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Text | Yang Xiaohe
Source: Tech Planet
On September 8, the “Technology Spring Festival Gala” came to an end, and Apple’s iPhone 14 series was finally unveiled.
In the past few months, the iPhone 14 has created nearly a thousand Weibo hot searches. However, many hot searches have not guessed correctly. For example, the rumored 15% price increase has not appeared, and the iPhone 14 is still increasing the volume and not increasing the price; at the same time, the Pro series of pill screens guessed correctly, but did not guess “Smart Island” Function. There is also an upgrade of the rear camera from 12 million to 48 million pixel sensors, which is also a surprise for many users.
Other anticipated upgrades such as satellite communications, A16 bionic chips, and eSIM cards have also made the iPhone 14 series hotly debated. Compared with the iPhone 13, which has been selling well for a year, the iPhone 14 series, which has a tradition of iterating on fish, should not be unexpectedly popular.
The rival Huawei Mate 50 was released 2 days in advance. It is a bright spot to grab the first launch of satellite communication capabilities. Although it also received 2 million daily reservations, the gap caused by other subjective and objective factors also made it difficult for the Mate 50 to be as popular as the iPhone 14.
Judging from Tech Planet’s visit to the mobile phone experience store in Beijing, the popularity of the two is also somewhat clear. In the Huawei flagship store in Sanlitun, although there are already new Mate 50 machines, there is no crowded scene, and there are not many scalpers at the door. In Apple’s Sanlitun Apple flagship store, you still have to wait until the 16th to experience the real machine, but there are already many scalpers lingering at the door to establish contact with consumers who are interested in buying new models via WeChat. Some scalpers mentioned that the Pro series will cost more than 2,000 yuan on the first launch day, and the specific price increase for other models is unknown.
According to Yuanchuan Business Review, the initial stock of iPhone 14 is as high as 95 million units, while the forecast stock of Huawei Mate 50 is only 6 million. Huawei, which still has a war with Apple, if the expected sales volume cannot be compared, other domestic Android manufacturers that are still in the high-end market will be more difficult to compete with the iPhone 14.
In the past year, the domestic Android mobile phone camp has not had a model that is too “playable”, and the appearance of the iPhone 14 means the emergence of a more powerful opponent. The sharp edge of the sword in Apple’s hands has passed the “chill” to Every domestic Android phone manufacturer.
Can’t learn from Apple’s innovation?
In the past year, the iPhone 13 has almost achieved take-all of the high-end market. The highest monthly sales of more than 20 million units have also increased Apple’s market share from 57% in Q1 in 2021 to 62% in Q1 in 2022.
It is not only the exchange rate change that makes the iPhone 13 more cost-effective, but also Apple’s innovation blessing. Going back to the update of the iPhone 14 series, the most eye-catching innovation is undoubtedly the “Smart Island” function.
After Apple released this feature, the network instantly provoked multiple reactions. Some people marvel that this innovation is too spiritual, because no matter whether the pill screen or the bangs screen, it still occupies a certain proportion of the screen, causing the visual display of the screen to be “defective”. However, the “Smart Island” function of the Pro series directly turns this defective screen into a place for common information notifications, and another way to turn waste into treasure.
Of course, there are also dismissive voices in the market. For example, Luo Yonghao, the former founder of Hammer Technology, commented in the circle of friends: “How can you not think of such clever tricks when talking about Android phones? The front camera and the under-screen hidden front camera with perfect vision have all been created, why do you do this kind of thing of putting shit on your face first, and then adjusting the color of the shit to be similar to the foundation?”
ZTE mobile phones also took the opportunity to mock Apple secretly. Weibo released a copy of “no island, fully out of the circle”, accompanied by pictures of Tuxing Axon 40. This mobile phone uses under-screen camera technology to achieve a full screen to a certain extent.
In fact, this may not necessarily be Apple’s lack of innovation. In terms of the full-screen technology with better look and feel, the front-facing selfies of mobile phones using this type of technology are basically useless.
A more rational voice believes that “Smart Island” is the best solution to solve the current selection of Liu Haiping and pill screens, and this technology is still difficult to imitate. Zhu Haizhou, product manager of OPPO ColorOS, said on Weibo:
The cost behind Smart Island is not low, which is equivalent to refreshing and remaking the original public specifications of the notification system, cards, and pop-up window controls in the system, and giving developers enough interfaces to make charm adaptations. Fortunately, Apple has a limited number of models each year, and although the cost is high, it is controllable. The Android side is different, not to mention the punch hole of a machine from a manufacturer, the shape and position of the folding screen under the bangs screen are different, it is difficult to use a set of specifications to perfectly fit all machines, and UI consistency is also a big problem. . Today you’ll see a hodgepodge of notifications, controls, and toasts from different apps on Android. The beauty of apples is consistency. Android can be copied, rare essence.
Many professionals have also made similar remarks. A product manager of a major Internet company told Tech Planet that Meizu’s smartbar should be the first mobile phone to implement this idea, but the effect is very different, and there are also vivo mobile phones. There are similar functions. It can only be said that the effect of Apple landing is the best, redefining the functional innovation of “Smart Island”.
Where should the innovation of domestic Android mobile phones go?
Judging from the innovation of domestic Android mobile phones, in addition to Huawei’s self-developed underlying innovations such as the Hongmeng system and the “folded wings” Kirin chip, other innovations are more at the application level. In fact, at the software level, there have been no such refreshing innovations as 3D Touch and Smart Island in China for a long time.
Domestic Android mobile phone manufacturers, who have nowhere to turn inward, are currently competing for internal strength in three directions.
The first is the imaging system. Among them, OPPO and vivo chose to advance from the hardware chip level and independently develop the imaging chip NPU. In December 2021, OPPO released the Mariana MariSilicon X chip, which was applied to its first folding screen product, Find N. In September 2021, vivo released the professional imaging chip V1. These NPU chips assist the CPU to perform AI calculations, which can improve the smartphone’s capabilities of real-time previewing, automatic exposure adjustment, and 4K night scene video shooting.
Although Xiaomi released the Surging C1 image processing chip on its MIX Fold as early as March 2021, this image processing chip has not been applied to more models in the future. In 2022, Xiaomi’s imaging strategy pays more attention to the product level. The Xiaomi 12 S Ultra cooperates with Leica, plus the hardware configuration of Sony IMX989 and the blessing of Yexiao 2.0 algorithm, and won the championship of the imaging system in the first half of 2022. In the second half of the year, the “XMAGE” imaging system just released by Huawei Mate 50 will continue to roll out. It is worth looking forward to how OV Honor will follow up.
The second is to fully promote the folding screen mobile phone to seize the market. In this “fruitless battle” lacking Apple’s folding machine, domestic Android mobile phone manufacturers are staking their ground in the non-main battlefield. In JD.com’s August sales rankings, Xiaomi MIX Fold2, Huawei Mate Xs2, and vivo X Fold are the top three models in terms of sales, with sales of more than 10,000, 7,000 and 6,000 respectively. The consumption is not particularly high, but it can help domestic Android mobile phone manufacturers to establish a high-end image and increase the price range.
The third is the continuous introduction of bright features such as fast charging and high brushing. The iPhone 14 still uses the 20W fast charging technology from two years ago, which is not enough in today’s market. In mid-2022, the Realme GT Neo3 will be launched with a 150W light-speed second charge, achieving 50% light-speed blood recovery in 5 minutes. At the same time, OPPO released the 240W super flash charging technology, which can charge the 4500mAh battery to 100% in 9 minutes.
At present, compared with the iPhone 14, which is still 60Hz, the 14 Pro only gets 120Hz high refresh rate. The domestic Android flagship machine basically achieves 120Hz high refresh rate. In order to solve the problem of high power consumption caused by the high refresh screen, LTPO adaptive dynamic has also been developed. refresh rate technology.
These features of Android flagship phones are indeed innovations that “can’t be used back”. The iPhone is generally delayed a generation or two before upgrading these capabilities. The digital blogger “Whale Exclamation Mark” told Tech Planet that the main reason is that Apple chooses incremental innovation. With its system and hardware advantages, as long as it is not aggressive and does not make mistakes, it will eventually be able to use the experience to defeat the parameter party.
The Android mobile phone camp manufacturers lack the bottom-level differentiation advantage, and the upper-level innovation is more daring. For example, neither Huawei nor the iPhone uses fast charging of more than 100W. Realme, a young brand, is not afraid of risks and takes the lead in applying 120W fast charging.
The bottom-level innovation or the field that the Android camp needs to go to even if it is difficult, because the benefits brought by each step are huge. For example, OPPO’s Mariana chip has greatly improved its Find series of photos; while Huawei Hongmeng 3.0 has small innovations that can save 20G of storage space, and these upgrades usually win the approval of users.
Start the Apple Sniper War
Having said that, this year’s iPhone 14 has a lot of slots, 60Hz refresh rate, 20W fast charge, still no charger, and even the Smart Island is exclusive to the Pro series. Apple, which lacks strong competitors, is not active in hardware upgrades, but the pace of making money is accelerating.
Typically, Apple is also increasing its efforts to make money in the ecosystem. Looking at the App Store search advertisements launched in June 2021, according to a person from a major Internet manufacturer, this business has generated about 4 billion revenue in China so far. “For example, the Dada App of JD.com spends more than 2 million yuan in a large agency every month.” Now Apple is still preparing to launch map search ads, etc., to expand more revenue methods.
This means that the iPhone series of mobile phones are selling well, and Apple’s ecology has become an ultra-efficient money printing machine.
When Apple conquered the global market and made most of the profits in the market, domestic smartphone manufacturers were also setting up defensive positions. Not only did the Huawei flagship store in Sanlitun put up a poster with a discount of 700 yuan for new products, but everyone was using the e-commerce festival. /Offline store discounts are promoted, and I am still learning Apple’s style of play to snipe Apple.
The main thing is to establish an ecological position. The position established by domestic manufacturers may not be as closed-loop as Apple, but it is also the way to go.
On August 30, OPPO released the self-developed cross-end system “Pantanar”, which is designed to link IoT devices such as mobile phones and cars. Honor CEO Zhao Ming also attaches great importance to the research and development of MagicOS. In an interview with Pinwan, he said that he will build a system that is smoother and smoother, and he is confident that it will surpass Apple in the future.
On the other hand, it is to go out. Offense is the best defense, to break into overseas markets. Xiaomi once became the second-largest mobile phone manufacturer in the world in mid-2022, and its sales in the domestic market did not enter the top three, mainly relying on international markets such as India and Europe. OV going overseas is not a strong point, and it has some layouts mainly in Southeast Asia and Europe. Honor officially proposed a plan to enter Europe in 2022.
This Apple sniper battle will not stop Apple from selling in a short period of time, especially the iPhone 14, which is about to enter the market, and the iPhone 13, which will be sold at a reduced price. After all, Apple has just broken its own record. The latest data released by the statistical agency SA shows that Apple sold 47.5 million units in the second quarter, which is the best second quarter for Apple in the past 10 years.
At the same time, a report released by Canalys shows that in the second quarter of 2022, global smartphone shipments fell by 9% year-on-year. It can be said that at a time when the global smartphone consumption is shrinking sharply, Apple may not be affected too much, but Android phones have not yet achieved true high-end, and the next year is destined to be difficult challenges.
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