Apple's laurels rest on new iPhone

Apple’s next iPhone must bring something new to the smartphone table if the firm is to recover from falling profits in the first quarter, analysts believe.
Analysts at Juniper Research and ABI Research note Apple has a lot riding on its next smartphone, after Samsung cemented its position as the world’s largest seller of the devices in 1Q13.
Jeff Orr, senior practice director at ABI, says Apple “risks falling behind the innovation curve unless the next iPhone is more revolutionary than evolutionary,” noting that the firm is teasing “major product announcements” in the third quarter.
A statement from Juniper reveals similar sentiment among its analysts. “With another product cycle due to be released soon Apple needs to innovate, with the next product release being critical in maintaining their position as innovation leaders.” Juniper adds that Apple must keep an eye on remaining “attractive to emerging markets to retain their title as global brand leaders.”
Juniper estimates Samsung shipped 68 million smartphones during the quarter, compared to Apple’s 37.4 million units. The research firm estimates total smartphone shipments grew 30% year-on-year to 200 million units in 1Q13.
ABI’s figure for the quarter is in line at 197 million units. Senior analyst Michael Morgan notes shipments of all handsets “exhibited classic 1Q softness,” and that “Samsung accomplished strong smartphone growth.”
The two firms concur that Samsung’s South Korean rival LG Electronics shipment of 10.3 million smartphones in 1Q13 is a positive sign. Juniper claims the figure is LG’s highest for quarterly smartphone shipments, and ABI that the shipments maintain the vendor’s “revival.”
While ABI notes Nokia’s shipment of 6.1 million smartphones in 1Q13 is a five year low for the vendor, Juniper points out shipments of Lumia devices accounted for the lion’s share, increasing 27% quarter-on-quarter to 5.6 million.