Can iPhone 4S steal market share from Android?
By Bryan Clark
October 11, 2011
Android currently accounts for 50-percent of the smartphone market. So does the release of the iPhone 4S mean that Apple could overtake Android in the market share battle?
In a recent Nielsen survey, 31 per cent of consumers who indicated they were in the market for a new smart phone said they plan to purchase an Android phone. While this isn't a huge increase over the 30 per cent who planned to purchase an iPhone, it is a telling statistic when you look at the same study done last year. In 2010, when asked the same question, 33-percent desired an iPhone while only 26% chose to go the Android route.
According to the same survey, Android now owns 50-percent of the smart phone market while Apple has staked claim to 25-percent. Much like the Windows vs. Mac debate, I'm not sure that Apple is going to win out if you look at market share numbers. I also don't think this is a war it's trying to win.
The goal for Apple is to release a high-quality product and charge a premium for it. With a model like that, you don't have to compete in price or market share with your competitors, although taking market share is always nice.
So could the iPhone 4S overtake Android in the market share battle? Almost certainly not. But we are beginning to see record sales numbers for the release of the 4S which, when combined with opening up the market a bit more by adding another carrier (Sprint), could see Apple take a bigger bite out of the pie. When you only release one phone running the operating system each year (or every couple of years), it'll never be a fair comparison. Remember, Android has phones on every major carrier.
The iPhone 4s, or the future release of the iPhone 5 isn't going to be enough to own the market until they use the OS on multiple phones or at least spread it across multiple carriers. Having followed Apple for years, I just don't see that happening. I think Apple is happy taking marketshare without actually owning the market. This allows them to place a premium on the OS and the devices rather than keep up with a hectic release schedule. In a business sense this creates a sense of exclusivity that their competitors just don't have.
The iPhone is never going to own the market, but we suspect that with profits of 6-billion USD per quarter Apple won't be complaining much.