Apple iPhone 7 is just weeks away and there is a lot of speculation about the features as always. While it is too early to tell what impact the phone will have on sales, research firm Canalys has released a new forecast which does not paint such a rosy picture for Apple.
Canalys expects Apple’s worldwide shipments to decline in 2016 despite the new iPhone thanks to the “struggle in China”. “The launch of the iPhone 6 saw Apple’s shipments in Greater China skyrocket, but the company has struggled to maintain this momentum,” said research analyst Jessie Ding, adding that the iPhone 6s had a lackluster reception in comparison and the iPhone SE is unlikely to make a big difference.
Meanwhile, local players like Huawei, Oppo and Vivo have improved product quality and gained a better market share with products at significantly lower price points. “The iPhones lack features such as waterproofing and wireless charging. Apple needs to catch up with the competition if it wants to compete,” Canalys said. However, cutting edge features in the new iPhone could change the game.
Meanwhile, Canalys said worldwide smartphone shipments will reach just over 1.4 billion units in 2016 – a 5 per cent year-on-year increase. But shipments in Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China) will grow faster at 13 per cent. “The smartphone markets in India and the Philippines are performing well in 2016, with annual growth expected to reach 21 per cent and 26 per cent respectively,” said research analyst Ishan Dutt.
Apple and other smartphone majors like Samsung are expected to look to these markets to prop up sales across their portfolio. In fact, in an interview to Washington Post, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he sees great potential in the Indian market, especially with 4G coming in.
“Smartphone penetration in these markets remains low, meaning there is a big opportunity for vendors. Growth in established markets is harder to find but, despite shipment declines in the first two quarters, we expect Western Europe and North America to return to growth in the second half of the year,” he added. Both these regions are expected to end 2016 with single-digit percentage shipment increases powered by the demand for the new iPhone.
The new Apple iPhone 7 is expected to launch in the early September. The iPhone 7 series is rumoured to have a dual-rear camera, a home button with taptic feedback like on the Apple Watch and will end the era of the headphone jack.