January 27, 2012

Massive holiday quarter pushes iPhone sales past Android in US

By Katie Marsal

Published: 12:42 PM EST (09:42 AM PST)
Apple’s share of smartphones sold in the U.S. doubled in the fourth quarter of 2011, pushing iPhone sales just past the myriad of devices that run Google’s Android platform.

With just three different iPhone models available for sale, Apple reached a 44.9 percent share of U.S. smartphone sales last quarter, according to research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. That was good enough to just barely edge Google’s Android platform, which is available on all major carriers and from a wide number of handset manufacturers.

Apple’s 44.9 percent share was twice that of a year prior, according to Reuters. And Apple’s gains were Android’s losses, as the platform slipped from 50 percent of sales to 44.8 percent.

Kantar covers nine key markets across the globe, and Apple’s iPhone grew at a faster rate than Android in all nine countries. Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform failed to crack 2 percent of sales in all nine markets, even with the launch of the Nokia Lumia.

The latest mobile market share data comes just as Apple posted a record quarter in which it far exceeded analyst expectations for the iPhone. The company blew away its previous best and sold 37 million iPhones, a number that easily topped the estimated 32 million smartphones rival Samsung sold in the same period.

Apple’s feat of edging out Android came with just three models available for sale: the new iPhone 4S, the 2010 iPhone 4, and 2009′s iPhone 3GS. In addition, Apple’s iPhone lineup is not available on T-Mobile, the fourth-largest carrier in the U.S., and the iPhone 3GS, which is free with a two-year contract, is only available on AT&T.

In contrast, Android smartphones are available on all four major U.S. carriers from a number of manufacturers in a variety of sizes and styles, with different features like high-speed 4G LTE connectivity, large 4-plus-inch screens and physical keyboards.

Commenting on the race between the iPhone and Android, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook said on Tuesday that while it’s a close battle, other competitors like Microsoft cannot be counted out either. He also noted that while the iPhone and Android are neck-and-neck, Apple has a considerable lead in other markets with its iOS mobile operating system, which is found on both the iPad and the iPod touch.

“iOS, you look at phones, tablets, the iPod touch, we’ve sold over 350 million iOS devices,” Cook said. “Over 62 million of those were done in the last quarter alone.”

AppleInsider

iPad may make Apple world’s largest PC maker in holiday Q4 2012

By Dan Dilger

Published: 05:09 PM EST (02:09 PM PST)
Apple’s fiscal Q4 iPad shipments in the September quarter were enough to propel the Mac maker into a near tie in unit sales with global PC maker HP. When Apple releases figures for the final quarter of 2012 later this month, it may become the world’s largest PC maker.

After Fortune published a graphic showing the huge impact of Apple’s iPad sales on PC market share, Sebastian Peitsch of German blog Apple Outsider painstakingly researched PC market share figures back through 2008 to offer a corrected version.

His graphic portrays what Garner would have reported since 2010 if the research company weren’t artificially excluding the iPad from its PC market share figures, a tactic it suddenly initiated alongside the launch of the iPad after years of including Microsoft’s Tablet PCs, UMPCs and other tablets in its official PC numbers.

Gartner is likely to begin counting Windows 8 tablets, some of which are expected to use ARM chips, as PCs out of fealty to the company that has funded much of its research.

Adding iPad sales back to Garner’s figures dramatically shows how Apple overtook Lenovo and Dell after just three quarters of iPad sales in its first year, then rebounding the next year with iPad 2 to arrive right on the heels of HP’s PC sales in the third calendar quarter of last year.

Macs up, PCs down

Apple is expected to report sales of around 13 million iPads in the fourth quarter and more than 5 million Macs, which may be enough to beat HP and become the world’s largest PC maker ahead of schedule.

NPD Group reported last week that consumer electronics sales were down across the board in the US, but specifically noted that desktop PCs were down 2 percent, while notebook sales were down 5 percent. That’s in sharp contrast to Apple’s rapidly growing sales of iPads and Macs.

Previously, research firm Canalys predicted that Apple would overtake HP to become the top PC maker in the world next year, a conclusion HP’s chief executive Meg Whitman agreed with before expressing hopes that HP could win back the title of being the top PC maker in 2013.

Beyond unit sales, Apple already leads the PC market in revenues and profitability. Each Mac and iPad Apple sells impacts the sales of both Microsoft and its PC partners, and in the case of ARM-based iPads, also takes a hit on Intel’s chip sales. Intel, Microsoft and their PC partners are hoping that a new crop of Ultrabooks and tablet designs running Windows 8 will lure buyers back to non-Apple PCs.

However, both Intel and Microsoft are reportedly hoping to maintain high component prices for PC makers, a strategy that is likely to keep Windows 8 tablets prices between $ 599 and $ 899, the same price that appeared to kill any interest in Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets in 2011.

AppleInsider

Apple supplier data suggests great holiday sales

With just under two weeks to go until Apple announces financial results on January 24, analysts are lining up their refined estimates for just how well the company may have done for the holiday quarter. UBS analyst Maynard Um, in a research note to his clients quoted on GigaOM, believes that supplier data is pointing the way to Apple’s best-ever quarter.

Um bases his assumption on the preliminary first quarter revenues for Multi-Fineline Electronix (MFLX), a manufacturer of flexible printed circuit boards for products including the iPhone and iPad. MFLX also says that it saw an increase in shipments from its largest key customer, which Um believes to be Apple.

Those results follow others that indicate that Apple’s first quarter (October – December) may be incredibly good. Verizon noted “better than expected iPhone shipments” last week, AT&T touted strength in iPhone sales last month and Cirrus Logic (which makes analog chips for iPad and iPod) reported better results this week. In addition, Dialog Semi, Catcher (makes the metal casings for Macs), TPK (maker of iPad 2 touch panels), and Hon Hai (assembles iPhones and iPads) all reported strong December results.

As usual, TUAW is liveblogging the Apple results call on the afternoon of January 24, so be sure to join us to hear the news.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Disney reports 40% jump in iOS downloads from holiday 2010

Disney is the latest company to announce some crazy numbers from last year’s holiday season (with Rovio having announced big numbers earlier this week, and the App Store overall seeing a big boost in sales over the holiday). The biggest title in the company’s catalog was Where’s My Water, which saw more than 6 million downloads over the holiday week, across both iOS and Android. And Disney Mobile saw a 40% increase in iOS downloads overall, as compared to the same period last year.

TUAW previously spoke with the creator of Where’s My Water, who started out as a QA tester at Disney and moved up the ranks to create hit iPhone games. This time around, we heard from Bart Decrem, Disney Mobile GM (and former CEO of Tapulous, the company that Disney acquired a few years ago). He says that “freemium” is the current word in mobile gaming: “2012 will see freemium models around many types of gameplay — as is already being shown by the success of Temple Run.”

Temple Run isn’t a Disney Mobile game — it’s created by a two person husband and wife team at Imangi Studios, and despite its relatively humble origins, it recently landed on the top grossing pile over this past holiday season. So if Decrem is right, we’ll see more titles like it; games that intelligently combine solid gameplay with a very lucrative in-app purchase system. Disney itself says more updates are planned for Where’s My Water and its other titles, and we’ll have to wait and see what else the House of Mouse has up its sleeve for iOS this coming year.



TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Samsung sold about 32 million smartphones in record holiday quarter

By Sam Oliver

Published: 08:36 AM EST (05:36 AM PST)
When they are announced later this month, Apple’s holiday iPhone sales will be most closely compared to rival Samsung, which is estimated to have sold 32 million smartphones in its record setting quarter.

Samsung reported its record earnings on Friday, with its operating profit hitting $ 4.5 billion in the December quarter on strong sales of its smartphones. But while smartphones were key in Samsung’s success during the holidays, actual unit sales of smartphones were not publicly revealed.

Based on the data released by Samsung, Dongbu Securities Co. took a stab and estimated that the company sold 32 million smartphones in the fourth quarter, according to Bloomberg. In all, Samsung is estimated to have sold 300 million handsets — both smartphones and “feature” phones — in 2011.

Samsung’s numbers will be closely compared to Apple, when the iPhone maker releases its sales figures for the holiday quarter on Tuesday, Jan. 24. The December quarter includes the launch of the iPhone 4S, and Apple executives have already said they expect to set a new record for iPhone sales.

Apple’s current record for quarterly iPhone sales is 20.3 million, but industry watchers expect that the company will handily beat that sum in the just-concluded December quarter. Those expectations were bolstered this week when Verizon, the largest wireless carrier in the U.S>, revealed it sold 4.2 million iPhones in the last three months of 2011, nearly doubling its previous quarterly figure.

Verizon’s strong numbers, along with a record setting pace from AT&T, prompted one Wall Street analyst to forecast that Apple could report sales of 35.3 million iPhones in the December quarter. If that prediction proves accurate, it’s a number that would best Samsung’s estimated 32 million smartphone sales in the holiday quarter by more than 3 million.

AppleInsider

Verizon numbers may suggest 35M iPhone sales in holiday quarter, analyst says

By Josh Ong

Published: 01:11 AM EST (10:11 PM PST)
Verizon’s revelation that it sold 4.2 million iPhones in the December quarter has prompted one analyst to suggest that Apple may have sold as many as 35 million iPhones during the period.

UBS analyst Maynard Um extrapolated Verizon’s sales figures late Wednesday to show a possible upside to the firm’s 30 million unit estimate for Apple’s December quarter iPhone performance.

Verizon CFO Francis Shammo had said earlier on Wednesday that the carrier sold 4.2 million iPhones during the period. Meanwhile, rival AT&T announced in early December that “strong” iPhone 4S sales had brought the carrier’s smartphone sales in the first two months of the fourth quarter to 6 million, just shy of its quarterly record of 6.1 million sales.

Um estimated that AT&T’s iPhone sales will reach 8 million and Sprint ‘s will hit 1.2 million for combined U.S. iPhone sales of 13.4 million. When compared to the firm’s projection of 30 million units during the period, 13.4 million stateside iPhone sales would represent roughly 45 percent of global sales. According to Um, the U.S. mix of Apple’s handset sales hasn’t been that high since June 2009.

In fact, the analyst reports that the U.S.’ proportion of worldwide iPhone sales ranged from 25-29 percent in fiscal 2011, as Apple continued “rapid expansion of international countries and carriers.” The iPhone 4S launch should be even more skewed toward overseas, as it has been the fastest international rollout ever for the handset, reaching almost 70 countries by the end of 2011. The device will launch in 22 more countries, including China, on Jan. 13.

Um speculates that a conservative 38 percent mix, which is the highest mix from fiscal 2010, would imply demand for 35.3 million iPhones. That would represent more than 70 percent growth from the previous record of 20.3 million from the July 2011 quarter. Wall Street consensus expects Apple to have sold 25 million iPhones in the quarter.

Apple officials tipped their hand in October when they confidently stated that the iPhone 4S launch would drive handset sales to an all-time high in the December quarter. According to one analysis, Apple is poised to report the biggest earnings blowout in history on Jan. 24. The company has guided for $ 37 billion in the holiday quarter, representing the first time it will pass the $ 30-billion mark.

AppleInsider

Verizon Announces Doubled iPhone Sales During 2011 Holiday Season

Verizon Announces Doubled iPhone Sales During 2011 Holiday Season

Verizon has announced record-breaking results for its 2011 fourth quarter sales. The nation’s largest carrier sold 4.2 million iPhones during the holiday season, effectively doubling sales from the previous quarter.

The iPhone 4S was launched during Q4 of 2011, and holiday sales have surely helped Verizon rise to such impressive results.

Verizon sold only 2 million iPhones in the third quarter of 2011. While this last quarter’s results are certainly fantastic for the CDMA carrier, Verizon does expect to take a hit in profits for the high subsidies it has to pay to Apple for every iPhone sold. That marginal loss will, however, be made up in the long run because of the influx in customer contracts.

During the iPhone 4S launch, Verizon said that the device was its best-selling handset. Sales of the smartphone have continued to stay strong. AT&T and Sprint have seen considerable demand for the smartphone since its release in October.

We won’t know how many total iPhones were sold in 2011”s fourth quarter until Apple gives us the numbers on January 24th.

Cult of Mac

Verizon reports sales of 4.2 million iPhones during holiday quarter

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 04:41 PM EST (01:41 PM PST)
Apple isn’t scheduled to report its holiday quarterly sales until January 24, but Verizon Wireless has just noted that it has sold 4.2 million iPhones in the last three months of 2011, double its previous quarterly figure.

Speaking at the Citi Global Entertainment Media & Communications Conference today, Verizon’s chief financial officer Fran Shammo outed his company’s iPhone sales figure (as noted by Streetinsider).

The future was more than double the 2 million iPhones Verizon sold in the previous quarter; in comparison, AT&T sold 2.7 million phones in the third calendar quarter ending in September (it hasn’t released fourth quarter sales figures yet).

In total, Apple reported sales of just over 17 million iPhones in the September quarter (its fiscal Q4 2011). Analysts had guessed Apple would reach sales of 20-22 million or more, despite the delayed released of the new iPhone 4S and the tempering affect on sales created by the expectation of a new model around the corner.

The fact that Verizon doubled its iPhone sales even as Apple’s US market was expanded to include Sprint and the smaller regional carrier C Spire Wireless indicates the combination of the iPhone 4S, a lower priced iPhone 4, and the now free with contract iPhone 3GS (which is only available on AT&T’s network in the US) has resulted in plenty of sales opportunities for every US carrier.

In its last conference call, Apple noted that it now has 130 carriers worldwide in 105 countries, and that the delay of the iPhone 4S release resulted in Q4 sales being only up 21 percent over the year ago quarter.

Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook stated, “I’m confident that we will set an all-time record for iPhones this quarter.” He added, “We’re thrilled with how we’ve gotten started (with the 4S). The feedback that we’re getting from customers is just fantastic.”

AppleInsider

Verizon reports sales of 4.2 million iPhones during holiday quarter

By Daniel Eran Dilger

Published: 04:41 PM EST (01:41 PM PST)
Apple isn’t scheduled to report its holiday quarterly sales until January 24, but Verizon Wireless has just noted that it has sold 4.2 million iPhones in the last three months of 2011, double its previous quarterly figure.

Speaking at the Citi Global Entertainment Media & Communications Conference today, Verizon’s chief financial officer Fran Shammo outed his company’s iPhone sales figure (as noted by Streetinsider).

The future was more than double the 2 million iPhones Verizon sold in the previous quarter; in comparison, AT&T sold 2.7 million phones in the third calendar quarter ending in September (it hasn’t released fourth quarter sales figures yet).

In total, Apple reported sales of just over 17 million iPhones in the September quarter (its fiscal Q4 2011). Analysts had guessed Apple would reach sales of 20-22 million or more, despite the delayed released of the new iPhone 4S and the tempering affect on sales created by the expectation of a new model around the corner.

The fact that Verizon doubled its iPhone sales even as Apple’s US market was expanded to include Sprint and the smaller regional carrier C Spire Wireless indicates the combination of the iPhone 4S, a lower priced iPhone 4, and the now free with contract iPhone 3GS (which is only available on AT&T’s network in the US) has resulted in plenty of sales opportunities for every US carrier.

In its last conference call, Apple noted that it now has 130 carriers worldwide in 105 countries, and that the delay of the iPhone 4S release resulted in Q4 sales being only up 21 percent over the year ago quarter.

Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook stated, “I’m confident that we will set an all-time record for iPhones this quarter.” He added, “We’re thrilled with how we’ve gotten started (with the 4S). The feedback that we’re getting from customers is just fantastic.”

AppleInsider

Kindle Fire Holiday Sales Cost Apple ‘At Most’ 1-2M iPad Sales

Kindle Fire Holiday Sales Cost Apple ‘At Most’ 1-2M iPad Sales

Photo by the queen of subtle – http://flic.kr/p/aUoy8X

In the highly-competitive holiday sales period, Amazon’s $ 199 Kindle Fire tablet ‘at most’ cost Apple 1 million to 2 million iPad sales, one Wall Street observer said today. Despite the dent in sales, the tech giant is expected to turn in record iPad sales figures for this quarter.

“Based on data from Amazon, we believe the Amazon Fire likely sold 4-5 million units in the holiday season,” Morgan Keenan analyst Travis McCourt told investors. That means “maybe 1-2 million cannibalized iPad sales at most,” he adds. As we reported, Amazon announced sales figures of 1 million “Kindle devices” per wek in December. By comparison, Apple sold 4.2 million iOS devices (iPads, iPhones and iPod touches) on Christmas Day, alone.

McCourt believes some lost iPad holiday sales were enough that the tablet will comprise slightly less of Apple’s forecast overall revenue. The analyst sees the iPad comprising 21.3 percent of December revenue. While more than the 17.2 percent from a year ago, his estimate is less than the 24.3 percent from September’s blowout quarter.

The analyst also increased his projection for iPhone sales during the holiday quarter to 29 million units, up from 27 million. As a result, the handset will comprise 47.5 percent of Apple’s overall December quarter revenue, up from 39.1 percent a year ago and 38.8 percent in September.

However, the analyst lowered his estimates for Mac sales during the holiday period, predicting 4.8 million unit sales, down from 4.9 million. The forecast is lower than the September quarter, when the tech giant reported selling 4.9 million Macs. Traditionally, Mac December sales have been larger than the previous September.

Although his prediction is lower, McCourt sees Apple’s 4.8 million units sales for the holidays performing higher than a relatively flat PC market.

Cult of Mac