Weekly Review: Production Problems for iPhone 5; Galaxy S III Sales Exceed 30 Million
Recently Samsung has enjoyed plenty of success on the smartphone market; the Korean manufacturer’s smartphone brand has been number one in sales for some time now, and last week total Galaxy S3 sales exceeded 30 million units, 18 million of which were sold in the third quarter alone. While higher than iPhone 4S sales in the same quarter, this may not be indication that the Galaxy S3 model is more popular than the iPhone; the 4S’ third quarter figures were expected to be lower as the arrival of the iPhone 5 was imminent. Furthermore, as Samsung has been known to use shipment figures when boasting of device popularity, some suspect the 30 million figure may represent shipment volume, not actual sales numbers.
As for Samsung’s largest competitor, Apple is struggling to keep up with iPhone 5 demand; even Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has indicated the iPhone 5’s complex product design makes it difficult to manufacture, which causes concerns about future supply. However, Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu is optimistic and expects iPhone 5 sales will reach 46.5 million units this quarter, exceeding that of its predecessor for the same period last year.
As for new iPad sales, Apple has revealed that within the first three days of release 3 million iPad minis and iPad 4s were sold, of which the iPad mini is believed to account for more than half, with estimates ranging from 1.8 to 2.2 million. Research firm IHS estimates 16GB iPad mini component and module cost at US$188, resulting in a 40% profit margin, lower than the 16GB iPad 4’s 59% margin. For Microsoft’s Surface tablet, IHS indicates is approximately US$267, for a 46% profit margin, placing it right in between the iPad mini and iPad.
As the popularity of portable devices continues to increase, prospects for ARM processors are looking good; even Microsoft has chosen ARM for its 7-inch Surface tablet. In addition to news that ARM will be entering the server market, there are rumors that Apple is planning to use ARM instead of Intel processors in its devices. However, as there are still significant differences between the two in terms of efficiency, it is unlikely such a change would happen anytime soon.
Looking at software, it is confirmed that Microsoft will introduce its Office series for iOS and Android in the first quarter of 2013. However, Windows Live Messenger (formerly named MSN Messenger) will be retired sometime next year and integrated into Skype. As for the Google Maps iOS app, it will be ready by the end of the year, but whether or not Apple will approve it for the App Store remains to be seen.