A remarkable thing has happened in the US smartphone market: for the first time since smartphones emerged, quarterly unit sales have actually dropped.
And the reason? Simply this – everyone was waiting for the new iPhone to launch.
It's quite some claim that never mind the arrival of a new handset taking sales away from rival devices, but the non-arrival having that effect too.
Yet analysts such as Morgan Keegan's Tim McCourt are claiming that the whole market slowed down over Q3 as smartphone buyers, who had been expecting a summer launch for the new iPhone, basically stopped buying phones until the new Apple handset did eventually touch down after the end of the quarter.
He said that painted an “ominous” picture for Android given just how many new Android handsets launched over the quarter.
The same reason is also given for Apple's slightly softer-than-expected earnings figures announced last week – a theory that seems to hold true when you consider the iPhone 4S has sold in record numbers now that it is finally available.
It does serve as a timely reminder that while Android now holds the upper hand in the smartphone OS stakes, when it comes to individual handsets nothing comes close to the market-altering power the iPhone commands.