. While Samsung understood the market and offered the external memory option with same camera specifications in Samsung S3 while far better Camera in S4 (13MP) turning Apple weakness into one of its strengths.
  • Likewise it has outdone Apple and others with its processor and some really totally out of the box features like smart stay, smart pause, smart scroll and air gesture, which is by the way the exact same strategy of Apple where Apple introduced Siri in iphone 4s which was great hit and perhaps one of the noticeable difference between Apple high end phones and rest of the manufacturers. Samsung definitely got the message that day. For once it was Apple strength now it's Samsung strength.


  • It is following the Apple strategy of making a great product and soon Apple will find a way to overcome it. Though such strategy is great way to outdone the leader as it is the only way as everyone knows the famous proverb Diamond cuts the Diamond. But again, that other diamond(Apple) also has chance to cut this diamond(Samsung) right?!. So it (Samsung) needs to either keep outdoing Apple or Apple will outdo it.


  • In terms of product design there isn’t much Samsung would be able to do with present age technology but it does have a lot of opportunities in terms of adding similar smart features (on software side) to make it more users friendly. As that is the only area where they can improve their product while this is a good news for Apple as they are the pioneers of such features (Siri) they surely will be able to pull this one off by adding some really out of the box features and if they don’t well then they are going to find themselves in similar situation in next half a decade like Blackberry.
  • With its Galaxy S4, Samsung has beaten Apple in US market in terms of sales that means many things but I am going to point out couple of things first that means they really know Apple and second they know how to sell. And that creates an opportunity to capture even more thanks to Apple stubborn complacency.


  • Considering the overall situation, Samsung is safer for now, no threats unless Apple follows the same strategy (of Samsung) and do things in far better way than Samsung.

With this our product SWOT is complete and I hope my dear readers got useful insight through this analysis like why is Samsung S4 beating Apple, what are the factors that contributed to Samsung S4 strengths and Apple iPhone 5 weaknesses. In the next part of Apple product strategy for iPhone 5, We will talk about the other side of its product strategy (right side of the above figure A on the top). So keep visiting and keep learning ;)

About Publisher Arshad Amin

Certified SEO Professional, Small Business, Start-up, Marketing Expert with ton's of practical, actionable ideas, insights to share, Proud Founder and Owner of and

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