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PEAK APPLE: 'iPhone sales STALL' at first sniff of fresh droid competition

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Apple is experiencing a brutal slowdown in global iPhone sales as rivals wolf down an increasing share of the smartphone market, it's claimed.

While Cupertino's competitors have performed well so far this year, Apple's own sales have spluttered along, according to a report from market research firm IHS iSuppli.

“Apple’s iPhone franchise appears to be stalling as first-quarter shipments of 37.4m fell below expectations,” the report stated. “With the next iPhone model not expected until the second half of the year, there is a real possibility that the full-year 2013 sales volume of the iPhone may be essentially flat at around 150m units, compared with 134m units in 2012.”

Wayne Liam, an IHS analyst, said an "astounding" number of smartphones hit the market this year, including the Google Android-powered HTC One and refreshed Samsung Galaxy S4, and the Blackberry Z10.

"The possible slowing growth of the iPhone and the rapid pace of competitive smartphone releases speak to the ferocious nature of the handset business, especially now as the market continues to pivot from a market dominated by lower-end handsets known as feature phones to one that is increasingly smartphone-centric," he said.

The research firm also said that smartphones are likely to make up 897 million of the 1.5 billion mobile handsets expected to be sold this year, up from 712 million the year before. Handset sales for 2013 are set to hit $265bn, we're told.

By the end of this year, it is estimated there will be seven billion active mobile phone subscriptions, which is about equal to the entire population of the planet.

According to Gartner, Android phones have a 75 percent share of the global market, with Apple's iOS mobes counting for 18 percent. ®

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