The global smartphone market suffered its fifth consecutive quarterly decline, falling by 12% YoY in Q1 2023, according to a Canalys survey. That said, iPhone sales have grown year over year from 18% to 21% due to the solid demand for the iPhone 14 Pro series after supply constraints made the company sell fewer models during the last holiday quarter.
Another interesting piece of information regards Samsung, which was the only leading vendor to achieve a quarter-on-quarter recovery and struggled back to number one with a 22% market share. That said, the South Korean company still sold fewer phones than last year when it had 24% of the market share.
“The smartphone market’s decline in the first quarter of 2023 was within expectations throughout the industry,” said Canalys Analyst Sanyam Chaurasia. “The local macroeconomic conditions continued to hinder vendors’ investments and operations in several markets. Despite price cuts and heavy promotions from vendors, consumer demand remained sluggish, particularly in the low-end segment due to high inflation affecting consumer confidence and spending.”
While Canalys predicts the inventory of the smartphone industry can reach a relatively healthy level by the end of the second quarter of 2023, it’s still too early to predict the recovery of overall consumer demand.
Image source: Canalys Of all the top vendors, only Apple and OPPO had a YoY increase with their flagship phones during the first trimester. Samsung and Xiaomi had a decrease in market share, and Vivo retained its 8% from last year.
“The sell-in volume of the global smartphone market is expected to improve due to the reduction in inventories in the next few quarters. In addition, vendors have focused more on innovations and raising production and channel efficiencies after a round of fluctuations, shifting from growing for volumes and shares to growing for quality. 5G popularization and foldable phones are also becoming the new driving forces in the industry,” said Chaurasia.
For Apple, the company could be preparing for new highs with the iPhone 15 series. Without the fear of supply constraints for another quarter, the company is still selling iPhone 14 models while preparing a solid lineup of four new iPhone versions.
With a new design, better cameras, and processors, the Cupertino firm could see a new high during the holiday quarter later this year, which could also positively impact the first quarter of next year.
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It’s been four months since Apple released the iPhone 14 Pro with the A16 Bionic chip. While the company already touted that this was the fastest smartphone available, a Geekbench score shows even the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 on Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra is still behind Apple’s premium smartphone.
According to Compare Dial, the previous iPhone 13 generation also beats every Galaxy S22, or S23 released. For comparison, Galaxy S23 Ultra is 21.02% slower than the iPhone 14. It scores 1480 for single-core performance, while the iPhone 14 Pro clocks at a higher 1874.
In multi-core performance, Samsung’s new flagship is 14.86% slower than Apple’s iPhone, averaging at 4584 against 5384.
For Samsung users, on the other hand, the spec bump from Galaxy S22 Ultra to S23 Ultra is expressive, as the new model has boosted speeds by 59.83% in single-core performance and 57.47% for multi-core performance. That said, Apple will likely continue to differentiate from the competition when it introduces the iPhone 15 Pro later last year.
Image source: Compare Dial According to rumors, the next iPhone will use a 3nm process technology, meaning we’ll see a more expressive spec bump as the company still uses a similar 5nm process available with the iPhone 13’s A15 Bionic chip released in 2021.
The A17 Bionic processor is expected to be faster and 35% more power-efficient than its predecessor. With that, Apple will continue as the best chip maker in the smartphone industry.
Apart from the fastest chip, the iPhone 14 Pro models have a new design with the Dynamic Island cutout, integrating software and hardware in a seamless experience. This phone also introduces a 48MP main camera and larger sensors for better photos and videos in low-light conditions.
The iPhone 14 Pro also adds a new Cinematic Mode in 4K and Action Mode, which stabilizes a recording when you’re running or biking while filming.
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Samsung is the king of the foldable market right now because it was one of the first companies to launch phones that fold. Another reason for that dominance is the absence of real competitors. Several Chinese foldable handsets could compete against the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Flip 4, but they’re unavailable internationally. The main reason Samsung can brag about being the market leader in this segment is the absence of a foldable iPhone.
A few weeks ago, Samsung launched a new ad campaign to mock Apple for not having a foldable iPhone. After all these years, Samsung has not given up on making fun of the iPhone. That’s even though Apple sells millions of expensive iPhones every year, a feat Samsung can’t match with its foldable and non-foldable Galaxy flagships.
The new Samsung ad is part of the On the Fence campaign that Samsung started in early November. Like the previous spot, we have the same iPhone user, sitting on the fence between Apple and Samsung, unsure of what to do next.
The man starts a conversation with a woman who tells him she used to be him. “Sitting on the fence between Apple and Samsung.” The man is interested in a Samsung device but worries about what his friends will think if he gets it. But the woman explains that everyone around him will be jealous.
“When you pull out your new Galaxy Z Flip 4, people are going to lose it,” she says. “They’ll never leave you alone.”
The idea here is clear, Samsung has a type of handset that Apple doesn’t make. There’s no foldable iPhone to compete against the Galaxy Z Flip 4. But it’s not like people are hurrying to buy foldable Galaxy phones.
The Flip 4 is reasonably priced, matching the cost of traditional flagship phones. Yet it can’t match the popularity of non-foldable iPhones, like the iPhone 14 Pro models.
That must hurt Samsung terribly in real life. In the ad, however, Samsung wins the customer over. He’s no longer on the fence, jumping over to Samsung to embrace the foldable handset. As soon as he does, iPhone users from the other side start pestering him with questions.
There’s no telling when Apple will make a foldable iPhone if it’s even considering it. Instead, the company might launch foldable tablets or MacBooks before a foldable iPhone. As for Samsung, the lack of real competition is hurting its foldables rather than helping it gain more customers.
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Rumors about Apple launching a foldable device aren’t new. This time, Samsung is preparing for the Cupertino company to join a market that the South Korean firm currently has the lead. While everyone expects a foldable iPhone, Samsung doesn’t think this will be the first Apple device to bend.
According to a report by The Elec, Samsung thinks the foldable market will grow 80% by 2025, and one of the reasons will be Apple joining the competition in 2024. Samsung’s mobile business, Mobile Experience, said that the Cupertino company would enter the foldable market, not with smartphones, but with notebooks and tablets first.
Samsung Galaxy Fold 4 next to Galaxy Flip 4. Image source: Samsung Last month, CCS Insight published its annual prediction report and said Apple would likely launch a foldable iPad in 2024.
One of the reasons why Apple won’t likely launch a foldable iPhone at first is not to cannibalize the existing iPhones as, according to the analyst, the foldable option would have to be “incredibly expensive.”
Early this year, display analyst Ross Young said Apple was mulling a 20-inch foldable MacBook display, which could also be an iPad. Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman also corroborated Apple entering this new market.
Both analysts Ming-Chi Kuo and Ross Young expect a foldable iPhone to be introduced in 2025 at the earliest. In a couple of years from now, a foldable iPad/MacBook makes more sense.
BGR will keep reporting on Apple’s new market approaches as the company is rumored to announce soon a Mixed Reality headset, an Augmented Reality headset, and a car in this decade.
More Apple coverage: What’s really causing the M2 MacBook Pro launch delay?
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By Samsung Newsroom
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