IDC sees Apple units falling 12% in 2019, but strong refurb market will maintain iOS share

Apple's iPhone shipments may be in for another rough year, but there are positive developments for official refurbished devices as well as wearables that'll keep services revenue humming.

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Apple's iPhone shipments are expected to drop 12.1% in 2019 partly due to a lack of 5G devices, but an official refurbished iPhone channel will keep the iOS installed base in tact, according to IDC.

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IDC's Apple comments come as it noted that global smartphone shipments will fall 1.9% from 2018 for the third consecutive year of contractions. IDC is estimating that shipments will be down 5.5% in the first half of 2019 compared to a year ago, with growth coming back in the second half due to lower-prices on premium devices.

China will be a wild card, but IDC noted that the transition to 5G should boost demand. Apple, however, isn't likely to have a 5G iPhone in 2019, but IDC noted that telecoms don't have their 5G strategies set anyway so shipments aren't likely to decline further.

On the Android front, 5G will boost the mobile platform's market share to 86.7% in 2019, up from 85.1%. There are a bevy of new Android devices with premium specs and reasonable pricing. 


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Here's the breakdown.

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Separately, IDC released its first quarter wearable shipments and noted that 49.6 million units shipped, up 55.2% from the previous year. Wrist devices had 63.2% share, but ear-worn wearables accounted for the rest and had the most growth.

For Apple, the wearable demand plays out well for the Apple Watch as well as AirPods and the company's services ecosystem

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