Smartphones: more evidence that iPhone 5 is in trouble

16 Jan, 2013



We wrote this morning that after an initial surge in (expected) demand following the launch of the iPhone 5, the demand for iPhones fell back to its old, pre-iPhone 5 levels. This is the first time this happens for Apple. Usually every new iPhone launch lifts demand to a higher plateau.

This afternoon, Pacific Crest analysts gave a possible explanation: they said that iPhone demand will be hit hard by saturation in the smartphone market. They said demand for ‘incremental hardware improvements is waning’.

In other words: nobody cares about an iPhone that’s a little bit better than the last, without being radically better, newer or different.

If you look at the chart they provided, it’s clearly becoming harder for iPhone to find new customers, a clear sign that the iPhone market is saturated. Most people who want an iPhone already have one. And people are happy with their iPhone, but they’re also happy to wait until it fails to buy another one, instead of rushing out to buy a new generation.

It looks like the smartphone wars are moving to the emerging markets, after all.

Also, the iPad mini is hurting Apple’s bottom line, the analysts say. Earlier, we wrote that iTunes music downloads are also bumping up against a ceiling. Apple is getting to the point where it will need a big win soon to boost its shares.

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About the author

Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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