By Richard Menta 2/3/13
The toilet is the number one killer of mobile devices in America. The days of wrapping the newspaper around you as you sit on the potty are long gone as we as a nation collectively choose to read the morning news coverage on our iPhone. Slippery little buggers those devices are. One distracted move and consumers all too frequently find themselves in a death struggle as they fumble frantically over their expensive iPod touch, iPhone or Android phone as it squirms and slides in their grasp. Then comes that heart-wrenching kerploink and indeed it is death that comes quickly to the little electronic device. Next comes a withdrawal, a jones that can only be satiated by replacing the dearly departed.
This, of course, was all good news for Apple who sold more iOS devices this way. That is until recently.
Now that Android devices have started to outsell iOS devices by a small margin, a significant number of Apple consumers are using the tragedies of the bathroom as an excuse to trade that iPhone in for an Android portable for the next go-round. Not that they necessarily think Android is better, just that they want to try something different. What used to work in favor of Apple now exposes them to market erosion.
Only Apple sells iOS devices, but dozens of makers market Android-powered wares, including the big electronic giants with advertising pockets as deep as Apple's. Their latest products are also a lot more competitve than those first round of Android tablets. Samsung alone has made some serious strides with the Galaxy S III. This change in the market suggests that Apple would be better off adjusting their strategy and extend the half-life of the average iOS device, further promoting a consumer loyalty that is already the highest in any industry.
Supposedly, Apple's new lightning connector is waterproof. Why make waterproof jacks unless there are plans to make devices that are themselves waterproof? The digerati seem to feel this is for the benefit of accessory makers. iPhone eating toilets make a case for waterproofing to be an upcoming feature for the next gen iPod and iPhone devices.
It makes sense. If the premature end of an iOS product gives Android makers a shot at that customer then it is better to have your products live closer to their full life span. This will, at minimum, delay market erosion. It also makes your future product more compelling, especially among the many many consumers who have lost devices to water.
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