It's certainly not the headline Apple wants to read on the precipice of its 2013 WWDC, but according to the latest data and corresponding projections from research firm Canalys, Android device shipments are poised to leave Apple's iPhone in the dust by 2017.
1.5 billion smartphones are expected to ship worldwide during the 2017 calendar year. And one operating system will power two-thirds of these mobile devices. Canalys projects Android devices will account for one billion of the devices shipped that year.
Over the same period, it is forecast that Apple’s shipments will continue to grow, but at a slower rate than the total smartphone market and hence its market share will fall from 19.5% in 2012 to 14.1% in 2017. Approximately four Android devices will ship for every one iOS-powered device shipped that year.
What can save Apple's iPhone from being lost in Android's shadow? Analysts believe a low-cost entry level model is now Apple's best hope for curbing (not overcoming) Android's increasingly dominant global posturing.