Apple Forecast to Ship 86.4 Million iPhones in 2011

Apple will ship some 86.4 million iPhones in calendar 2011, according to original research from Taiwan-based newspaper DigiTimes. The newspaper released a report that projects the smartphone market to grow to 462 million units in 2011, up 60% from the 288 million units in 2010, and for Apple to overtake Nokia as the #1 smartphone vendor in the world.

Apple has already topped Nokia, which used to dominate global smartphone sales, on a quarterly basis, but 2011 will be the first year for Apple to claim the top spot on an annual basis. In this regard, the DigiTimes report matches other forecasts from various analysts and more traditional research firms. All told, the report pegs Apple’s year-over-year growth at 81.9%.

Nokia, on the other hand, will slip from 100 million units in 2010 to 74.4 million units in 2011, with the front half of the year being more heavily weighted than the second half. Nokia is in the midst of a multiyear transition away from its own Symbian OS to selling devices powered by Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7, and though Symbian has been declared dead, the company has yet to ship a Windows Phone 7 device.

The biggest year-over-year gainer in the report is #3 Samsung, which is being forecast to ship 67 million smartphones, 191.3% more than in 2010. [Note that DigiTimes’ report misquotes its own chart by calling Samsung’s 23 million to 67 million unit growth as 44% growth.]

Also showing spectacular growth in percentage terms is China-based Huawei (up 484.4% to 18.7 million units), Korea’s LG Electronics (up 250% to 24.5 million units ), and China’s ZTE (up 330.3% to 14.2 million units). DigiTimes referred to Huawei and ZTE as “rising stars” in the smartphone industry.

“Both China brands are benefiting from explosive growth in demand for Android devices, close ties with China’s local mobile operators as well as competitive prices of their products,” the report said.

DigiTimes Chart

DigiTimes Research Chart
(Click the image for a larger version)

We’ll also add that this report is another example of how both Apple and Google are winning in the smartphone market. Apple is the number one smartphone hardware maker, while Google’s Android is winning the overall market share battle by spreading out sales among many and more individual OEMs.