Are iPhone users getting the 5-year itch?

OK, so there’s no disputing Apple’s continued reign as the most valuable technology company worldwide by nearly every conceivable measure: revenue, market cap, brand value, innovation. But recent research from Strategy Analytics┬ámay be a potential warning sign that such success and mind share may actually have a downside: boredom.

While the Strategy Analytics analyst talks about a perceived lack of innovation, I think he’s got it all wrong. My read is, quite simply, five years into the iPhone revolution, consumers are getting bored.

Call it the five-year itch or simply that consumers want to take a stroll on the green grass of Android or Microsoft, but there is greater parity today in terms of platform capability than there was a few years ago. And while I would suggest that iOS is still the most elegant and best overall smartphone platform out there, Apple’s success at innovation creates a challenging problem that the most successful companies face: competing against their past.

And that may be Apple’s biggest problem. The sheer leap in innovation five years ago was astounding, but products and markets mature, leaving the disruptive-innovation stage and entering the feature-function iteration stage. That’s where we are today.

Now, the good news is that Apple still has extremely high loyalty rates (even if they’ve dropped slightly), and there is still a large total available market out there for it to continue to eat. But as the smartphone revolution becomes smartphone evolution, Apple is going to have to pay more attention to customer retention as well as the competition nipping at its heels in the fight for the consumer.