While rumors and speculation about a possible release date for the iPhone 6 abound, with estimates usually ranging somewhere between summer 2014 and later in the year, one source is suggesting that the release date could come even sooner, perhaps May 2014 or even earlier.
Earlier estimates which have placed the release at later in 2014 have generally been based upon how Apple has historically released its phones. From the 3G and onward, there has always been a half-step S model released before the next numbered iPhone, which comes a year later. With the 5S and 5C being launched in September 2013, about one year after the release of the iPhone 5, it appeared logical that the iPhone 6 would follow the usual pattern and be released about a year later in September 2014.
The reason that some are pointing to a sooner-than-expected release date is data suggesting that the iPhone 5S and 5C are not performing as well as hoped against the Android and Windows mobile platforms. It may be, they speculate, that Apple will go for a quicker release date in order to “up its game” in the smartphone market.
Kantar Worldpanel ComTech and comScore have released their smartphone data for November. Kantar’s data showed that Apple’s iPhone had showed strong gains in the smartphone market, but was not doing as well as the iPhone 5 did a year prior. In addition, data from comScore showed iPhones gaining share in the U.S. after a pause in September and October.
According to Dominic Sunnebo, who is strategic insight director at Kantar, “While there’s no doubt that sales of the iPhone 5s and 5c have been strong, resurgent performances from LG, Sony and Nokia have made making year on year share gains increasingly challenging for Apple. Windows Phone, for example, is now the third largest OS across Europe with 10.0 percent – more than double its share compared with last year.”
The iPhone 5, 5C and 5S were released almost exactly a year apart, making it possible to make some comparisons between the two most recent launches. Between September and November of 2012, Apple’s share in the US grew from 34.6 percent to 53.3 percent (1,870 basis points.) For the iPhones 5C and 5S, Apple’s share grew from 39.5 percent to 43.1 percent (720 basis points). This growth was much less than the previous year.
Similar results were seen in the EU5 countries (Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.)
According to comScore, Apple increased its US smartphone share from 40.6 percent in October to 41.2 percent in November. They also report that Apple has gained share in the US every month – except in January 2012 and September 2013 – since November 2011. They further estimate that since October 2011, the company has increased its share in the US by about 50 percent, jumping from 28.1 percent to 41.2 percent. In addition, they were able to reduce Android’s lead from 18.2 percent to 10.7 percent in the month of November.
They also report that Android has gained share over the past 25 months, going from 46.3 percent to 51.9 percent, making Android and iOS combined comprise 93.1 percent of the American smartphone market. BlackBerry, meanwhile, has lost a significant portion of its share, descending from 17.2 percent to 3.5 percent in the latest month reported. Microsoft has stabilized at 3.1 percent.
So, in summary, Apple has been gaining ground, but not as quickly as it did with its iPhone 5.
Despite the data presented by these two organizations, any attempt at guessing what the release date for the iPhone 6 will be is just that–a guess. It could be coming sooner than expected or Apple could remain true to its usual pattern and release it in September. Only they know for sure when the new iPhone 6 will be hitting the market.
By Nancy Schimelpfening
International Business Times