Apple Loses ‘Cool’ As Samsung Steals The Show

by CXOtoday News Desk    Sep 22, 2014

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Despite the mega launch of the iPhone and the hype that followed pre and post the launch, Apple’s “cool factor” is supposedly on the decline globally. While Apple was always regarded as the coolest consumer tech brand, the results of a new Reuters-Ipsos poll actually give the coolness edge to Android over Apple, with a special credit to its archrival Samsung (which uses Android as its operating system), which has taken the lead in innovation.

The poll came as a surprise to some because the reviews of the iPhone 6 were mostly ballooned with praise. In fact, Samsung was lately criticized for lacking the enthusiasm and had been warned by critics to make strategic investment and focus on its marketing efforts to beat smaller players as well as Apple.

Despite its own set of challenges, let’s face the truth. If Samsung would not have released the Galaxy Note, Apple may have never planned an iPhone launch with a display of 5.5 inches – as a result of which critics believe that iPhone 6 was more a result of competition than innovation.

When Galaxy Note was launched way back in August 2012, it was Apple who declared the phone as ‘useless’ and “too big to fit properly in your hand.” As the company kept churning out phones in the subsequent months - including iPhone 5 last year - with displays that were maximum at 4 inches, Tim Cook was convinced that the 4-inch display was the “perfect” size for a smartphone. That was only a year ago!

It took Apple a little longer to accept this reality that ‘bigger is better’ - a concept Samsung understood much earlier and forced Apple to trail along, believe industry watchers.

In the poll therefore, Samsung not only has it taken the lead in innovation, especially in terms of larger smartphone size, but has been mocking Apple in ads, accusing them of copying the larger “phablets” gadgets that it brought to the market a nearly two years ago. In the survey, more people were of the opinion that Apple has grown less cool than Android over the last two years (16% versus 11%). And while 50% of respondents said Android had grown cooler over the past two years, a slightly smaller percentage (48%) indicated Apple increased its cool factor.

Although the poll is based on a limited sample, it reflects how Android products, which tend to be less expensive, have caused Apple to shed to lose its sheen.

“Especially when you have competitors who are doing a lot of innovative things themselves and great advertising, it’s not surprising that Apple doesn’t have the same cachet and coolness that it once did,” Kevin Lane Keller, a branding expert and professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business told Reuters.

Another report on brand preference by ConsumerMetrix earlier this year also rated Samsung as the top tech brand among consumers. In the study, Apple was rated fifth (after Sony, Microsoft, and HP), and researchers noted that ratings fell due to its relative lack of new product. While the study was conducted before the launch of iPhone 6, it showed the Android popularity in several Asian and European markets, where Samsung had always stolen the thunder.

With consumers called Apple less “original” than it was under former chief executive Steve Jobs, the researchers believe it’s time for Apple to rethink its strategies before they completely lose out on their “cool” and “innovate” badges, terms that were often considered synonymous to Apple and Jobs at one point of time.