iPhone 5 to spur record Apple sales in Q4

Jack Kent/IHS iSuppli
17 Sep 2012

The iPhone 5 represents a strong smartphone launch by Apple. IHS forecasts the iPhone 5 will be a major success in the market, helping to drive Apple’s smartphone shipments in 2012 to 149 million units, up 60% from 93 million in 2011.

Historically, the release of a new iPhone has generated a large quarter-on-quarter surge in iPhone sales. Apple's release strategy plays a major role in this upwelling, as prospective buyers hold off on purchasing during the time leading up to the rollout of the new device. This phenomenon depressed iPhone sales in the second quarter of this year.

The new phone will be released with just over a week left in the third quarter, so most of the iPhone 5 sales bump in 2012 will be seen in the final quarter of the year. When combined with normal seasonality, IHS predicts the fourth quarter this year will be Apple's biggest quarter for iPhone sales in history.

“Unlike last year's release of the iPhone 4S, this year's iPhone 5 announcement comes as a significant departure from previous models,” said Daniel Gleeson, mobile analyst for IHS. “The addition of a new, larger screen is a fundamental change in product design. Furthermore, the iPhone 5 is the first member of Apple’s smartphone line to feature 4G long term evolution (LTE) connectivity, accelerating data speeds dramatically compared to previous models. These major improvements will drive strong sales for the iPhone 5.”

The 4.0-inch display on the iPhone 5 compares to the 3.5-inch screen on all previous Apple smartphone models. This new display is essentially an elongated-screen version of previous iPhone displays, providing additional height with no additional width. The screen also features in-cell technology that minimizes the distance between the user and the display, and also helps reduce the thickness of the smartphone.

In the Android smartphone market, the plethora of screen sizes, aspect ratios and resolutions have created challenges for software developers. However, IHS anticipates that the addition of a single additional aspect ratio will not hinder iPhone app development.

The iOS ecosystem is still the most valuable mobile content marketplace, despite Android's size advantage. The new iPhone will support old apps via the addition of a ribbon so as to preserve the original aspect ratio. While this will maintain the experience, it does fall short of the flawless hardware-software integration that a vertically integrated model like Apple's should provide. However, this should only be a temporary distraction for users as developers update their apps.”

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