iPhone Product Life Cycle
The Apple iPhone is now moving into the maturity phase of the product life cycle. This is typically the most common phase of the product life cycle; most successful products are probably in this phase (Thompson, 1999). During this phase the primary objective of Apple is to defend market share while maintaining revenue. During the earlier phases of the product life cycle the iPhone was able to catapult itself into superstar status. This eventually led to many similar products showing up in the market place. Because of this, the market has become overly saturated with Apple iPhone like products. This and many other factors have helped push the iPhone into its current phase of the product life cycle. At this point sales have peaked, but are now starting to slow. Slow sales, as well as a drop in revenue have started to impact the overall profitability of the iPhone. In order to maximize any remaining profits from the iPhone, Apple must shift away from the strategy it used during the previous phases of the product life cycle.
In the maturity phase of the product life cycle Apple will be using a number of key strategies to defend market share, while maximizing profits for the iPhone. The key elements of the sales strategy are new product features, cost, distribution, and marketing. By effectively positing themselves in each of these areas Apple will be able to hold market position until the final phase of the product life cycle. If executed properly, the maturity phase of the product life cycle could last for many profitable quarters before costs reach their peak, then decline (Thompson, 1999).
New Product Features
To align with the strategic sales plan Apple will be launching a number of product enhancements for the iPhone. Introducing new features for the iPhone will lengthen the maturity phase of the product life cycle. These enhancements will range from accessories to software updates. Apple will also offer limited edition iPhone will select bands, sports teams, etc. Apple may consider launching a totally revised version of the product, iPhone five. This would greatly increase the product life cycle of the Apple iPhone.
Pricing will be another area to be addressed by the Apple management team. In order to stay competitive prices must be reduced. This may come in the form of discounts, rebates, price drops, etc. By reducing the cost of the product Apple is planning to increase the overall sales volume. During the maturity phase of the product life cycle the only possible customers left are the most risk adverse and price sensitive. They do not want to take on any risk, or a perceived high price. Because of this, price becomes imperative to moving additional units (Thompson, 1999).
In the maturity level of the product life cycle distribution will increase as well. Apple will begin to flood the market with the iPhone through all of its distribution channels. Distribution may also see an increase due to promotions, discounts, etc. These types of incentives decrease the cost-to-consumer, but increase the total sales numbers. This is a tactic typically used towards the end of a product life cycle.
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