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Apple will post the first annual decline in iPhone shipments despite the launch of iPhone 7 in September, said a study, adding that India has emerged as a hot smartphone market and Apple must look seriously into making further inroads into the country.

Apple will post the first annual decline in iPhone shipments despite the launch of iPhone 7 in September, said a study, adding that India has emerged as a hot smartphone market and Apple must look seriously into making further inroads into the country.

The latest report by market research firm Canalys also noted that despite growing global smartphone sales (up by five per cent), Apple’s struggle in China will continue.

“The launch of the iPhone 6 saw Apple’s shipments in Greater China skyrocket, but the company has struggled to maintain this momentum,” Jessie Ding, Canalys research analyst, was quoted as saying.

“The iPhone 6s had a lacklustre reception in comparison and the iPhone SE is unlikely to make a big difference to Apple’s fortunes in the region this year. Huawei, Oppo and Vivo offer products with better specifications at significantly lower price points,” Ding added.

The analyst advised iPhone makers to include features such as waterproofing and wireless charging, adding that if Apple wants to grow, it needs to catch up in these areas.

In the high-growth Asia Pacific region — barring the Greater China region — the smartphone growth will be 13 per cent in 2016, Canalys indicated.

“The smartphone markets in India and the Philippines are performing well in 2016, with annual growth expected to reach 21 and 26 percent respectively,” noted research analyst Ishan Dutt.

“Smartphone penetration in these markets remains low, meaning there is a big opportunity for vendors,” he added.