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Apple sees a dip, but 4G smartphone shipments in 2016 are on the rise

Android will see a 5.2 percent bump in market share, but 2016 won’t be kind to Apple. According to the International Data Corporation’s latest forecasts for smartphone shipments, 2016 may be the “first full year of declining shipments for Apple’s iPhone.”

Android and  iOS will make up a little more than 99 percent of the global smartphone market by the end of the year. Coming up third is the Windows Phone platform with a meager 0.4 percent, followed by less-popular operating systems.

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Global smartphone shipments are on track to hit 1.45 billion units this year, but that is only a 0.6 percent growth from 2015. Last year, smartphone shipments grew 10.4 percent from 2014. Still, 4G smartphones shipments seem to be doing well — IDC is expecting about 1.17 billion units, a growth of about 21.3 percent from last year’s 967 million. The growth comes from emerging markets like Latin America, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

“In North America and Western Europe, Google has been putting a significant amount of marketing dollars behind the new Pixel and Pixel XL, although early supply chain indications are that volumes are not at the point where Samsung or Apple should see a significant impact for Q4,” says Ryan Reith, program vice president for IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Device Trackers. “Of course, as we head into 2017 this can change, but many eyes will be on Google to see how serious they are about pursuing the hardware play.”

IDC compares Google’s entrance into the hardware space with Microsoft’s debut of the Surface laptop and tablet hybrids — they predict it won’t disrupt relations with other Android manufacturers, but it’s too early to tell.

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While the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus “have done well” for Apple, the Cupertino, California, company is also facing three-quarters of year-over-year declines — IDC predicts a fourth-quarter decline as well.

“Challenges of low-cost competition remain, and Google getting into the premium space certainly doesn’t make things any easier,” according to the IDC. “Look for Apple to mix things up with whatever version(s) they bring to market in the coming year to hopefully rebound shipment growth.”

While Surface Phone rumors continue to rise, it will be hard for Microsoft to make a dent in mobile market share with the lack of a fleshed-out ecosystem and nearly non-existent manufacturer support.