Is Apple starting to lose its competitive advantage?

Apple’s #WWDC is upon us again and consumers are waiting with baited breath, hoping for something new and shiny.  But, if this article from Business Insider is anything to go on, they might feel more than slightly disappointed come the end of Tim Cook’s opening keynote.  The most exciting announcement according to the report, is likely to be the launch of iOS 6.

Which begs the question, if the reports are correct, is Apple starting to lose its competitive advantage? Will a company notorious for the legendary marketing of its latest products be able to convince an audience anxiously waiting for the iPhone 5 and mythical Apple TV set, that it’s worth spending thousands of dollars for evolutionary improvements to existing hardware?

Where Apple stole a march on the mobile market with the launch of the original iPhone, the 3G and 4, the competition has made significant inroads into Apple’s market leadership in recent months:

Google’s Android OS is now the leading smartphone platform in the US.  Devices from the likes of HTC, Motorola and Samsung offer consumers 4G wireless internet speeds.  Samsung is also making a strong play for consumers wanting a larger screen than the 3.5″ offered by Apple.  There appears to be growing support amongst consumers for a larger screen iPhone, but this Tim Cook appeared to rule it for the iPhone at the recent All Things Digital D10 conference.  Without a revolutionary new iPhone will Apple still be able to claim to be at the cutting edge of mobile device innovation?

The competition is also getting smart about how it markets its new devices. A failure by Apple to deliver substantial updates to its mobile and personal computing lines at today’s WWDC will, undoubtedly, provide fodder for competitor marketing campaigns and bolster the competition – although I hope that they do a better job than RIM did recently.  Consumers are also starting to see through Apple’s ‘distortion field’ – as widespread reports of Siri’s lacklustre performance have grown.

So, is Apple starting to lose its competitive advantage?  How long can it maintain the reality distortion field without new products? What do you expect Tim Cook will unveil later today?

Other posts about Apple:

Why Apple’s ‘TV Dream’ may become a nightmare!

Why Apple Will Acquire RIM

How Apple will spend it billions

The new iPad is another step in Apple’s bid to change the face of TV

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