This illusion began to fade after a few scandals at the plants where Apple has their products assembled and more information came to light about exactly whose products are inside. It became harder to claim that Apple had a better device when their own A-series SoCs are made by the competition. On top of this the competition began working overtime to build high-performance phones, tablets and other electronic devices. Many of these new products came with price tags that were (are) significantly lower than what Apple was pushing, but with similar end user performance.
Apple sought to squash this with a massive lawsuit campaign against anything Android which has stalled for the most part (although they are no trying to enlist others to help). If anything the legal campaign hurt Apple much more than it helped. Although they won many of their cases it brought attention to an increasingly connected consumer base about Apple’s business practices. We also saw many articles about exactly how thin some of the patents Apple uses are. Instead of seeing consumer’s return to the fold Apple saw their market share dwindle while Android’s grew. In short Apple’s bubble popped and their charmed life was slipping away.
Apple is no longer able to maintain the illusion of higher-quality parts and builds. The companies that they use for assembly are the same ones used by Dell, Microsoft, and many others. The quality control is the same and even the parts are made by many of the same people. This is impacting their higher price cap as we watch retail outlets begin to pull back on prices. One recent example is Apple’s latest iPad Mini. We are already seeing the iPad Mini getting rolled into Black Friday sales. Target is offering a $75 gift card if you buy the Mini while iPad Air buyers will be getting $100 back for their shopping. These are the latest and greatest that Apple has to offer and yet retailers are already feeling the need to offer them at a discount.
Apple will have to consider re-pricing their products or they could continue to see dropping sales. We already know that the “low cost” iPhone 5C was not the success they wanted. Too many felt that the plastic phone was still priced too high for what was inside. Instead most felt that Apple should have lowered the price of the “real” iPhone to put it in line with the rest of the market.
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