Why Apple Needs to Accelerate the iPhone Cycle This Year

Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  )  recently regained its lead in the U.S. smartphone market, and now the search giant's mobile platform has extended its dominance, according to the newest figures out of Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) enjoyed its time on top, but gave up some share during the three months ending in February.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) continues to make progress on its goal to steal the No. 3 spot from BlackBerry (NASDAQ: BBRY  ) , with the software giant growing its slice to 4.1% while BlackBerry's fell to just 0.7%. Of course, BlackBerry's new Z10 didn't launch in the U.S. until March, so some domestic weakness can be expected there. Investors will have to wait for the next batch of figures before determining if BlackBerry's U.S. launch helped it regain any lost ground.

Platform

3 Months Ending February 2012

3 Months Ending February 2013

iOS

47%

43.5%

Android

45.4%

51.2%

RIM/BlackBerry

3.6%

0.7%

Windows

2.7%

4.1%

U.S. smartphone sales. Source: Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. Symbian and others not shown.

Analyst Mary-Ann Parlato says much of Android's strength was thanks to aggressive price cuts of Samsung devices at Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S  ) , which also grew its market share of subscribers among wireless carriers. The No. 3 carrier's share of smartphone sales increased from 12.9% a year ago to 15%. It would seem that the carrier's aggressive marketing of unlimited data plans may be paying off.

The data underscores how important it is for Apple to accelerate its product cycle this year, since these figures predate the upcoming launches of high-end Android flagships like Samsung's Galaxy S4 or HTC's One.

Kantar says Motorola and Nokia only saw "slight increases" in smartphone sales. Nokia is rumored to be launching a high-end model on Verizon Wireless later this month, and Googorola's "X Phone" can't come soon enough for the search giant.

Hopefully the rumored June 20 date for the iPhone 5S unveiling turns out to be correct.

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Read/Post Comments (5) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2013, at 8:17 PM, Oril wrote:

    Hey what happened to that Munarriz idiot today?

    He was sure active yesterday putting all those BS articles out bashing blackberry while the market was closed. Looks like he got his azz handed to him again today in real time. Short blackberry and long apple is not too smart, particularly when Heins has explosive news that he could release at anytime.

    The five percent jump today was just a tease which the shorts should take as fair warning. Their time may have already run out.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2013, at 9:52 PM, Doddger wrote:

    why people are so impatient, apple should take their time and make great products ahead of any other company that's what made company great always, no hurry and just like another handset maker.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2013, at 11:09 PM, DZPM wrote:

    When market correction and inflation start kicking Sprint will be dead, because S's debt to total capital ratio, at 77.45%, and Sprint is not profitable yet and won’t be in the fusible future. Sprint real share value is around $2.00 at $6.25 Sprint is way over paid. Regular investors look for the cover.

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2013, at 1:07 AM, TimKnows wrote:

    Apple is dead, no matter what the next phone is, it has to operate on 2007 software and man is that boring. The stock is heading for another 52 week low and actually making a 17 month low.

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2013, at 9:07 AM, jelp2 wrote:

    The last thing Apple needs to do is rush another old a$$ iPhone to the market. Make something new for your fans Apple so they don't have to feel embarrassed when using it. Anyone who knows really excited about an iPhone 6 is a definite fanboy!!

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