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 US in the fourth quarter, after ceding the title to Android two years ago.

However, Apple's market share edge was incredibly thin: 0.1 per cent, according to data from research firm Kantar Worldpanel shows. Apple's mobile OS made up 47.7 per cent of U.S. smartphone sales during 2014's fourth quarter, beating Android's 47.6 per cent 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 per cent. 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 per cent in 2014's fourth quarter from 19 per cent in the 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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppleAndroid OStelecommunicationapplicationsiosMobile OSesmobile

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

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

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?