SAN FRANCISCO—Apple Inc.'s iPhone 5—widely anticipated to launch Wednesday (Sept. 12)—is expected to spur the global smartphone market back to growth in the second half of the year after contraction in the second quarter, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli.
IHS (El Segundo, Calif.) predicts that total smartphone sales worldwide will grow to 346.5 million units in the second half of 2012, up from 272.3 million in the first half of the year.
Thanks largely to a 26 percent decline in iPhone sales in the second quarter compared to the first, total worldwide smartphone sales dipped by about 1 percent in the second quarter to 135 million units, according to IHS. Apple reported selling 26 million iPhones in the second quarter, down from 35 million in the first quarter.
Analysts have blamed the pending launch of iPhone 5 for Apple's tepid second quarter iPhone sales. Anticipation of a new model causes many buyers to delay purchasing a new smartphone until the latest device is available.
Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS, said Apple's smartphone sales are typically weak in the quarter before a new iPhone launch. "Buyers historically have delayed their purchases until the newest model is available," Lam said. "Then they rush out to get the latest and greatest version once it’s being sold, leading to a spike in demand."
Apple is widely expected to unveil the iPhone 5 at a press event here Wednesday. Rumors about the new model's features, capabilities and components abound. Among other things, the iPhone 5 is expected to have a custom quad-core processor, LTE capability, an upgraded image sensor and a new, smaller connector.