Apple to look to software to differentiate multiple iPhone models
Execs talk about 'segmentation by software'
Exclusive Apple is considering launching multiple iPhone models each differentiated by software, rather than hardware capabilities, company executives have hinted.
Yair Reiner, an analyst at Oppenheimer, recently met with several unnamed Apple executives who, he claimed, said: “[The] iPhone is still in its early days and could gain share by: providing more functionality, lowering prices, growing geographically, or segmenting the market with different models.”
Reiner told Register Hardware today that – when he pressed the firm for further details – the staffers said: “Segmentation would focus on software.”
Apple’s executives were understandably tight-lipped about the details of such segmentation, but it's not hard to imagine the creation of a series of iPhones each running the same core iPhone OS but bundled with different apps and utilities.
For example, Apple could market one 'YouTube' iPhone model with applications that provide video capture, editing and sharing features. Other iPhones might only offer basic video capture - or perhaps no video at all.
Selling models differentiated by hardware seems unlikely. Different iPhones with very different physical specs could have far-reaching implications for Apple’s production methods, volumes and costs.
However, the same core hardware to which a series of different software bundles could be attached would allow Apple to combine the cost/volume benefits of producing as few models as possible with the ability to push different configurations at different kinds of customer.
Whether Apple decides to go down this a route remains to be seen, but rumours have been circulating for weeks that it’s at least prepping some form of update in the interim. For example, a leaked iPhone screen shot from China recently hinted at a 32GB model with faster CPU. ®
The whole beauty of Apple is that it has one, simple OS across all its systems. Why on earth would they handicap their software?
@ac re: cameras
10 years ago? Camera manufacturers still disable certain options in the firmware of their cheaper models to differentiate them from more expensive ones.
segmentation of HW = hard, SW = easy
It is very hard to segment or "differentiate" models of any phone based on hardware - just think of the combinations of speakerphone, bluetooth, camera, music, storage that you might put into any phone, and the number of hardware combinations becomes a huge hurdle and screws up the economies of scale for the hardware manufacturers.
However enabling or crippling various parts via software is what software is best at doing. But someone already mentioned it above that software can be broken to re-enable the parts that Apple decided you didn't deserve.
Maybe Apple should come out with a phone that only lets you dial half of the digits (1-5) and then for an upgrade you can use the other keys. Or imagine only the even or odd numbers! Or they could probably even do it per call (a small surcharge to place those (815) area code calls!
This really must be a challenge for companies and is a strange problem to have: if you give people everything they want in release 1.0, then what will you do for release 2 that will be compelling enough for them to buy anew? Consumers are also wise to "forced" obsolescense these days.