Apple’s iPhone 12 and upcoming 13 series devices are set to spike quarter fourth 2021 global 5G shipments to nearly 200 million units, helping grow 2021 total shipments to 605m, according to a new report from Counterpoint Research.
Last year, the iPhone 12 accounted for 24% of all 5G smartphone shipments globally, despite a late launch in October. This year, with an earlier launch for the iPhone 13 and continued strong appetite for iOS, Counterpoint sees Apple taking 33% of all global 5G shipments.
The U.S. will again be the biggest shipment driver globally. Jeff Fieldhack, Counterpoint research director for North America, believes even without any “must-have”specs, there will be “tremendous appetite” for upgrading because the iOS base is old in the U.S. Holding periods are nearing four years, and the iOS faithful are ready for new devices, he says.
Changes to the North American carrier landscape will also provide a boost to 5G, and especially Apple, Fieldhack feels.
“T-Mobile has a 5G lead with its mid-band (2.5GHz) rollout and it will be aggressive in order to gain as many iOS subscribers as possible before Verizon and AT&T’s mid-band (3.5GHz) rollouts,” he adds. “The latter remains very aggressive upgrading both the base and switchers with aggressive promotions, and Verizon will need to keep pace to avoid missing out on premium 5G subscribers. The promotions in quarter four will be at very high levels – helping Apple.”
Fieldhack thinks it’s possible Apple could hit a significant milestone in terms of U.S. installed base, where Android “has been bleeding share to iOS, which now sits at around 44%. A strong holiday season, some economic recovery, further COVID easing and”
“Continued privacy and services push from Cupertino could certainly be enough to nudge the balance in Apple’s favor,” Fieldhack says.