Apple's iOS edges Android in Q4, takes top smartphone OS spot in the US

Apple also chipped away at Android's international market share

Strong iPhone 6 sales helped Apple iOS's reclaim the top smartphone OS spot in the U.S. in the fourth quarter, after ceding the title to Android two years ago.

However, Apple's market share edge was incredibly thin: 0.1 percent, according to data from research firm Kantar Worldpanel shows. Apple's mobile OS made up 47.7 percent of U.S. smartphone sales during 2014's fourth quarter, beating Android's 47.6 percent market share. It's the first time since 2012's fourth quarter that Android drops to second place in the U.S.

Still, the victory is important for Apple. Android appears on more smartphones than iOS but Apple was still able to beat the Google OS with the relatively few iPhone models it sells.

The iPhone 6, which launched in September, deserves most of the credit for Apple's fourth-quarter success. It was the best-selling smartphone in the U.S. during the fourth quarter, which included the holiday shopping season, Kantar said.

But having a range of iPhone models at different prices also helped Apple, said Carolina Milanesi, Kantar's chief of research, in an email interview. The larger iPhone 6 Plus appeals to people who want a bigger screen and the older, lower-priced iPhone models let Apple compete against mid-tier and high-end Android phones.

"Consumers that have been waiting for larger screens have their answer and consumers who might have wanted to get an iPhone in the past but could not afford it can opt for products that are one year old," she said.

Smartphones still need a hip element to attract buyers and recently launched devices running Android lack that factor, Milanesi said. Sales of the Samsung Galaxy 5, the company's iPhone competitor, have been tepid and HTC, which runs Android on its flagship One M8 phone, has suffered from a weakened brand.

"There is no question that in the Android lineup we have been missing a strong attention-grabbing device," she said.

Samsung is reportedly preparing to unveil the Galaxy 6 at Mobile World Congress next month, a move that may spark consumer interest.

The iPhone, however, managed to grab a lot of people's attention during the final three months of 2014. Apple sold a record 74.5 million iPhones during its fourth quarter, the company said last week. That figure includes iPhone 6 and iPhone 5 sales.

Apple chipped away at Android internationally, according to Kantar. In Europe, Android share dropped by 3.8 percentage points in 2014 to 66.1 percent while Apple's rose by 6.2 percentage points to 24.1 percent. Italy was the only European country where Android's market share grew last year. Apple also advanced in China, increasing its market share to 21.5 percent in 2014's fourth quarter from 19 percent in year-ago quarter.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'connor@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileAppleiosapplicationstelecommunicationMobile OSesAndroid OS

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Fred O'Connor

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?