IDC Predicts iPhone 7 Will Face Rough Waters In Cutthroat Chinese Market

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The pieces are starting to come together following Apple’s announcement yesterday that it won’t be releasing opening weekend sales for its new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus flagships. “These initial sales will be governed by supply, not demand, and we have decided that it is no longer a representative metric for our investors and customers,” said Apple in a statement. “Therefore we won’t be releasing a first-weekend number any longer.”

The iPhone has been on a downward trajectory with regards to sales in the past year, with fiscal Q3 2016 shipments falling to 40.4 million units compared to 47.7 million units during the same period last year. Apple faced significant headwinds in the Chinese market during the quarter, and IDC is suggesting that those troubles for Apple will continue following the launch of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

“With the minimal changes and a similar design to the previous two iPhone generations, we do not expect the shipment numbers for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus to be as high as the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus when these models were first launched in China,” said IDC in its briefing on Apple’s new flagships. “We expect those who are already on iPhones to make up the majority who will purchase the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.”

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The research firm also knocks Apple for not including such niceties as wireless charging, and for lacking any breakthrough technologies. According to IDC, the new Black and Jet Black finishes aren’t enough to make users pull out their credit card to hit the “Purchase” button.

IDC also expects that Android diehards won’t be courted over to iPhone land this time around, as many of the phones’ features have already been seen on Android devices. Dual cameras have been used on Android smartphones for the past year, and water/dust resistance has been around for years. And Android lovers looking for a spec war won’t be impressed with the 1080p and 1334x750 displays on the iPhone 7 Plus and iPhone 7 respectively.

On the other hand, IDC expects that there will be a much larger sales uptick in the Chinese market for Apple’s 2017 release, which will mark the tenth anniversary of the iPhone.