Apple's iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus might have been labeled "boring" by some gadget blogs ahead of their release, but these boring new phones are already the hottest-selling smartphones of the season. Try as they might, Apple and its manufacturing partners still haven't found a way to build the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus quickly enough to meet demand, especially where popular colors and sizes are concerned. In fact, it's still beyond difficult to find an iPhone 7 Plus in an Apple store in any color.
Unfortunately, worldwide shortages might have more to do with supply than they do with demand, if a new projection from one of the world's leading technology research firms ends up being accurate.
When it comes to sales predictions five or ten years down the road, Gartner is typically just as bad as any other market research firm that covers tech. In the near term, however, the company has issued some estimates in the recent past that have at least been close to representing reality. This might not be very good news for Apple investors, unfortunately, because the firm just shared a somewhat grim projection for Apple's holiday quarter, and for the smartphone market as a whole this year.
In a report issued on Thursday by Gartner, the firm said it believes growth in the global smartphone market will slow to just 4.5% in 2016. The cooling is due largely to the firm's belief that premium smartphone sales will decline 1.1% for the full year.
Where Apple is concerned, Gartner believes total global iPhone sales will continue to decline in the third and fourth calendar quarters of 2016. "Despite the availability of the iPhone 7, Gartner expects a weaker year-over-year volume performance from Apple in 2016, as volumes stabilize after a very strong 2015," the firm said in its report.
On the bright side, Gartner sees high-end smartphone sales returning to growth next year, thanks in no small part to the hotly anticipated release of Apple's redesigned tenth-anniversary iPhone. "We expect the market for premium smartphones to return to 3.5 per cent growth in 2017, as stronger replacement cycles kick in and in anticipation of a new iPhone next year, which is expected to offer a new design and new features that are attractive enough to convince more replacement buyers," Gartner analyst Roberta Cozza said.
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