iPhone leads the pack in 5G smartphone share and profits

iPhone leads the pack in 5G smartphone share and profits

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5G iPhone
Apple continues to beat Samsung in 5G handset sales.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

iPhone is the biggest, most profitable 5G smartphone in the world, according to the latest data from one research firm. As 5G adoption skyrockets, Apple continues to hold a lead over Samsung, Oppo, Vivo, and other vendors.

That’s despite an increase in demand for foldable devices and more affordable 5G handsets from brands like Honor.

Apple the king of 5G smartphones

Apple was unsurprisingly late to the 5G party — in much the same way it was late to adopting 3G and 4G. But that doesn’t matter now. Since the release of iPhone 12 in 2020, Cupertino has been dominating 5G smartphone shipments.

And that has continued throughout 2021. Although it looked like Samsung might catch up at one point, Apple securely held onto its lead while demand for 5G smartphones rocketed during Q3 2021, according to Strategy Analytics.

iPhone accounted for around 25% of all 5G smartphone shipments last quarter, while the combined revenues of 5G handsets from Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi was double that of their 4G devices. But it’s not all bad news for Samsung.

Despite not being able to overtake Apple, the South Korean company did overtake Oppo to become the second-biggest 5G handset vendor. It also continues to dominate shipments and revenues of LTE handsets.

iPhone could face new competition in 2022

Apple could have another competitor to worry about in 2022. Honor, the Chinese brand that was formerly owned by Huawei, saw its 5G smartphone shipments grow faster than any other manufacturer during the third quarter.

It seems that ditching Huawei has proven to be a good move for the company, and it is likely to see continued interest in its handsets going into next year. In contrast, local rival Xiaomi has seen demand for its 5G phones slow in late 2021.