The Great War: ‘Droid V iPhone 5 (But Who Wins?)

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As the iPhone 5 is about to be unveiled, will Apple regain the lead in “The Great War?”

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It’s a two horse race between Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS, holding 85% of the market between them, dubbed “The Great War.”

More specifically, it’s a battle between Apple V Samsung, with the S III being the most popular Android handset and helping Samsung become the world’s biggest phone maker.

In Q2, 104.8 million Android smarties were sold (or 68.% of all  phones) with around 50m of these being Samsung handsets, while No. 2 Apple flogged 26m iPhones, with its marketshare falling -2% to 17%, new IDC figures show.

But despite the hype around a new Apple smartphone, analysts IHS say Androids, including Samsung, HTC and Motorola, will hit 1 billion shipments next year, beating Apple hands down.

In fact, Android will double Apple’s total shipments by next year.

But can one single device–due to be unveiled tomorrow–change all this?

A redesigned iPhone 5 with 4G LTE, 4 inch screen and NFC technology (basically far more like Android rivals Samsung Galaxy S III, HTC One X) looks to be revealed in the US later today, which is tomorrow morning here in OZ, and go on sale the following week.

So how big will the iPhone 5 really be?

Apple sold 4 million iPhone 4S’ in three days last October, so the betting is on it will top this stellar figure (Samsung sold 20m devices in 100 days) and many analysts are predicting the long awaited i5 launch will be explosive.

“The biggest handset in history,” Peter Misek from Jefferies & Co in a recent Misek wrote in an investor note. But all of this is provided i5 has the wow factor it so desperately needs.

Misek predicts 170m consumers will upgrade to an iPhone 5 globally, with 30m of these iPhone owners looking to upgrade to the new iPhone.

 

Analysts in the US forecast an iPhone explosion and reckon 6-10 million devices will be sold in just 3 days, fellow Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster told AllThingsD this week.

“Given the hardware redesign it will likely crush previous iPhone launch sales.” Apple sold 37m sold in the quarter following the release of iPhone 4S in October.

If Piper’s bullish predictions are correct, the iPhone 5 will definitely surpass Samsung’s S III success.

However, other analysts are being more cautious as they say Apple may sell 5.5 million in the first three days.

Mobile analysts at IDC expect the real  i5 demand “spike” to occur in Q4 and early 2013, meaning a major iPhone rush will be on at Christamas and New Year, so we may not know its true impact on the smartphone world for some time. 

“We have no specific numbers yet but expect Q3 to be relatively unaffected by iPhone 5 launch, it will really have an impact in Q4 and Q1 2012,” IDC’s Aman Bajaj told Smarthouse.

However, Bajaj concedes it is a “highly anticipated device and expect it to do well.”

Some analysts are even predicting the new iPhone will provide a massive boost to the ailing US economy, since the new iPhone could cost around $600 a pop, and could boost the GDP by $3.2 billion in the fourth quarter, according to J.P. Morgan.

But despite all the i5 hype, analysts IHS still say Android is well ahead in the smartphone race.

“The Androids are taking over the world of smartphones,” said Daniel Gleeson, mobile analyst for IHS.

 

“Major brands that are selling Android-based smartphones include No.1-ranked Samsung, second-ranked HTC and other competitive brands such as Sony, ZTE, Huawei, Motorola and LG.”

Worldwide shipments of Android will rise almost 100m in 2013 to 451 million (from 357m this year), according to new IHS figures just released.

In contrast,  No. 2, Apple iOS, will ship 527 m devices cumulatively by next year and unlike rivals Android, won’t reach the 1 billion milestone until 2015.

It also appears iPhone 5 or not, Android will treble its growth to 3 billion shipments in 2016.

However, Google’s and Apple’s respective approaches to the smartphone operating system business are vastly different, IHS report notes.

While Google with its open source Android platform has taken the advertising-revenue-supported model, Apple makes its money by controlling both the hardware and software portions of the design.

And boy do they make money at it.

Apple are now the most valuable company in the world by market cap. and also one of the most profitable tech companies ever, meaning if it was a profits race Apple are the winners, but in terms of sheer sales numbers Android comes out on top.

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