Apple's market dominance threatened after under-whelming iPhone 15 release
Apple's dominant position in the high-end smartphone market will likely come under threat in China, with strong competition from domestic brands and the launch of the new iPhone 15 models without blockbuster surprises, analysts and netizens said on Wednesday.
Netizens complained about the higher price of the premium iPhone 15 Pro Max, limited memory storage setup for entry-level models and a pricey adapter for the USB-C switch.
At 1am (Beijing time) on Wednesday, Apple launched a fresh series of iPhones featuring a new titanium shell, a faster chip, switch to USB-C and improved video game-playing abilities. The price ranged from 5,999 (US$821) to 13,999 yuan, with sales kicking off on September 22.
"As Android manufacturers continue to invest more in their flagship products, the iPhone 15 series will undoubtedly face a greater challenge. It's highly likely to change the situation of the past few years during which Apple has dominated China's high-end market (US$600 or above)," said Guo Tianxiang, an analyst with International Data Corp.
In the second quarter this year, Apple's market share in the Chinese high-end smartphone market was 65.4 percent, down from 69.4 percent a year ago. Huawei, OPPO, Xiaomi and Honor were the next brands, respectively, in the market, according to IDC.
The recent debut of Huawei's Mate 60 Pro models, which were put on sale suddenly and have received a warm market response, will further change the market landscape, industry officials said.
On social platform Weibo, Apple's iPhone garnered several uncomplimentary lines in the top trending topics like the "most expensive iPhone ever" or "the 243-yuan USB-C adapter."
Other netizens groused about the 128-gigabyte memory of the iPhone 15 models, which seemingly is not able to meet users' demand for storage of WeChat messages, photos and videos.
Currently, Apple's iPhone still has branding advantages. But the American giant may face more challenges with the return of Huawei and innovations from other Android brands, experts noted.