Global Apple iPhone sales, by quarter, since launch of the original iPhone.

Global Apple iPhone Sales Q3 2007 to Q3 2014

Data: Apple iPhone Sales Q3 2007 to Q3 2014

iPhone Announcement / Launch Dates

Original iPhone announced January 9, 2007 in USA (UK, France & Germany launch Nov 2007, plus Ireland & Austria in Spring 2008)

iPhone 3G released on July 11  2008 in 22 countries

iPhone 3GS announced on June 8 2009.

iPhone 4 announced June 7 2010 (white version not launched until April 2011)

From 2007 to 2011, Apple spent $647 million on advertising for the iPhone in the US alone.

iPhone 4S announced October 4 2011.  1 million sold in the first 24 hours and Apple later became the largest mobile manufacturer in 2011 by volume, with unit sales surpassing Nokia.

iPhone 5 announced September 12 2012.

iPhone 5C and 5S models announced September 10 2013.

iPhone 6 and 6 plus models announced September 9 2014.

Apple quarterly reporting periods

Q1 = Jan – Mar

Q2 = Apr – Jun

Q3  = Jul – Sept

Q4 – Oct – Dec

Data Source: Apple

LIDL poster












While I still firmly believe that when businesses fight solely on price they embark on a competitive race to the bottom.  Providing simplicity in how good value is accessed by your customers may be a great differentiator that augments a value message.  And this can divert some pressure from having to be the absolute cheapest competitor in order to claim difference or prowess in being a customer champion.

Providing simplicity to the customer can be difficult for the business.  It forces you to think about how to remove operational barriers and pressures on the customer to make them qualify in a way the business feels in control.

I first became aware of the change in approach at LIDL in 2013.  Thier activity in supplying a pop-up restaurant in Stockholm with LIDL produce showed more confidence over the quality of the food, extending relevance beyond their traditional the low price value.

This was followed in the UK by a recent TV campaign championing the surprising quality LIDL offer.

The UK ad reinterpreted the same idea for the British consumer and had middle class tonal appeal. The product quality established in a farmer’s market scene, then using the reveal to show the way consumers were pleasantly surprised when the LIDL brand was revealed.

As both mid-price and value price competitors scrabble to demonstrate their worth and difference selling often similar commodities.  A new press ad from LIDL has now emphasised how at least one competitor makes it difficult for customers to access value similar to that offered by LIDL; because they don’t make access to value simple and straightforward.


Having worked with Waitrose on their customer communications and services, I’ve come to appreciate the amount of training, dedication and focus required in order to provide a consistent quality of retail service. Particularly one that customers appreciate is truly centred around helping them gain better food. While providing cheap food in itself is easier.  Making your brand appreciated requires brand difference and service quality people respect and prefer.

If Tesco, Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury’s in the UK place barriers in front of service and make it difficult for the customer to identify if they are indeed truly gaining competitive value on price; they will continue to find the approach demonstrated by LIDL difficult to challenge.

There is an interesting article exploring these points further at Contagious: HERE

Sainsbury’s have also made it less simple for customer’s to gain value by halving the rewards available automatically through Nectar points collected for every £1 spent.  Sainsbury’s intend to tactically deploy additional point bonuses that hope to target customer shopping benefits more closely, by incentivising specific purchase bevaviour.  But this adds a barrier to simplicity and the clarity of reward available on a regular basis for the customer.

Marketing Week discuss Sainsbury’s change of Nectar Points: HERE


I one the Nobel prize for literature, what was your crime. Pasternak cartoon by Maudlin won Pulitzer prize

This Bill Mauldin cartoon celebrated the plight of Russian author Boris Pasternak. 

 Pasternak won the Nobel prize for literature 1958, after his manuscript for Dr. Zhivago was smuggled out of the USSR, translated and published in Western Europe.  

 Pasternak narrowly avoided being exiled from Russia by the authorities, because the text was subtly critical of Stalinism, the purges and the Gulags.

 Maudlin’s cartoon won a Pulitzer prize. The cartoon shows a Soviet Gulag scene, with two prisoners talking while they work on splitting a tree trunk in a forest. The caption reads: “I won the Nobel Prize for literature. What was your crime?”


Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov




David Bailey on TV advertising










I remembered the above quote from David Bailey and thought you might like it too.  David Bailey also describes himself as an advertising amateur, because he has only worked on around 600 ads – including quite a few TV ads.  A nice touch of self-deprecation.

The above quote on TV is a little cheeky, as he is, but as a photographer he certainly brings an interesting perspective to creating TV advertising.   I must remember this quote when I next hear an advertising agency creative team complain at being restricted to ‘only having 30 seconds.”

The quote is taken from his BBC Radio 4 interview on Desert Island Discs from 1991.  When the Beeb kindly opened their back-catalogue for several programmes, it allowed me to listen to some very interesting people that I’d missed when the programmes first aired.  Find someone you’d like to know more about through their Desert Island Discs interview here:

The Desert Island Discs Archive home page

The archive catalogue – this allows you search for people interviewed, their interests and specific music tracks selected.

The David Bailey interview





Top 25 ranking of the finest smartphones currently available in Europe

Each total score is shown as a Percentage (%).  Each smartphone was reviewed against 10 criteria, with each criteria scoring a possible 1-10% toward the total final score of up to 100%.

The top performers all scored very closely together, but for slightly different brand, design or performance reasons.  So if you wish to use this ranking table to select your next mobile phone, I suggest you also check the two or three of the very best, based on the scores below and then go and try these hands-on for yourself in a mobile store before you buy one.  But it’s unlikely you will be disappointed with any of the two or three that meet your particular criteria from the data shown below in a table.

The top 5 smartphones, listed here in alphabetical order:

Apple iPhone 5S 32GB and 64GB versions (counted here as 2 separate alternatives, as there is a high price point between them)

The iPhone is still popular, if an expensive choice.  But both are a joy to use.

Apple iPhone 5S








HTC One M8

A design icon, with great character and stereo external speakers. Only the camera is average in this otherwise excellent smartphone.

HTC One M8









Samsung Galaxy Note 3

A large, high performance media, gaming and business-use phablet.  It goes beyond the Samsung Galaxy S5 and really is a mobile powerhorse.  It virtually replaces the need to carry an iPad Mini or an iPad.

Samsung Galaxy Note 3








Sony Xperia Z2

Possibly the best mobile phone for social media, with an excellent camera and amazing in-ear sound quality with the supplied headphones.

Sony Xperia Z2









Please click on the table below to read the detail more clearly.

Ranking the best 25 smartphones in Europe July 2014


Each of these smartphones have been reviewed extensively online, but I couldn’t find a ranking that compared all of the best against each other in an easy format to reference.  So I compiled the data from my own reviews, cross-checked for product specs with manufacturers web-sites and other reviews mentioned below.

The 10 criteria used to create the ranking

Brand Appeal (Brand desirability and social acceptance)

Design Appeal (includes the visual appeal and physical feel of the design, the materials, textures and colours.  As well as the range of Accessories available, such as cases/covers and the adoption of a standard charger)

User Interface (including Ease of Use and if it is a pleasure to spend time using)

Battery Life  (including whether there is the ability to swap out the battery to extend use as you commute)

Screen Display (including ability to view out of doors in sunlight, Full HD etc.)

Camera  (including rear facing and front facing camera, video mode and image stabilisation)

Built-in Features & App Store (including functions that are likely to be used by many owners, rather than bloatware that fills up space, ease of use, fair pricing and wide range of apps available. A built in feature, such as front facing stereo-speakers, excellent camera will also improve the score awarded).

Robustness & Longevity (Robustness includes resistance to scratches, or more severe damage; such as screen cracking when dropped. If the smartphone is waterproof it also improves the score.  Longevity includes the estimated ability for the smartphone to both continue to  operate and be supported with the latest software upgrades, as well as whether it is likely to remain socially admired/credible when seen in public in 2 years time)

Form factor & Expandability (includes weight and dimensions, memory card slot. Excessive pre-installed software bloatware that fills up internal memory is penalised.  Additional functions that are useful to many owners, such as fingerprint security or health apps are credited extra merit)

Value for money (This is the perceived value offered by the price of the smartphone purchased standalone, or as part of a contract)

The ranking table and some further details on how scores were formulated are included in an Excel spreadsheet that is downloadable from here:

Smartphone Analysis


In addition to personally conducting a hands-on comparison with each of these smartphones.  I have also referred to reviews from Pocket Now, Tech Radar and Phone Arena.  The ranking scores are my own informed opinion.  So who am I?   I’m the former brand manager of a major mobile phone retailer in the UK.  I provide consultancy, research & planning support to mobile networks and mobile manufacturer clients.  The views expressed here are my own.

I am contactable at

And via Twitter at #plannersphere

Please also be aware that while the HTC One M8 is a relatively new smartphone in 2014, Samsung are launching a new Note 4 late this year. Also Sony are due to launch an updated Z3 in the Autumn and Apple possibly 2 new iPhones in September 2014.