It’s all quiet on the western front in Cupertino these days. Odd behavior for a company under siege. Where has the scrappy Apple gone? Where’s the fiery leadership?
BlackBerry brought out the artillery – finally! – earlier this year with its much-delayed BlackBerry 10 smartphone, taking dead aim at the iPhone in the enterprise. Microsoft jumped in the tablet fray with the Surface RT and Surface Pro. Now Samsung is gearing up for its show in New York this week to unveil the Galaxy S IV, its flagship smartphone that might unseat the iPhone 5 atop the best sellers list.
Market research reports are also taking pot shots at Apple lately.
A damning Appthority report found that all of the top 50 free iOS apps send data back and forth without encryption, compared to 92 percent of the top 50 free Android apps. Not much difference between them. But this flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which holds that iOS apps behind Apple’s walled garden are much more secure than the wildly open Android OS apps.
This week, IDC made a bold prediction: Android tablets will overtake iPads this year. Market share for iPads will slip from 51 percent last year to 46 percent this year, while Android tablets will grow market share to 48.8 percent.
The numbers skew worse for Apple over time, too. By 2017, IDC predicts that Android will have 46 percent market share, iPads with 43.5 percent, Windows with 7.4 percent, and Windows RT with 2.7 percent. Of course, the total tablet market will have grown to as much as 350 million global tablet shipments. Winning more than 40 percent of this market ain’t too shabby.
Nevertheless, Apple’s nearly non-existent response to an all-out assault on its core products has to be a bit unnerving for the Apple faithful. Apple used to let the rumor mill do its work, using mystery to power up anticipation. The only noise the rumor mill is making has something to do about an iWatch, which plays second fiddle to the more talked about Google Glasses.
Wall Street isn’t showing Apple a lot of love, either. Google’s stock is trading at all-time highs, while Apple’s stock continues to slide.
All of this begs the question: Will we ever hear the thunderous applause again, when Apple counters with a show-stopper of its own?
Tom Kaneshige has been covering business and technology in Silicon Valley for two decades. As senior online writer at CIO.com, Tom covers Silicon Valley culture, BYOD and consumer tech in the enterprise.