Samsung beats Apple as eyes turn to iPhone 8

U.S. teens show more interest than ever in the next iPhone; sales of other brands expected to flatline

Apple, Samsung, iOS, iPhone, iPhone 8, Galaxy, Trendforce
Credit: Apple

The latest Trendforce data shows Samsung beat Apple in smartphone sales as the euphoria around iPhone 7 is replaced with excitement and anticipation at the $999.99 (?) iPhone 8.

Not unusual

That’s not unusual.

You see, the data isn’t an apples and oranges comparison, in part because it includes all those cheap-as-chips Samsung phones you’ll find for a few dollars in electronics stores everywhere. Those devices don’t really compare with iPhone, and at the high-end Apple remains supreme.

“Samsung’s sales results for its high-end smartphones fell short of expectations in the first quarter as consumers’ confidence in the brand had yet to fully recover from the recall of Galaxy Note 7,” said the smartphone market analysts in a press release available here.

Samsung’s budget J-series devices did particularly well to shore up share.

iPhone 8, appreciate

Apple meanwhile saw its usual pattern: Huge iPhone 7 series sales in the launch quarter settling swiftly to a slightly more sedate but still powerful Q1.

“Apple will likely lower the production of existing iPhone models as the company prepares for the launch of the next-generation devices in the third quarter,” said the analysts.

“The total production volume of all iPhone devices for the first quarter of 2017 fell by 36% compared with the previous quarter and declined by 41% versus the same period a year ago,” the analysts said.

“These results actually showed an overall improvement in iPhone sales,” they added, noting that the newly-introduced AIDS-fighting (RED) iPhone has been “well-received”.

High-end hiatus

You should be in no doubt that the entire industry will slow down in the coming months. Competitors are releasing their high-end offerings for this year in hope they will dent Apple’s mindshare, but any consumer who recalls the UI revolution of the original 2007 iPhone will want to see if whatever Apple does come up with when it introduces the iPhone 8 will match the “tenth-anniversary” hype.

“Market demand going into the second quarter is expected to remain relatively weak as consumers are holding off their purchases in anticipation of the 10th anniversary iPhone devices that will arrive in the third quarter,” said TrendForce. “Smartphone sales will be fairly lackluster until the second half of this year.”

This is likely to impact Apple’s competitors.

New generation, next generation

There is everything to play for. Apple may dominate the high-end but as reaction to the (I think flawed and inconsistent) Laptop Mag move to dump MacBook Pro down to fifth place shows, the company can’t take its audience mind-share for granted. (Never mind that the magazine’s scoring criteria seems to change every year).

Here is what is at stake.

Tomorrow’s world: 

Seventy-six percent of U.S. teenagers already own an iPhone and 81 percent expect their next smartphone will be an iPhone.

That’s the biggest slice of the market ever, and – if Apple can capitalize on this by delivering these precious young consumers a device they want to use, then it has a chance to build its business for another decade.

(This may also be a good moment to offer an LTE Apple Watch, the survey suggests teens are also really interested in that Apple product).

That’s the positive slant.

The negative slant? If it fails, then it has this market to lose. Everything is at stake.

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