Ahead of its iPhone SE introduction earlier this week, the last time Apple had released a new smartphone with a 4-inch screen was all the way back in September of 2013. The iPhone 5s and the iPhone 5c were the last high-profile smartphones to launch with such small screens, and the following year’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus releases would finally bring Apple up to speed with rivals in terms of display size. And yet two years later in 2015, Apple still managed to sell more than 30 million older iPhone handsets with 4-inch screens. These weren’t brand new iPhones with cutting-edge technology. They were older models with older components and lower price tags.
With that in mind, most industry watchers seemed to agree that refreshing the iPhone 5s with the new iPhone SE was a good idea. But Cho Ju-no, CEO of LG Mobile, doesn’t share their opinion. In fact, he recently slammed Apple’s new iPhone while speaking with the press in South Korea.
According to Cho, LG is focused on bringing exciting new products to market in 2016. Meanwhile, Apple is rehashing the same boring devices in its lineup.
“Even though LG Electronics is beefing up its budget smartphone lineup, it will focus on delivering fun and exotic value to customers through premium products like the G5,” Cho told The Korea Herald. In reference to the iPhone SE, the executive added, “Rolling out a product with same-old technology and features is not LG’s way.”
“Cost-effectiveness is not what device makers necessarily pursue, but they should create a very special value and make something out of it,” Cho said to neighboring news site The Korea Times. “The same thing goes for us. That’s why we do not care too much about a rival’s product. LG will tackle the lukewarm market response in the high-end handset market in the same regard.”
Strong words indeed, but their impact is dampened a bit when you consider the source.
LG has some exciting things planned for 2016 and there’s little question that the flagship LG G5 is one of the most novel handsets we’ve seen in quite some time. We explained why in a recent post. But let’s rewind the clock ever so slightly to 2015, when LG continued to struggle in a market dominated by Samsung and Apple.
For the full year in 2015, LG managed to ship 59.7 million smartphones. That figure was up just 600,000 units from 2014, but let’s disregard LG’s flat smartphone business for a moment.
In 2015, Apple sold 30 million 4-inch iPhones that were between 15 and 27 months old. During the same period, LG shipped fewer than 60 million brand new smartphones into sales channels. In other words, sales of Apple’s dusty old 4-inch iPhones amounted to more than half of LG’s total handset shipments in 2015.
It looks like the “same-old technology and features” might not be such a bad thing.