Taipei, Sept. 12 (CNA) Apple Inc.'s next generation iPhone, which is being released Wednesday, is expected to boost the sluggish global smartphone market, pushing shipments to over 500 million for the whole of 2012, according to an analyst at NPD DisplaySearch.
Smartphone sales for 2012 are forecast at around 567 million, and could double in 2016, said Hiroshi Hayase, an expert at DisplaySearch.
The smartphone market is expected to be boosted by iPhone 5 in the second half of the year, as consumers are likely to upgrade their current handsets, Hayase said.
But despite the high expectations for iPhone 5, DisplaySearch has lowered its forecast for the number of first-time smartphones buyers from 230 million to 177 million in 2012.
Hayase said phone plans could also determine the smartphone market as more and more cell phone carriers are now offering shorter contracts in order to stimulate sales.
(By Pain Chi-yi and Hanna Liu)