Apple hits growth roadblock

2014-03-31 13:10
iPhone. (Eric Risberg, AP, file)

iPhone. (Eric Risberg, AP, file)

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Cape Town - Apple has hit a roadblock of its own making and it is critical for the iPhone maker to up its game to stay relevant, a research company has said.

The California-based company's iOS lags behind Android and Windows in terms of devices shipped in 2013, and is predicted to slip further behind as Android heads toward the billion marks and Windows ticks up.

"In the operating system (OS) market), iOS tablet growth has slowed in North America and Apple will need to reinvigorate its replacement cycle," said Gartner.

In 2013, Android powered nearly 900 million devices and is predicted to top 1.1 billion in 2014, while Windows is expected to increase its device share to 339 million in 2014, thanks to the Windows Phone OS.

Apple iOS and MacOS are also predicted to increase the number of devices shipped, but at a slower rate than its competitors.

Slippery slope

"The adoption of tablets has been largely concentrated in the US, with the dominance of Apple. Market dynamics in other regions are different, as   the uptake of lower cost, smaller, non-branded tablets, becomes more apparent," said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

While Apple dominates the tablet market with its iPad, its share is slipping due mainly to the rise of lower cost, higher functional competing devices.

Android powered tablets now make up 61.9% - or 120 million units - of market share, up from 45.8% in 2012. Apple's share has contracted from 52.8% to 36% over the same period.

"The expansion and improvement of its Galaxy tablet portfolio, together with strong marketing and promotions, helped Samsung shrink the gap with Apple," Gartner said of the South Korean manufacturer.

Though Apple sold a record 150 million smartphones in 2013, it has seen continued market share erosion, now at 15.6%, from 19.1% in 2012.

Samsung has consolidated its market share at 31%, selling nearly 300 million smartphones in 2013, while Chinese manufacturer Huawei has seen a significant uptick in market at 4.8%, putting it in third place overall.

Speculation is rife that Apple will release a larger screen iPhone in September to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One (M8) or the Sony Xperia Z2.

The company is also rumoured to be working on a new TV as well as wearable technology like a smart watch.

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