Apple Doom: Shipping in 2018

by Uluroo — January 8, 2018

Survey results aren't always as menacing as pundits would like you to believe.


It must be hard, being Apple, always in a constant state of doom. Every year pundits claim the doom is halfway nearer (but the joke's on them — that means it'll never arrive), and Uluroo is happy to report that Apple is now officially doomed for 2018. Looks like pundits can finally check that one off the bucket list!

CNBC's Matt Rosoff says that a "Survey spells trouble for Apple and Samsung: People with devices like Amazon Echo use phones less." (The article's page title says simply that "Amazon Echo and other assistants often lower smartphone use," but somebody must have thought Apple doom sounded better than survey results. And let's not forget Samsung has finally joined the doom party!)

Two thirds of people who use digital voice assistants like the Amazon Echo or Google Home use their smartphones less often, according to a new survey published by tech consultancy Accenture.

Will Apple and Samsung ever recover? People are practically throwing their phones away! Okay, that's not what this survey says and Apple and Samsung probably aren't experiencing lower sales, but let's throw the doom card because clickbait is the best.

The results suggest that the next big wave of consumer technology will be centered around these digital assistants...

And Apple and Samsung, during this wave of consumer technology, don't have smart speakers yet! So doom! 2018 will also be the year squirrels take over the world.

Apple and Samsung are preparing their smart speakers for — guess what? The next big wave of consumer technology. So why is it a problem if Google and Amazon have their speakers in the wave before the one Matt is saying is the big one?

... [this] may spell trouble for smartphone makers like Apple and Samsung— who lag behind Amazon and Google in this emerging space.

What's that you say? Apple is late to a product category? When has that ever happened? No, really, Uluroo is struggling to figure out what Apple products were not the first of their kind.*

*Disclosure: Apple is almost never the first company to make a move in any market it enters, and Apple is the most valuable company on the planet. Which strategy seems to have worked: to make a product first, or to make a product that, at least in the maker's mind, is better?

Anyway, let's take a look at that survey!

The online survey, conducted by Accenture and Harris Interactive, included 21,000 people from 19 countries and was conducted in October and November 2017.

That seems like a pretty good sample si—

Within the survey, nearly 2,300 people responded to a question asking whether they agreed with the following statement:

And that is not a good sample size. Uluroo is no survey expert, but he's pretty sure that a question answered by 2,300 people is not enough to spell trouble for Apple and Samsung.

"Since I got my digital voice assistant device, I use my smartphone for fewer activities."
66 percent of the respondents said they agreed or strongly agreed.

Clearly these 1,518 respondents are the beginning of the end for Apple!

The survey also projected that ownership of digital assistants will skyrocket in 2018, if people follow through on their expressed intent to buy one.

That's good news for Apple and Samsung too, because they are launching smart speakers this year.

By the way, Matt, is there any indicator that this will impact smartphone sales?

[No, there is not.]

(This is Uluroo's way of letting readers know that no, there is no projected impact on smartphone sales.)

Online surveys can present a skewed representation of reality: Respondents sometimes self-select, and tend to be more interested in technology than average consumers. Nonetheless, the large size of the survey makes it noteworthy.

In other words, this survey I just mentioned could very well be completely wrong! But look at these 21,000 people who responded to it! Oh, wait, never mind, only 2,300 responded to this specific question.

Smartphones dominate consumer attention today, but smartphone companies are several years behind when it comes to home digital assistants.

People currently care about smartphones — Apple and Samsung's specialty — but even though those companies' smart speakers are about to be released, let's pretend this is a problem.

What this survey shows is that 1,518 people across 19 countries — an average of 79 people per country — have said that they use their smartphone for less now that they own smart speakers. That is literally all we can learn from this. But what we also learned is that some people will twist the data to make it look like Apple and Samsung are in trouble because of it.

Even Matt says the next big thing is smart speakers. Why Apple and Samsung are doomed because they are focusing on smartphones, the current big thing, right now is beyond Uluroo's mental capacity.