Apple’s iPhone 6 is without a doubt on of the most hotly anticipated smartphone launches of 2014. A dozen or so independent reports suggest that the handset will feature a new larger 4.7-inch display and a fresh new design that is thinner than ever. The iPhone 6 is also expected to be accompanied by a new iPhone phablet that will include a 5.5-inch screen to help attract new business over from the Android camp.
If the reports we have been reading even come close to representing the handsets Apple actually launches this fall, we can likely expect the company to crush the sales records it set last fall when the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c debuted. According to one industry watcher, however, we can also likely expect the iPhone’s market share to take a bigger than normal hit in the quarters that precede the iPhone 6’s release.
Writing at Forbes, Sand Hill Insights founder and analyst Chuck Jones offers some research that covers where Apple’s smartphone market share has been heading in recent months. Recently released numbers from Kantar Worldpanel suggest that Apple’s share of the U.S. smartphone market fell to 38.7% in February from a near-term peak of 43.9% in December, when iPhone 5s sales kicked into high gear for the holidays.
“In the US, Android’s momentum has returned after iOS’ share peaked as a result of the release of the iPhone 5S and 5C models,” Kantar analyst Dominic Sunnebo said in a release covering the report. “Android’s share is up 3.9% compared to last year, with LG the fastest growing Android brand. LG’s share of the US market has now topped 8% making it the third largest manufacturer in sales. While LG’s sales over the past few years have been led by low to mid-end Optimus models, the high-end G2 is now dominating its sales.”
Kantar shows that the iPhone’s smartphone share in Europe is down year-on-year as well, and Jones thinks that because of all of the leaks and speculation surrounding the upcoming iPhone 6, “Apple’s share will probably be impacted even more than usual” ahead of the device’s launch.
How that might impact Apple’s third and fourth fiscal quarters, however, remains to be seen.