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ASIA PACIFIC UNIVERSITY TP031568

INNOVATION MANAGEMENT AND NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT


(BM050-3-3-IMNPD)

INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT

Submitted By:
SHATHISH CHALLAPPAN (TP031568)

Submitted to:
DR PUVANES WARAN A/L KUNASEKARAN

Intake Code:
UC3F1606 IT (NC)

Hand-In Date:
14TH March 2017
Asia Pacific University TP031568

Executive Summary

This report is prepared with the sole purpose of conducting a marketing analysis of the new type
of Bluetooth earphones launched by the Apple industry which is known as the Apple Airpods.
However, the Bluetooth earphones concept are not considered to be new in the current market
where competitors such as Samsung, Motorola, Sony and many more are also within the same
boat. But, even though with such strong competitors, Apple is well known to be able to compete
with its competitors by applying various technologies and functions to increase the capabilities of
its product. This same concept has been applied into its wireless earphones and thus improving its
product-line promotion strategies for a successful product in the current technology market. In
short, Apple Airpods are able to expand and grow its product within multinational market and also
has been supplying new innovative products and also services to its multitudes of customers
worldwide to make their lives easier.

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Table of Contents
Executive Summary ...................................................................................................................................... 2
Introduction ................................................................................................................................................... 4
Apple Airpods ........................................................................................................................................... 4
Background of the case ................................................................................................................................. 6
Market Entry ............................................................................................................................................. 6
Launch Activities ...................................................................................................................................... 7
Brand Management Strategies .................................................................................................................. 8
Product Platform ................................................................................................................................... 8
Brand Extension .................................................................................................................................... 9
Market Evolution .................................................................................................................................... 10
Market Segment .................................................................................................................................. 10
Product Lifecycle ................................................................................................................................ 10
New Geographical Areas .................................................................................................................... 11
Brand Success ......................................................................................................................................... 12
Competitors ............................................................................................................................................. 13
Market positioning .............................................................................................................................. 13
SWOT Analysis .......................................................................................................................................... 15
Strengths ................................................................................................................................................. 15
Weaknesses ............................................................................................................................................. 16
Opportunities........................................................................................................................................... 16
Threats .................................................................................................................................................... 17
Ansoff Matrix.............................................................................................................................................. 18
Market Penetration .................................................................................................................................. 18
Product Development.............................................................................................................................. 18
Market Development .............................................................................................................................. 19
Diversification......................................................................................................................................... 19
Conclusion .................................................................................................................................................. 20
References ................................................................................................................................................... 21

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Introduction
Apple Airpods

In this current era, wireless earphones are becoming more and more common and furthermore the
size of the wireless earphones are also becoming smaller. However, there are a few mobile
companies which competes to produce the most innovative earphones instead of producing only
mobile phones. Two of such leading companies (besides Apple) are the Samsung and Sony. These
companies compete between each other and as well as with other companies such as Apple which
is thriving to the top in terms of sales, innovation and creativity. However, Apple have been
making efforts in thriving within the music industry as well. One of the devices created, besides
from many other products, is the Apple Airpod wireless earphones. These earphones are
considered to be unique in function as well as in the design itself. These earphones do not only
perform the regular wireless earphones functions, but also is considered to be a smart earphone as
well.

On the month of December 13, 2016, Apple finally launched its Airpods earphone together
with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7Plus after the patents of the Airpods had been released during the
mid-2015 (Campbell, 2017). Apple had revealed the Airpods as an effortless, user friendly and
magical earphone with innovative features and hardware. Besides, the Airpods are said to be the
best, compared to its wired counterpart which was plain and was without any additional features.
Furthermore, the Airpods are also equipped with Apples W1 chip which improves and also
enhances the functionality and as well as the features of the wireless earphone. The combination
of simplicity and technology are capable of attracting wide variety of customers which intends to
acquire the Airpods and furthermore, Tim Cook has claimed these earphones as a runaway
success (Potuck, 2016). The figure in the next page / below displays the design of the Airpods.

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Figure 1: Apple Airpods (Carnoy, 2016)

Besides, coming back to the functionality of the Apple W1 chip, this chip is capable of
producing an extremely efficient wireless connection compared to any other wireless earphones in
the market. Furthermore, it also has an improved sound quality compared to its wired counterpart.
Moreover, the chip is also capable of managing the battery life and thus providing a longer battery
life up to 5 hours of continuous usage on a single charge. It is also equipped with smart features
where it automatically connects to any Apple devices instantly without the hassle of turning on the
Bluetooth and as well as connecting to Apples AI, the Siri, with just a tap on the earphone.
Furthermore, it recognizes when the user is talking or listening due to the chip which in turn
controls the music playback and also consist of the best microphone functionality in the market.
(AppleAirpods, 2017). The figure on the next page explains the battery life of the Airpods.

Figure 2: Airpods Battery Life (Apple, 2017)

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Background of the case

In this section of the report, both the market entry and also the launch activities of the Apple
company are to be researched and the problems or issues that the Airpods face in the current
market. However innovative a company gets towards the production of its products, there are still
certain issues that will be faced by the product and thus may affect the sales of the product. Such
issues that are faced in the Apple Airpod was the sound quality. As stated by Derek Scott (Scott,
2017), customers should not expect much from the perspective of sound quality or get a great
sound experience and be prepared to lose one. This issue will be a disappointment to the customers
as Apple (a company who owns Beats), should have been producing earphones with the highest
quality of sound. The lack in sound quality or the incapability to reach the sound quality expected
would affect the market and sales of the Airpod, as many other earphones do provide better sound
quality with a cheaper price. Besides, according to Eric Limer, the design of the earphone also can
be an issue as it is considered to be dorky (Limer, 2016). This may affect the aim of selling to a
variety of customers and thus also affecting the sales of the product.

Market Entry

Market Entry is considered to be a strategy or activity associated with bringing a certain product
or services to a specific targeted market (Business Dictionary, 2017). This is a significant method
used in entering into an international market by large or international companies. There are
significantly many different methods in which a company can penetrate an international market.
However, no one market entry strategy works for all international market (Trade Start.CA, 2017).
Whereas, for the companies such as Apple, speculations usually arises on the product itself and
how the Apple fans would be receiving it. This is due to the marketing strategies that Apple does
where an image of the company as producing the best quality products in the market is formed.
Furthermore, it is also well known as a company that has a very strong engineering, design and
also technology base within all the products they design and thus arises the eagerness of each and
every fan throughout the world after the companys conference about the product that is to be
released. Besides, in the market entry, there are two types which are Market First and Market

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Follower. According to Jess Bolluyt, Apple is considered to be a market follower as the Apple
Airpods is not the first wireless Bluetooth earphones released into the market (Bolluyt, 2015).
Companies such as Samsung, Sony, JBL and may more have already designed Bluetooth
earphones way much earlier than Apple. The table below shows the Pros and Cons of Market
Followers.

Table 1: Pros and Cons of Market Followers (Drive Your Success, 2017)

Launch Activities

On September, 2016, Apple had announced the date of launch of the Apple Airpods which will be
somewhere during the late October together with the iPhone 7 and also what can be expected from
the devices making the fans and customers excited and eager. These Apple Airpods were made
public by the Apple.Inc via marketing and advertising. However, Yoni Heisler has stated that there
was then a delay on the launch date of the Apple Airpods, which was then postponed to the
December 13th, 2016 due to certain technical hurdles (Heisler, 2016). Furthermore, these Apple
Airpods are launched within Apples own stores worldwide. Apple has its own stores worldwide
which is dedicated to the sales of Apple products only. Besides, they also have their own apple
app store online as well. These stores that apple has, makes it easier for the customers to be able
to download Apples software and music and as well as buying Apples new technologies or
products which in turn makes the customers to get eager and also excited for what is going to be
offered by Apple. Moreover, these store makes Apple customers to gain the Airpods easily and
also find solutions for their Apple products without any hassle as Apple has opened their stores

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worldwide in almost most of the cities in every developed country. Therefore, this would then
strengthen the customers loyalty towards the Apples products. Besides, these Apple Airpods are
user-friendly as well as Apple has implemented simplicity within the architecture and designing
of the Apple Airpods and therefore makes it easier to be used by the customers without any
complicated processes (Apple, 2016).

Brand Management Strategies

Product Platform

Apple has only designed two types of earphones which can be used generally to all of its devices,
except the wired earphones, for the iPhone 7. However, the only type that will be discussed is the
Apple Airpods. Besides, the Apple Airpods are released with one type of color which is the white.
This is because, only the white is capable of matching with all of Apple devices color which is
either white, silver or black. These Airpods comes within a small case which stores the Airpods
and as well as charges it. It is furthermore, driven by a custom-designed W1 chips which controls
most of the earphones functions. Besides, according to Scott Stein, the casing the holds the Airpods
is capable of providing more than 24 hours of battery life to the Airpods, whereas the Airpods, are
capable of providing up to 5 hours of battery life with a single charge (Stein, 2016).

The reason that Apple had designed the wireless Airpods id due to the current generations who are
moving on from the wired to the wireless earphones. Therefore, Apple had to take the leap into
the designing of the Airpods which are considered to be successful. Besides, the wireless Airpods
performance are way much better compared to the Apples Earpods. In terms of features, quality
and functions, Apple has improvised so much to suit the requirements of the customers and as well
as providing them with the best product possible. Some of the extra features and technology that
are added into the Airpods are, its wireless, connects to Siri with just as single tap, consist of a
voice accelerometer (recognizes when user speaks), beamforming microphones (filters external
noise and focuses on user voice), optical sensor and motion accelerometer, and the capability of

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auto connect to any of Apple devices instantly after syncing with iCloud (Apple, 2017). The image
below shows the Airpods within its casing.

Figure 3: Apple Airpods (Apple, 2017)

Brand Extension

Apple is a well-known company that designs the products with the best quality and also provides
the best services in the current technological market. Apple does not only design the Apple
Airpods, but it also has different varieties of products such as the iPhone (Smartphone), iPad
(Tablet), iPod (Music player), Apple Watch (Smart watch), Mac (Desktop and Laptop), softwares
such as the operating systems that runs within all these devices like the iOS and OS X, iCloud and
also many accessories and services. Besides, Apple also provide application, Music, Videos and
softwares downloading services such as the App Store, iBooks, iTunes, and also Mac App Store
(Apple, 2017). However, the Apple Airpods that was designed mostly depends on the Apple only
devices as it requires devices such as the iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac to be able to unleash its
maximum features and performance. Even though it is capable of connecting to other smartphones
such as the Android smartphones, users will not be able to utilize the features that makes the Apple
Airpods special such as the auto connect via opening casing, Siri and many more as these features
are available only when the Airpods are connected to the Apple products (Dillet, 2017).

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Market Evolution

Market Segment

The Apple Airpods are designed for customers of all ages and lifestyles. However, it is specifically
targeted towards the youngsters, young adults and adults up to the age of 35. The reason is because
these age group are the one who mostly have an active lifestyle and are always connected online
and they do require new technologies such as the Airpods to help them in their busy lifestyle.
Besides, these Airpods are also suitable for sportsman who uses wireless earphones during their
regular workout. These Airpods are also considered to be waterproof as it is able to withstand
water test and therefore it can be used during rain and it would still function if it falls into a pool
or 1 foot of water (Ibrahim, 2016). Therefore, the Apple Airpods are suitable for any group of
users and therefore can be used by any age group or customers with any type of lifestyle.

Product Lifecycle

Product lifecycle is known as the changes that happen in the consumers demand over time.
Therefore, as this consumer demand changes over time, a certain product in demand will then not
be in demand anymore. Besides, for the Airpods, the wireless earphones are considered to be the
first that has been launched and as generally know, this Airpods will also become a product that is
less demanded over time as apple will be designing and launching newer and better versions which
meets the demand of the customers at that specific time in the future. Furthermore, according to
Bert Markgraf, there are 3 different stages of the product life cycle within the market (Markgraf,
2017). The first would be the introduction stage. Here in this stage, the product is released within
US to enable demand prediction and the pricing of the product is considered still high due to
machinery, the market research and set up. This can be seen in the sales of the Airpods as it was
sold for $159 which is considered to be quite expensive. The next would be the growth stage,
where the Airpods becomes well known and advertisements are done by Apple to increase the
anticipation and as well as to make high sales out of the product. The third would be the maturity

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stage, where Apple would gain the highest amount of sales and its maximum revenue. This can be
seen when successfully captured one-fourth of the wireless headphones market (Matney, 2017).
This can be seen in the Diagram below. Even though there were delays in the launching of the
Airpods during the holidays season where the sales would be high, Apple were still able to gain
high sales as Apple users are particularly loyal and willing to endure waiting instead of defecting
to another brand (Niu, 2017). After that, the revenue would then start decreasing in time due to
change in customers demand and Apple would then be required to upgrade the Airpods to a newer
and better versions.

Table 2: Wireless Headphone market before and after launch (Owen, 2017)

New Geographical Areas

Apple retailers started selling the Airpods with the stores in US which then was expanded to the
Apple stores worldwide and thus causing the maturity stage to be able to last longer and
furthermore the revenue would also increase (Brown, 2016). Furthermore, according to Kathryn
Vargas, the number of Apple stores worldwide keeps increasing at fast rate (Vargas, 2014). The
figure below shows an example the increase in number of Apple stores from 2001 to 2015.

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Figure 4: Number of Apple Retail Stores (Miglani, 2016)

Brand Success

As this apple Airpods is a recently launched product, there is no exact yearly revenue that can be
observed to estimate the brand success. Instead, according to Treffis Team, there is an estimation
done from the current sales and reviews by Tim Cook himself. Apple has estimated a roughly
about 22 million units to be shipped in the first year of its launch which is 2017. Furthermore, a
rough estimation of $3.1 billion revenue is expected in the year 2017 depending on its current
sales. Airpods are priced at $159 a pair, but it is assumed that Apples ASP would be lower as
Apple plans to sell the Airpods via the third party stores in addition to apple retail stores and thus
boosting the revenue in the year 2017 to $5.4 billion (Team, 2017). Furthermore, the device is
basically made to be user-friendly and simple and therefore, users will not be facing any
complications using this product. Besides, the functions are considered to be advanced in term of
technology and still remains simple to use. This therefore make more customers to purchase it and
also provides values to customers. Moreover, Apples ecosystem effect and the large base of
affluent iPhone users could provide a sizable target market for the Airpods (Team, 2016). Besides,
on the launch day of the Airpods, it has bring about a huge success for the company due to the
spike in the number of sales as shown in the figure below.

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Figure 5: The day of Airpods launch (Stanton, 2017)

Competitors

Market positioning

Figure 6: Market Positioning (Miglietta, 2016)

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Way before the launch of the Airpods by apple, many other different companies such as Sony,
Philips and many more has launched the Bluetooth earphones earlier into the market. However,
the top three companies only are compared with the apple earphones. In the figure 4 above, it can
be seen that Beats earphones are the most dominant in terms of fashion ability and also the quality
of the sound, followed by the apple Airpods, Sony earphones and the Philips earphones. As stated
by David Pierce, this is because, Beats earphones produces earphones with the best quality of
sound and is up to date on the current fashion ability among the customers (Pierce, 2016).
However, apple does lack in terms of quality of sound and fashion ability compared to beats, but
it is the best compared to other earphones such as Sony and Philips which lacks both fashion ability
and the quality of sound. However, even though Beats is considered to be the best, according to
Heidi Moore, Apple has however bought over this company and therefore many more
improvement in terms of the sound quality can be expected (Moore, 2014). Furthermore, according
to Barclay Ballard, Apple has brand loyal customers and the company mainly focuses on selling
the Airpods to these category of customers in which it brings a huge profit to the company (Ballard,
2015).

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SWOT Analysis

STRENGTH WEAKNESS
Staying ahead of fast moving Negative feedback
technological curve High Pricing of product
Strong Brand Image Very Proprietary and Controlling
Good Customer Service
Loyal user base
OPPORTUNITIES THREATS
Loyal Customer Base Imitation of the product
Well-deserved reputation for high Intense rival competition
quality product Rising manufacturing cost
New wireless earphones
Table 3: SWOT Analysis Table

Strengths

Apple has many strengths that has made the products launched to be quite successful within the
market. Some of the strengths are, it is quite well known for staying ahead of fast moving
technological curve (Ritchie, 2011). This can be seen within the Apple Airpods itself which consist
of advanced features that no other wireless or wired earphones consist of, such as the sense touch,
advanced pause and playback feature, smart auto-connect feature and many more (Mayo, 2016).
Besides, Apple has also a strong brand image (Jones, 2012). Apple is well known as the developer
of products which focuses towards the best quality and technology (Staff, 2012). This also has
been displayed onto the premium design of the Apple Airpods with advanced technological
features (Dawson, 2016). Moreover, the Apple has a very good customer service and also stores
that provide these customers services worldwide (Heisler, 2015). Besides, Apple has a very loyal
user base as it has gained the users trust in providing premium products with the best quality and
never letting the customers down (Lynch, 2015).

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Weaknesses

Some of the weaknesses of the product within Apple is firstly the negative opinions or feedback
by certain customers or sometimes rumors. Some of the customers who are unsatisfied or people
who create rumors and provides negative feedbacks before the product is even launched and
therefore makes certain loyal customers to fear buying the product (Broussard, 2016). Besides,
another weakness would be the high pricing of the product (Blodget, 2013). Due to the premium
quality and feature, Apple sadly is required to price the products at a high price with the purpose
of satisfying the customers needs and requirements (Nielson, 2014). Therefore, due to the high
price, certain category or group of customers are unable to buy the product. For example, this can
be seen within the Apple Airpods. Due to the reason that it is priced at $159, which is quite high
for a wireless earphone, customers tend to divert or prefer cheaper alternatives from rival
companies (Ferron, 2016). Moreover, Apple is also known to be proprietary and controlling. This
is true as Apple did not provide the access to all the features of the Apple Airpods to android users.
Therefore, only through apple products like the iPhone 7, all the great features of the Apple
Airpods can be utilized (Petrovan, 2016).

Opportunities

Some of the opportunities of the Apple Corporation are, it has a loyal customer base and therefore,
apple is able to sell the Airpods as its customers trust the product by Apple (Lynch, 2015). Another
opportunity would be the well-deserved reputation for high quality product. Apple is very well
known to be producing products with the best and highest quality and services. Therefore, Apple
is able to use this recognition to be able to sell the Airpods and as well as other products within
the market (Bajarin, 2012). Another one would be that apple has produced its first, new wireless
earphones with the most advanced and innovative technology (Bajarin, 2016).

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Threats

Some of the threats apple faces upon releasing its products into the market are, the imitation of the
product. This is a threat as many other companies tend to imitate the Apple Airpods upon its release
and then the recon product are sold at much more cheaper price but with a lower quality. Users
may prefer this recon products as they provide the same features but with a much lesser quality
(Airpods, 2016). Another threat would be the intense rival competitions. For example, many other
companies such as Samsung and Sony are also competing with apple in producing products with
better technology and functions (Snelling, 2017). Another threat would be the rising manufacturing
cost, as this would therefore cause the rise in the price of the product and causes customers to
choose a cheaper alternatives (Morris, 2015).

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Ansoff Matrix

Figure 7: Ansoff Matrix (E-draw Visualization, 2017)

Market Penetration

Market Penetration is the method which usually focuses toward increasing market shares of an
existing product or promoting a new product through different strategies (Business Dictionary,
2017).

Product Development

Product development is a series of steps that involves conceptualization, design, development and
marketing of newly created or rebranded products. The objective is to cultivate, maintain and
increase the company market shares via satisfying customers demands and requirements (Rouse,
2017). This can be seen when the Apple Airpods were originally slated to be launched in October,
but were then been delayed. This is due to Apple needing extra time before they are ready for

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customers and to satisfy the customers needs. Besides, additional features and technologies were
added to fulfill the customers needs and as well as making their life easier (Dimitrov, 2016). This
form of development is beneficial for the company as it was able to attract customers due to this
new features. Besides, apple also required some time in developing a custom low-energy Bluetooth
chip for the Airpods so that it fulfils the customers needs by providing the maximum amount of
charge for the Airpods which is able to last for one whole day of usage (Mayo, 2016).

Market Development

This is one of the four alternatives growth strategies in the Ansoff Matrix which involves selling
existing into new market (Free management e-books, 2017). This is carried out by the company
market research section the helps to figure out the new customer groups (Edward Lowe foundation,
2017).

Diversification

This is the practice of entering a new market with a completely new offering in which entails
significant costs and risks, but can be extremely rewarding (ecornell, 2017). This is done by Apple
as it entered the new market of wireless headphones by providing advanced technology unlike any
other earphones and thus succeeding in the sales of the Apple Airpods (Rossman, 2017).

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Conclusion

Therefore, it can be concluded that the Apple Airpods have been analyzed thoroughly. Besides, it
is found that since its establishment, Apple has grown tremendously and successfully into a world
recognized company and brand and also still continues to explore more innovative products.
However, similarly as other products, Apple too faced ups and downs into producing its products
and as well as making its product and brand a well-recognized and trusted. This can be seen in the
profits and also the number of loyal customers Apple has each year which keeps increasing.
Therefore, even though the Apple Airpods are a new product that is released into the market, Apple
is able to launch and sell this product within the market successfully and also will continue selling
it satisfied customers.

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