In its third fiscal quarter results announced yesterday, Apple acknowledged that even as its earnings jumped 20 per cent over the same period of 2011, iPhone sales declined by 26 per cent over the previous quarter on rumours that the new iPhone 5 is getting ready to be shipped out later this quarter.
Analysts believe consumers are beginning to hold off purchases of the current iteration of the iPhone ahead of the widely rumoured iPhone 5, expected to launch later this year.
The number of iPhone units sold totalled 26 million in the most recent quarter, well short of analyst expectations of 28 million units, and
26 per cent lower than the 35.1 million units it sold in the January-March quarter this year.
But despite this decline, iPhone continues to be the market leader in smartphones, with its nearest competitor, Samsung’s Galaxy S3, managing to reach a sales figure of 10 million in two months.
Extrapolating that for another month, the Samsung may be able to sell
15 million of its ‘hot-selling’ S3 in three months – still 11 million short of the iPhone’s ‘plunging’ sales number.
Nevertheless, Apple CEO Tim Cook did acknowledge that rumours about the new iPhone may have been eating into sales of late. “I think there’s been a lot of speculation out there,” Cook said in a conference call, describing the chatter as “incredible anticipation out there for future products.”
In fact, CFO Peter Oppenheimer said so in plain words. He said iPhone sales “continue to be impacted by rumours and speculation regarding new products,” which was also a factor weighing on the company’s forecast for the September period.
Of course, as has been Apple’s wont, neither Cook nor Oppenheimer shed any light on the ‘future products’ or their release timelines, leaving the floor open for speculation.