Next-generation iPhones likely to focus on internal improvements.
Apple Hits New High with 8.8% of Worldwide Mobile Phone Market in 1Q 2012
Worldwide Mobile Phone Shipments in 1Q12 in Millions of Units (Source: IDC)
Apple's year-over-year growth of 88% in an overall market which shrank by 1.5% enabled the iPhone maker to solidify its hold on third place in the overall mobile phone market behind Samsung and Nokia. Nokia had been the market leader for well over a decade, but Samsung surged into the lead for the first time during the quarter.
Worldwide Smartphone Shipments in 1Q12 in Millions of Units (Source: IDC)
Looking at the narrower smartphone market, which now comprises 36% of the global mobile phone market, IDC pegs Apple in second place, with its 88% year-over-year growth easily topping the overall segment's growth of 42.5%. But Apple's growth was easily overshadowed by Samsung, which rode the strength of its portfolio of Android-based devices to year-over-year growth of 267% and the top spot in the smartphone rankings.
"The race between Apple and Samsung remained tight during the quarter, even as both companies posted growth in key areas," said Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC's Mobile Phone Technology and Trends program. "Apple launched its popular iPhone 4S in additional key markets, most notably in China, and Samsung experienced continued success from its Galaxy Note smartphone/tablet and other Galaxy smartphones. With other companies in the midst of major strategic transitions, the contest between Apple and Samsung will bear close observation as hotly-anticipated new models are launched."Samsung's shipment numbers suffer from significant uncertainty, however, as the company no longer releases official data on its sales for competitive reasons. Consequently, analysts have had to resort to rough estimates for Samsung's numbers, and IDC believes that Samsung registered 42.2 million smartphone shipments to easily top Apple's publicly-released number of 35.1 million units.
Research firm Strategy Analytics last week offered a similar estimate of Samsung's shipments at 44.5 million units for the quarter, but IHS iSuppli painted a very different picture with its estimate of only 32 million smartphone units for Samsung, which would have left Apple atop the rankings for the quarter.