updated 04:45 pm EDT, Tue April 24, 2012
Apple sees little dip in iPhone numbers
Despite a series of rapid share declines, Apple in its quarterly results on Tuesday reported a major increase in iPhone sales in the winter. It sold 35.1 million iPhones in the winter, an 88 percent jump from a year ago. The drop was just two million from the fall results and suggested that the traditional post-holiday slump had little impact.
Other companies have yet to fully report their data and may stay quiet. Samsung has provided rough guidance for smartphone shipments in the past, but has seldom been specific and hasn't mentioned its figures for early 2012 so far. Strong Galaxy Note sales may have been counterbalanced by an almost year-old Galaxy S II and other phones that had yet to get updates.
Signs of strong Apple sales may have been reflected in AT&T results. Although it sold fewer iPhones than at the end of 2011, the disproportionately high ratio of iPhones to all other devices showed that any decrease was in the market as a whole, not for Apple.
Most of Apple's real challenge may come in mid-year, as the iPhone 4S loses its novelty. The release window for the 2012 iPhone is uncertain and has been unofficially pegged for any time between the summer and October. A summer update would catch users while iPhone 4S demand was still high, while a fall update could see the summer lag as customers start waiting once again.
The results were a minor consolation for relatively soft iPad sales of 11.8 million. While a 151-point increase over winter of 2011, it was less than the 15.4 million of this past fall. The new iPad's launch may have had a similar effect to what the iPhone 4S launch did on Apple's late summer and early fall, where some customers accurately suspected new hardware was coming and held off until it was ready.