Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is rumored to be working on two iPhone 6 models, one with a 4.8-inch screen and a second with a 5.5-inch screen. If there really is a 5.5-inch model in the works, it could be just in time to take advantage of the rise in phablet-sized smartphones in China.
Apple takes lion’s share of three key mobile carrier sales
According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) did very well during the first three months of the year. The company’s sales bounced back in Australia, Japan and Europe. Although Android is still the top operating system in Europe, holding a 70.7% share, Apple is in second place with 19.2%. Windows Phone is in third, coming in at 8.1% of smartphone sales during the quarter.
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Analysts from the firm say Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone 5S performed very strongly during the quarter, securing 42% of sales on Japan’s largest carrier, NTT DoCoMo, which just started offering the iPhone within the last six months. The company also took 59% of sales on KDDI AU network and an astounding 81% of sales from Softbank.
iPhone 6 to address 40% of Chinese market
The firm also found that Chinese consumers are showing growing enthusiasm toward larger smartphones, specifically, those with screen sizes larger than five inches. In March alone, sales of those bigger handsets made up 40% of sales there. Analysts at Kantar say phablets are changing the way consumers in China use their smartphones. They found that more than 20% of them watch mobile television each day, while half of them do it at least once a month, even though 4G mobile Internet is not yet widely available. They predict that as Chinese carriers roll out 4G infrastructure, demand for data is going to go through the roof.
It may not be all smooth sailing for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the phablet market, however. Reports that the rumored larger 5.5-inch iPhone 6 will be delayed have been circulating. The question now seems to be not whether there will be a larger iPhone 6, but rather, how far behind the rumored 4.7-inch model it will lag in terms of launch date. If Apple wants to keep up the momentum in China, particularly in order to capitalize on phablet growth, it can’t afford to wait too late to get that rumored phablet-sized iPhone 6 out—if it exists at all.