Re/code published Apple documents released as part of the iPhone maker’s ongoing legal battles with Samsung, which cast an interesting light on its view of development in the market.
Noting that iPhone growth rates are slowing, the company said that the strongest demand for consumers is for “less expensive & larger screen smartphones”. This is a problem for Apple, because these are not markets in which it plays.
It also noted that it rivals have “drastically improved their hardware and in some cases their ecosystems”, and in some cases are spending “obscene” amounts on advertising or promotions.
And that operators also have reasons for “capping” iPhone adoption, including subsidy levels, lack of alignment with their objectives and – using Apple’s quotation marks – “unfriendly” policies.
The findings fit with earlier – and ongoing – speculation about Apple’s iPhone 6 plans. These centre on the fact that the vendor is readying devices with larger screens – with the iPhone getting a hike closer to 5-inches, and a phablet version coming in above that.
This will enable Apple to tap into this growth sector, particularly in Asia, where large-screen devices are especially popular. Indeed, it has been reported that Apple has recruited staff in this region to drive product growth.
But the company has shied away from offering a device at lower price points (Apple identifies sub-$300 as the growth category in its documents). While the iPhone 5c was introduced to add a lower-cost option to the range, it is still priced at around $500.
While offering a lower-cost device would enable Apple to tap into another growth sector, it would also remove some of the cachet of the iPhone line – and the vendor is not traditionally associated with the “value” segment.