Apple的中国问题:微信

Ben Thompson本周有一个很棒的专栏,在苹果公司的季度业绩和微软宣布Surface笔记本电脑之后:

Did you hear about the new Microsoft Surface Laptop? Theusual suspectsare claiming it’s a MacBook competitor, which is true insomuch as it is a laptopIn truth, though, the Surface Laptop isn’t a MacBook competitor at all for the rather obvious reason that it runs Windows, while the MacBook runs MacOSThis has always been the foundation of Apple’s business model:硬件由软件区分such that said hardware can be sold with a margin much greater than nominal competitors running a commodity operating system.

硬件有区别优越,独家苹果软件的关键是理解这就是公司成立的原因Apple II是最好的个人电脑硬件有最好的软件为什么沃兹如此崇敬的部分原因是,他在硬件是难以想象有天赋 软件通过软件实现差异化的硬件是苹果公司在90年代后期的生存方式,当时公司正在苦苦挣扎它解释了公司之后的所有成功:iPod,Mac,iPhone,iPad和Apple Watch的复兴微软的表面之间的任何比较笔记本电脑和苹果的macbook不重重视MacOS的价值是乏味的。

然后汤普森转向苹果在中国的iPhone销售萎缩:

But that is not what is going on in most of the world: plenty of folks — more than last year — are happy to buy the iPhone 7, even though it doesn’t look much different than the iPhone 6. After all, if you need a new phone, and you want iOS, you don’t have much choice! Except, again, for China: that is the country where the appearance of the iPhone matters most; Apple’s problem, though, is that in China that is the only thing that matters at all.

The fundamental issue is this: unlike the rest of the world, in China the most important layer of the smartphone stack is not the phone’s operating system相反,它是微信Connie Chan of Andreessen Horowitz在2015年试图解释just how integrated WeChat is into the daily lives of nearly9亿中国人, and that integration has only grown since then: every aspect of a typical Chinese person’s life, not just online but also off is conducted through a single app (and, to the extent other apps are used, they are often games promoted through WeChat).

There is nothing in any other country that is comparable: not LINE, not WhatsApp, not FacebookAll of those are about communication or wasting time: WeChat is that, but it is also for reading news, for hailing taxis, for paying for lunch (try and pay with cash for lunch, and you’ll look like a luddite), for accessing government resources, for businessFor all intents and purposes WeChat is your phone, and to a far greater extent in China than anywhere else, your phone is everything.

正如汤普森在脚注中添加的那样,“或者,换句话说,中国的操作系统是微信,而不是iOS / Android。”

汤普森引用了一个令人震惊的统计数据:在2016年购买新手机的中国现有iPhone用户中,只有50%购买了另外一部iPhone与世界其他地区的iPhone用户相比,这是一个令人难以置信的统计异常值,苹果的保留率徘徊在80年代中期左右。

这是一个商业内幕从去年11月的报告,2014年至2016年瑞银分析师Steven Milunovich和Benjamin Wilson的保留统计数据随着iPhone在全球范围内的保留率逐渐下降,Business Insider领先,但真正的故事是在页面的中间位置这个图表

根据瑞银的研究,美国,英国和德国的iPhone保留率在80年代中后徘徊。在日本,他们在70年代中期,但大致保持稳定中国的数据已经暴跌 - 瑞银(2016年第四季度50年代中期)的这些数字与中国调查中的50%相符,汤普森表示。

So here’s Apple’s China problem: Chinese iPhone users aren’t nearly as loyal to the iPhone platform as iPhone users elsewhere are这已经伤害了苹果公司的财务状况苹果公司2017年第二季度的财务业绩(本周宣布),总体来说,好的但中国以外,他们实际上是很好iPhone在中国的销售量的下降很严重,和中国是如此之大,单枪匹马地将一个好成一般季。

我巧妙地同意本·汤普森在一个点上汤普森iPhone在中国的下滑归因于两个因素:

  1. 整个“中国的操作系统是微信,而不是iOS / Android”的东西。
  2. iPhone 7的外形尺寸。

汤普森知道中国文化,他住在台北,经常访问中国,说普通话My grasp of Chinese culture is rudimentary at best, and I’ve never traveled to Asia因此,我认为iPhone作为身份象征在中国比在其他地方更重要。

不过,汤普森认为,iPhone 7的某些型号与iPhone 6和6S无法区分,因此过于重视这一事实。Thompson argues that this is more of a problem in status-conscious China than it is elsewhere — that in China, there are many people who forego an upgrade to an iPhone 7 because other people won’t be able to tell that it isn’t, say, a boring two-year-old iPhone 6我只是不买一方面,黑色和特别是黑色的iPhone 7型号一眼就能认出来的最新和最伟大的。

但更重要的是,我只想到整个“如果没有一个完全新的形式因素,很无聊“废话。我写了一整列当iPhone 7首次亮相,而且不会改变整个论点但是我相信这个观点主要是技术和产品的痴迷。

再次,我会承认,身份的象征方面的高端智能手机很可能是在中国比世界上其他任何地方都更重要But even if I also concede that the iPhone 7’s mostly-like-the-iPhone-6 form factor is a problem for the Chinese market, if the iOS platform engendered the loyalty in China that it does elsewhere, the result would be Chinese iPhone owners waiting another year for the下一个iPhone相反,根据上面引用的市场调查中,一半的中国iPhone用户买了一个新的电话在2016年转向一个Android设备有一些漂亮的Android手机的高端市场,但没有,仅根据形式因素,可以解释这个,没有人有任何接近苹果的奢侈品牌声誉。

在Apple的“软件差异化硬件”公式中,该软件比硬件更重要这就是为什么小作家经常误解苹果:他们仅仅关注硬件——对象,而不是使用对象的经验这也是为什么金融媒体经常被苹果错误:他们只关注硬件因为钱是从哪里来的。

如果被迫选择的话,我宁愿运行iOS谷歌Android在iPhone上像素比7我宁愿在ThinkPad比Windows上运行MacOS MacBook Pro。1Whenever I bring up this thought experiment — would you rather run Apple’s software platform on non-Apple hardware or run some other software platform on Apple hardware — I get email from readers who say they actually do choose Apple products, especially MacBooks, for the hardware我相信他们,但那些对Apple最不忠诚的客户如果你所依赖的只是Chrome,文本编辑器和终端,那么很容易切换到另一个笔记本电脑品牌如果你依赖于原生的Mac和iOS应用程序,iCloud和iMessage,那么最好转换它是非常艰巨的。

如果真的是“中国的操作系统是微信,而不是iOS / Android”,那就是整个球赛就在那里再一次,我和汤普森的分歧是微妙的他甚至将微信在中国智能手机的中心栈描述为“基本问题”,离开应该枯燥而iPhone 6和7作为一个次要问题我与汤普森的差异,我不认为iPhone 6 s / 7硬件是一个问题Personally, I think the iPhone 7 is such a great phone, and the 7 Plus in particular has such a great camera, that the quality of the latest iPhone hardware, including how it looks, shows just how much of a problem it is that WeChat, not iOS, is central to the iPhone experience in China.

苹果是一个真正的问题,因为即使汤普森是正确的(我错了)和苹果有boring-looking-hardware问题在中国,他们可以(而且似乎准备)补救措施,通过释放令人兴奋的新iPhone硬件今年但如果问题是iOS产生远平台在中国的忠诚,因为微信的中心——或者更糟的是,如果微信是中央在Android上比在为苹果iOS——没有简单修复。

附言

对于那些喜欢我的人,他们对微信知之甚少,这部由Connie Chan撰写的2015年作品(与Thompson有关)是一篇非常棒的介绍:当一个应用程序规则:微信的情况下,在中国移动”。


  1. I always use ThinkPads as my go-to example of high-quality PC hardware; perhaps I should start using Microsoft Surfaces? ↩︎