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iPhone 5 key to push smartphone numbers beyond one billion says analyst firm

NPD Displaysearch has released a report hours before the launch of the iPhone 5.

The analyst firm identifies the device as a key product for the smartphone market in the second half of 2012 as the whole industry sees lower than expected shipment of new smartphones.

The firm has downgraded its 2012 forecast of new purchases from 230 million to 177 million, a drop of around nearly a quarter, although Apple is likely to steam ahead (the company sold more than 140 million smartphones in 2010 and 2011) and maintain the pressure on other vendors with its annual refresh cycle.

According to NPD Displaysearch, the smartphone shipments will rise to 567 million in 2012 and that number will surpass one billion as early as 2016 as the feature phone category dies out and refresh cycles shorten because the average price of smartphones will be significantly lower by then.

(opens in new tab) (opens in new tab)ITProPortal will be reporting live on Apple’s announcement later tonight so make sure you stick with us and bookmark our live blog as we find out more about the new products and services launched by the tech giant.

Other than the iPhone 5, we expect to see a cheaper version of the iPhone 4S (opens in new tab), an iPad mini (opens in new tab) and potentially a 13in Macbook Pro with Retina Display (opens in new tab).

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.