Samsung have risen to the top of the smartphone profit pile, with the South Korean mobile manufacturer overtaking Apple’s mobile profits for the first time.
Samsung’s mobile range (including “dumb” phones and smartphones) pocketed the company an estimated $5.2bn, while Apple’s (admittedly smaller) iPhone range pulled in just $3.2bn for the Cupertino company, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. That’s a considerable drop from the $4.6bn made a year earlier.
As smartphones move from being devices only aimed at the wealthy to accessible devices for all, Apple’s premium iPhone line has taken a hit. Penny-pinching smartphone buyers are still opting for the two-generation-old iPhone 4 model in considerable numbers, offered as Apple’s “budget” device in lieu of an entry-level model, while the wealth of cheap Android handsets has eaten into Apple’s aspirational market even further. Samsung, offering both high end smartphones like the Galaxy S4 alongside many cheaper alternatives, have solid sales numbers right across the pricing spectrum.
For Apple then, it seems that the rumoured budget iPhone device has become an even greater necessity, giving those without the cash to nab their top-end hardware at least an entry point where they can continue to swell Apple’s App Store coffers. Keep in mind that the latest figures aren’t taking into account the lucrative cut Apple take from each App Store purchase.
Whether such a move would damage Apple’s luxury brand image would remain to be seen.