I don't know about you, but I've never seen an "elite" make *any* effort to save a buck when it comes to their personal expenditures. In fact, most of the egregious high-ticket freebie-grabbing seems to come from that segment. While engineers are famous for their (sometimes agressive) love of free t-shirts and lunchtime sales meeting sandwich pick-overs, the execs don't have any qualms about sticking it to the man for $20K home-teleconference systems and T-1 lines (phhhht, equivalent-speed DSL/cable connections are for the 99%).
Does anyone seriously think that someone like this is going to consider carrying around another device (or managing two on the table instead of one) for $6K/year? That's probably the difference between a single round-trip down-grade from first-class to business (or private to commercial). That's noise to a lot of people (although I'll grant you probably not 1 million of them, but not that far off). I'll believe it when I see it!
I see more risk from the 99% to whom a $500/year telecom-bill haircut actually means something -- more of what Skype has done already. Unless the telcos can find a way to make non-free wireless service bright and shiny, eventually all of the mouth-breathers are eventually going to need a shave. The medium/long-term economic outlook can't seem to be telecom's friend when it comes to the non-1%.
Not sure I care either way as a user, but my company definitely loves the saving. BUT, as CEO of a technology licensing company generating royalty revenue from the smartphone, it's definitely a concern. The semiconductor industry got its birth from the computer business, and the transition from computing to mobile communication was so seamless we've all taken for granted it will continue to grow. But what if it doesnt?
I agree with you, TonyTib. Most recent discussions about iPad flatlining also underscores the similar issue. Carriers are subsidizing a bi-annual upgrade habit while most iPad2s are still in use (so that's about 3+ years now). Without the $6M carrier revenue to subsidize the top-end of the users, watch the iPhone flatlining too.
My view: the subsidy model in the US will slowly go away from pressure from T-Mobile and MVNO's (especially BYOD MVNOs) such as Ting, SimpleMobile, and Republic Wireless.
I suspect Apple will get hurt more, because I'm pretty sure they get higher subsidies. For example, if a Nexus 5-class phone is $150 subsidized and an iPhone is $200 subsidized, there's not much difference. However, if the difference is buy used for <$200 (my choice), pay $350 for a Nexus 5 from Google, or pay >$600 for a iPhone (or Galaxy S5/Note 3), then yes, consumer behavior is going to change, and the high end will shrink.
Sorry to disappoint you, Lewis, but I am not a elitist, and far, far from the 1% (if I were, I wouldn't have traveled for business, and wouldn't carry anything electronic with me). But what I am trying to point out is that the worldwid is dominated by a bi-modal model. In this case, the early adoptors are doubly important because they are the "viral effect" that help spread the adoption. 15,000 miles from Beijing, I have traveled to the outskirts of Harbin, China (near Russian border) and see this viral effect first hand.
It is sad that the most pervasive electronic gadget has degenerated into thinness, multi-core, etc. So if that's what you mean, I agree with you. What I am further saying is that, for the $6B business which the international business "elites" spend, it's about to end. Whether that changes the business model, and what Qualcomm, Samsung, etc. pump out, it's the question that I am asking aloud.
The methodoloogy here is great -- if you assume not only that cell phone users across the world are like Americans -- but also that a significant percentage of Americans have significant costs related to frequent international travel.
This isn't an argument for what may or may not ail the industry.
It is an argument for how out of touch an elite can be. It's not that great a leap from there to how disastrous business and policy decisions are made by that elite.
Using tablet works very well instead of phone. I agree to that. Guess tablet market will always stay. Smartphone is something nice to have. But a nice tablet and a handy phone are good option for travel.