Friday, October 29, 2021

50M iPhones Bring Apple Back to Second

Apple Inc. reclaimed the second spot among global smartphone makers with 50.4 million iPhones shipped in the third quarter, according to Bloomberg citing IDC market data.

The Cupertino, California-based company improved by more than 20% over the previous year, helped by the earlier release of its latest model, though it was also limited by severe component supply disruptions. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook estimated the cost of limited supplies in the current quarter at more than $6 billion when Apple reported earnings Thursday, with consumers ordering iPhones today having to wait until late November or even December for delivery.

Samsung Electronics Co. remained top of the rankings, albeit with a 14% drop in shipments to 69 million, as it was affected by similar constraints and also opted not to release a mass-market Galaxy Note device in the period. The company called out applications processors for mid-range handsets as a supply issue when it reported earnings earlier on Thursday.

The South Korean giant, which fabricates its own semiconductors as well as those for the likes of Nvidia Corp., said it expects the chip crunch to persist through 2022 and declined to offer forecasts for its future earnings and investments. The company did say it expects smartphone shipments to decline in the final three months of this year, making it highly likely that Apple will end the year as the top smartphone maker globally.

One key strategic shift by Samsung in the period was the promotion of its foldables lineup as its late-summer mobile release, supplanting the Galaxy Note that had been a perennial multimillion-seller. The market response has been strong and Samsung has ramped up investment in its flexible-display production lines, but the absent Note may have affected the number of devices it sold. Still, the pricier Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip, costing as much as $1,800, should push up the company’s average selling price closer to Apple’s. The blended ASP between Samsung handsets and tablets was $250 in the most recent quarter, the company said.

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