Will Apple sell the iPhone 6 on release date at a lower price point from the previous models as saturation continues to hound the global market with a number of Chinese players eating away significant shares?
This is a possibility that seems to emerge as the latest report from international market research firm IDC indicated that the iPhone maker, despite enjoying a sizeable grip on much of the smartphone market pie, is shedding some of its turf.
As of June 2014, the total iPhone market share around the world stands at 11.9 per cent. From the same period last year, the tech giant pocketed 13 per cent, according to the IDC data reported by Apple Insider.
The same goes for current market leader Samsung, which posted a negative growth of 3.9 per cent in the past 12 months ending in June this year. The Galaxy maker ceded nearly 8 points from its hold in 2013 to finish Q2 2014 with 25.2 per cent, coming from 32.3 per cent in Q2 2013.
What could be causing the steady retreat for the two titans? For one, analysts blame the maturity that the market is witnessing that leads to the inevitable saturation.
Also, feature phones are dying away at accelerated pace and they are being replaced by budget-friendly smartphones, which is not in the Apple menu, IDC said on its report. Samsung has affordable Galaxy models but they are not as cheap as the ones that Chinese vendors ship out in heaps.
As a result brands like Lenovo and Huawei are climbing up. Per the IDC data the two firms registered double-digits growth by the end of June 2014 and the prospect is ever rosier for them. Apparently, Lenovo and Huawei capitalized on the winning formula of flooding the market with mobile phones at price range between $100 and $200 with mid-range specs.
Even the two companies' high-end units are priced more competitively against the iPhones and Galaxy models.
To possibly combat the rise of the competition, Apple could lower a bit the starting price of the next iPhone, which normally sells at around $700 unlocked.
And this could be made possible if the report from G4Games is to be believed - that sapphire after all will skip the 2014 iPhones. Sapphire supplies should have been delivered to Apple's manufacturing partners in Asia by the end of June but this has yet to happen, added the same report.
The delay could force Apple to still use Corning Gorilla Glass for the two iPhones. According to earlier reports, Corning's glass cover is cheaper than sapphire, which suggests that the overall iPhone production cost for 2014 is lower than in previous years.
Now this could lead to a relatively cheaper iPhone 6 on release date though Apple will be the judge of this and the verdict will be known likely between September 19 and 26 2014.