Apple's iPhone 5 could radically change the smartphone market-share game for Apple, even as a new study suggests the company is solidifying its lead over rivals.
Apple is set to become the world's
largest smartphone vendor by volume, according to new data from research firm
"We had previously reported on
Apple becoming the largest smartphone vendor in terms of revenue and profits,"
Alex Spektor, an analyst with Strategy Analytics, wrote in a July 29 research
note. "Now, just four years after the release of the original iPhone,
Apple has become the world's largest smartphone vendor by volume with 18
percent market share."
The firm places Samsung in second place
with 17.5 percent, then Nokia with 15.2 percent and undefined "others"
with 48.9 percent.
Apple is currently pursuing a lawsuit
that accuses Samsung of copying its products, an intellectual-property battle
made more complicated by the symbiotic relationship between the two companies:
Even as the iPhone and iPad compete fiercely with Samsung's Galaxy S smartphone
and Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet, Apple remains a major purchaser of electronic
components from its rival. Samsung has responded to Apple's legal maneuvering
with patent-infringement lawsuits of its own.
For its part, Nokia hopes that
wholesale adoption of Windows Phone as its new software platform will reverse
its market-share declines. Its first devices running Microsoft's smartphone platform
are expected to make their debut by the end of the year.
All three companies have new
smartphones in the pipeline for later in 2011. Samsung's Galaxy S II is
reportedly prepping for an August release in the United States, following a solid sales run
in international markets such
as South Korea and Japan. And Apple will likely debut its next iPhone sometime
in the fall timeframe.
According to Experian's PriceGrabber
shopping Website, some 35 percent of 3,000 U.S. consumers said they would buy
the iPhone 5 upon its release. Around 48 percent of those polled said they
prefer Apple's iOS platform to alternatives such as Google Android or
The iPhone 5-or whatever Apple finally
decides to name its next smartphone-will run iOS 5, a major update to the
company's mobile operating system. If you believe the rumors floating around,
the device will feature some high-end hardware, such as an 8-megapixel camera
and Apple's proprietary A5 processor.
That updated OS and hardware could give
Apple the tools it needs to compete more heartily against Google Android, which
is appearing on ever-more devices by rival manufacturers. The bigger question,
though, is whether a new iPhone-particularly one launched on multiple carriers
and supplemented by older versions sold at lower price points-will radically
change the game for Apple, as it seeks to solidify its market position.
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