Apple's Smartphone Share in China Plunges Ahead of iPhone 5 Launch

Just the mere rumor of a new Apple device is enough to affect the market place, and in some cases, that can be a double-edged sword for the Cupertino company. In China, where the population stands at over 1.3 billion people, Apple's share of the smartphone market dropped nearly in half to 10 percent in the April through June period, according to data collected by International Data Corp. The reason? In part, it's because few people want to purchase an iPhone 4S when the iPhone 5 is presumably right around the corner.

"There are two things in play," said IDC analyst TZ Wong, who spoke with Reuters about Apple's overseas market share decline. "One is seasonal, people know the new phone is coming. And the second is that the alternatives are becoming much more attractive than a year ago. The iPhone didn't change much over the year."

iPhone 4S Chinese

Smartphone shipments from all handset makers during the April-June period totaled 44 million, representing a little over half -- 51 percent -- of China's overall mobile phone shipments. It's the first time smartphone shipments outpaced feature phones in the region, IDC says.

Samsung claimed the lion's share of smartphone shipments in China with a 19 percent stake, followed by Lenovo with an 11 percent share. Apple actually slipped to fourth place, behind ZTE Corp in third.

All signs point to Apple announcing the iPhone 5 during a press event on September 12. It's rumored that Apple will accept pre-orders for its next generation smartphone at that time, with the actual release taking place a week later on September 21, 2012. Unless all the leaked info has been an elaborate sham, the iPhone 5 will sport a larger size touchscreen, smaller connector, and 4G LTE connectivity, among other changes.