The Apple (AAPL) iPhone 5 release date will stop the Google (GOOG) Android platform's inexorable rise. Or at least, that's the claim made by investment banking and asset management firm Needham. Cue: more tedious rumours and speculation.
- On the one hand, Android can't keep gaining market share for ever.
- On The Other Hand, the analysis seems to based on some pretty flimsy data.
Plus, today's skateboarding duck: Mathematicians with too much time on their hands...
Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports:
Using IDC data ... Needham's Charlie Wolf ... shows Apple's share of the U.S. smartphone market [rising] to 29.5% in [Q1] while Android's share ... fell from 52.4% to 49.5%.
"This is just the beginning of Android's share loss in the U.S. ... The migration of subscribers to the iPhone on the Verizon network should accelerate. ... One reason Apple delayed the launch of iPhone 5 until September ... [is to] coordinate the launch of iPhone 5 on the GSM and CDMA networks. ... the anticipated surge in iPhone sales on the Verizon network is likely to occur this [Autumn] after Apple launches iPhone 5."
Tiernan Ray says that it's not just a U.S. phenomenon:
Android ... had 36.2% of worldwide smartphone market share in March, but its ... [Q1] gain was just 3 percentage points, down from a 7.5-percentage-point gain in [Q4 2010], and a 9.5-percentage-point gain in [Q3].
The real battleground for Apple and Google ... will be the prepaid market in emerging economies, Wolf thinks. ... "Apple will adjust the iPhone pricing and design to that reality. ... Tim Cook, Apple’s COO, noted that the company is closely studying the Chinese market ... effectively a prepaid market, presumably for this reason."
Wolf thinks the Asia-Pacific theater could see a price war ... by the cut-throat “white box” makers of ... Android handsets. ... “The only way these second-tier licensees can survive is to compete on price ... [which] will trigger a price war ... that could even engulf the name brand vendors.”
But Kevin Krause isn't buying it:
We heard this one before ... But if you’re wrong once, why not make the same prediction again and hope that it might come true this time?
His argument is based more on speculation than fact. ... Android still holds nearly 50 percent to Apple’s 30. ... Apple stands to gain more ground from floundering competitors such as RIM. ... But it’s all speculation for now. Let’s revisit these figures when the iPhone 5 launches this fall.
Richard Goodwin tackles the elephant in the room:
Of course there’s been lots of other speculation ... most notably that Apple will issue a smaller budget iPhone device. ... Recent reports have claimed that Apple’s next iPhone [will be an] iPhone 4S - and not ... the iPhone 5. The logic ... goes as follows: the next iPhone update [will] be a minor hardware update (better processor, improved camera etc) to tide users over until ... the iPhone 5, sometime in 2012.
While this does sound completely plausible, we’ve got it on good authority from a source at a UK network, the next iPhone device [is] the iPhone 5.
Meanwhile, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes thinks release date rumours are "lame":
Personally, I think the date could be any work day in September (or August/October). ... Let’s kick off an iPhone 5 launch day prediction pool.
Here’s my prediction - September 15th. Your turn!
Today's Skateboarding Duck...
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. His writing has previously won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.