USC Annenberg / Brett Van Ort

Five Minutes with Jonathan Taplin: The developing world needs lower-priced phones

Communication Professor and USC Annenberg Innovation Lab Director Jonathan Taplin is one of the world's foremost experts on International Communication Management and the field of digital media. Below, Taplin weighs in on Apple's Sept. 10 announcement of the iPhone 5S and 5C.

Where does this announcement leave Apple: Ahead, even, or behind in the smart phone battle?

Although Android has the largest market share in the smartphone field, Apple takes the majority of profits, because it doesn't have to sell on price. Today's announcement is a recognition by Apple that it needs a lower priced phone for the developing world. If this will cut into Samsung's Asian market share is the big question. The second problem is whether moving into the lower priced category will damage Apple's position as the premium phone and the amazing profit margins associated with that position.

Will the new technology announced today be enough for Apple fans to flock back to the stores and wait all day for the newest phone?

One of Apple's problems is their products are too dependable and they don't wear out quickly. Whether they can get their American and European customer base to upgrade to the newest model is an open question.

Why does everyone seem to love Apple announcements?

They are loved because they set the standards and features for the rest of the industry, which is mostly made up of Apple "followers."

You wrote in 2011 that the United States should and could learn from Apple about a culture of innovation. Is that still the case?

I continue to feel that Apple is still a model for innovation in America. You only have to look at the lines outside the Apple store in Beijing to know that's true. I think the next frontier for Apple is in TV and wearable computing. Stay tuned.

What are some projects on the horizon for you and the Annenberg Innovation Lab?

We are focusing on creative destruction in the entertainment industry in a wholistic way. We will have a big announcement in November.

As director of the Annenberg Innovation Lab, Taplin has worked closely with Apple. He's also author of "Outlaw Blues," published by Annenberg Press and distributed by the Apple iBookstore.