Apple Losing Its Mojo in the Smartphone Market


The Wall Street Journal ran the chart on the right today, showing that Apple’s iPhone is losing ground to Android. But Matt Yglesias says this isn’t bad news for Apple: after all, 13 percent of 236 million is a lot more than 17 percent of 156 million. Apple is selling more phones than ever, and making lots of money on them.

This is true. But I’d say it’s still bad news for Apple. Until now, one of Apple’s big advantages in the market has been the depth and quality of its app ecosystem. But as its market share keeps decreasing, that will go away. Developers will write apps for Android first, and then port their code over to iOS later. All the newest and coolest stuff will be available on Android phones first, and as that happens the all-important teen demo will slip away. Apple’s obsessively tight control over what you’re allowed to do with your phone will start to seem creepy, not smart, and their single-minded dedication to a single form factor will become an albatross.

Not right away, of course. It will take a while. But there’s a tipping point where declining market share turns into a death spiral. If that happens, the iPhone will become cousin to the Mac: a niche product that spins off some money but not much else. And that might be OK. Maybe Apple has never counted on the iPhone being an industry-leading product forever, and figures that the next big thing will power its next growth phase, all funded by stagnant but steady profits from the iPhone. Maybe.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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