Apple’s iPhone may have forever changed the world of mobile communications but by 2009 Apple was starting to face some serious competition in the smartphone market from Google’s free-to-use Android operating system. According to a new book written by Fred Vogelstein that’s been excerpted by Wired, Jobs saw the dangers that Google’s platform presented and came up with a bold plan to hold off the Android barbarians that were banging on Apple’s gate. In short, he decided that the best way to maintain iOS’s relevance was to make the iPad.
“Maybe more people in the world would own Android phones than iPhones,” Vogelstein explains. “But the people who owned iPhones would also own iPads, iPod Touches, and a slew of other Apple products that all ran the same software, that all connected to the same online store, and that all generated much bigger profits for everyone involved. Only someone with the self-confidence of Jobs would have the guts to set such a high bar.”
All of this explains why Apple has kept pricing its iPads higher than competing tablets and why the company has been so reluctant to create a low-cost iPhone capable of competing with dirt-cheap Android handsets in China and other big emerging markets. Apple sees market share as important but only insofar as it produces a loyal and profitable user base. And as long as that user base keeps steadily growing and is anxious to shell out money for your high-end products, then there’s no reason to get into a race-to-the-bottom pricing war.
Vogelstein’s book — called Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution — goes on sale on November 12th.