In many countries around the world the iPhone is the most popular smartphone, beating all other pretenders to its crown whether they’re running Android, Windows Phone, or even BlackBerry OS. However, Apple is being roundly beaten by the strength-in-numbers behemoth that the Google operating system has grown to become.
The iPhone may be king, but Android rules the world.
The popularity of Android has been growing for several years, but it’s now reaching a level that threatens to upset the Apple apple cart. A strong Android spells disaster for the iPhone. The more people who opt for Android-powered smartphones over the iPhone, the more Apple should start to worry.
According to a new report from IDC (via Reuters), 75% of all new smartphones shipped in Q3 2012 were running Android. This is a massive rise in market share over the same period in 2011, when Android accounted for 57.5 percent of all smartphones shipped. In total there were 181.1 million smartphones shipped in Q3, and Android was installed on 136 million of them.
Apple is lagging woefully behind, with just 14.9 percent market share in Q3 2012. This is a slight rise on the 13.8 percent market share iOS enjoyed over the same period in 2011. The new iPhone 5, an incremental upgrade if ever I saw one, will likely help boost these figures for next year, but when 75 percent plays 15 percent there’s only ever going to be one winner.
I’m of the firm belief that Android and iOS are both great operating systems. And Windows Phone also deserves to be thrown into the mix for those not keen on the offerings from Google or Apple. There are startling differences between the two, naturally, but they both essentially do the same job, and both do it extremely well.
The problem for Apple is that it has one device (in terms of smartphones) going up against the dozens of Android devices swarming the market. Most mainstream consumers won’t be the least bit interested in iOS vs. Android, and instead choose hardware based on its specs and how they align with their needs. In which case Apple just cannot compete.
Apple will keep banging on about the iPhone being the most popular smartphone on the market, but it’s being roundly beaten by the collective that is Android. This matters because one thing in particular is driving smartphone adoption: apps. With the number of Android users growing so will the quantity and quality of Android apps available on Google Play. And that will harm Apple for the long term.
Image Credit: Cheon Fong Liew