One of the hottest markets out there is certainly that of the smartphone and it only promises to get hotter come 2011. Where once Apple was the dominant force in an ever-growing group of products, they now face a formidable challenger in the Android family of phones. The competition is so fierce in fact that it could drive the one time frontrunner to new heights and that is just what has happened. Apple has hiked up its iPhone shipments for the first quarter of 2011.
If this comes as a shock to some people, it shouldn’t. For the past couple of years the Android has been eating away at the Apple market share and some would even say now that Android has assumed the crown as the top smartphone producer on the market today. With that Apple has started to take steps to try and get that lead back. Where once it was thought that 19 million Apple iPhones would be the first quarter number, it is now more in the range of 20 to 21 million. Seems small, but that is a significant hike for Apple to be providing.
Why would they ramp up iPhone shipments by 2 million phones? Well that could be due to the fact that they believe there will be a need for them when Verizon “possibly” starts to sell the phones in the first quarter of the year 2011. Now no one can say for sure that they will be doing this, but let’s face it, the rumor has been bandied around for months now and it is the worst kept secret in the industry right about now. A second hint might have been that around 6 million of the new iPhones being shipped are CDMA iPhones which are usually predominantly featured in the phone carried by the Verizon family of offerings.
If this increased shipment was simply for AT&T, which is the exclusive reseller of the iPhone in the US, then you would not see a need for this large shipment of CDMI when they only use GSM technology for their phones. Thus you can see why there is the reference to the worst kept secret. Bottom line is though that this was a step in a direction that Verizon had to take. They are losing ground steadily to Android because the competition was offering their phones through all four of the major carriers. Apple could just not afford to be available in only one of the major retailers.
The question will be if Apple is already too late with this action. Android has not only started to dominate in the smartphone market, but they are also knocking out rivals as they go. If you need any more evidence of this, consider Blackberry who uses to be Verizon’s chief cash cow in this arena. Blackberry now only accounts for around 20 percent of Verizon sales, meaning that the Android has virtually blown them out of the water and left them with a fraction of its once powerful market share. It is no wonder that talk has been that RIM was in trouble. Three guesses as to why.