Taipei, Dec. 15 (CNA) The sales peak for the iPhone 5 should be able to last over three months in Taiwan, and the latest Apple phone will ultimately outsell its predecessor iPhone 4S, mainly due to its bigger upgrade and more significant changes from the iPhone 4, local telecom operators said Saturday.
The iPhone 4S launched last year was more of a product in transition, whose sales dropped faster as a result, they said.
In contrast, the iPhone 5 should be able to see its popularity sustained longer due to the major improvements it features and the need by users of previous versions to change to newer models, they said.
Local telecom operators estimated nearly 300,000 iPhone 4Ss have been sold in Taiwan since its local debut on Dec. 16, 2011. Apple is usually tight-lipped about its actual sales figures.
The iPhone 5 features a larger 4-inch retina screen, a faster A6 dual-core processor, long-term evolution (LTE) wireless broadband connectivity, and is the thinnest and lightest iPhone Apple has launched.
In Taiwan, pre-orders for the iPhone 5 are estimated to have surpassed 400,000 units since its debut on Friday, with the largest local telecom operator Chunghwa Telecom Co. receiving over 200,000 pre-orders in the first two days.
The two other major carriers in Taiwan, Far EasTone Telecommunications Co. and Taiwan Mobile Co., recorded over 150,000 units in pre-orders in the first two days and over 30,000 on the first day, respectively.
Analysts, however, said the iPhone 5 is facing a challenge it has never seen, as rivals including Taiwan's HTC Corp. and South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. as well as others are poised to launch their new offerings soon, with some of them being highly competitive.
Among them, sales of the HTC J Butterfly, which features an ultra-sharp display, the latest Qualcomm quad-core processor and the option of high-speed 4G LTE Internet access, are expected to begin later this month, they added.
Other analysts were confident in iPhone 5's potential for sustained popularity, attributing it to brand loyalty that they said had made Apple strong.
(By Esme Jiang and Scully Hsiao)