Install Base* Share (%) Line chart showing iPhone

Apple overtakes Android with over 50% share of smartphones used in the US

Apple has overtaken Android devices for more than half of smartphones used in the U.S., giving the iPhone maker an edge over its rivals as it moves into areas such as finance and health care.

The 50 percent milestone — the iPhone’s highest share since its launch in 2007 — was surpassed for the first time in the quarter ended June, according to Counterpoint Research. About 150 devices using Google’s Android operating system, led by Samsung and Lenovo, accounted for the rest.

“Operating systems are like religions — there’s never been a major change. But over the past four years, the flow has been from Android to iOS,” said Jeff Fieldhack, research director at Counterpoint. “This is an important milestone and we could see it replicated in other rich countries around the world.”

The numbers are based on smartphones in use, and are described as an “active installed base,” which Apple treasurer Luca Maestri called “the engine of our company” during an earnings call in July.

It’s a broader and more meaningful category than new phone shipments, which fluctuate from quarter to quarter and have demonstrated Apple’s newfound strength.

The active installed base takes into account the millions of people who entered the Apple ecosystem through the used phone market, as well as those who used iPhones purchased many years ago.

“It’s not that we see a big year where Apple grows its market share by 10% or 15%, it’s this slow burn, where they’re quietly grabbing more share every year,” said Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight. “

Android smartphones first hit the market in 2008, a year after the iPhone, and in 2010 surpassed the iOS installed base, according to the NPD Group. In the first three years, Apple’s market share never approached 50%, as Nokia, Motorola, Windows and BlackBerry dominated sales.

As Apple CEO Tim Cook prepares to unveil the iPhone 14 on Wednesday, the milestone shows the company has never been in a more competitive position, despite persistent criticism that it has lost its innovation edge.

The group’s fall keynotes in recent years have been more about the development of existing gadgets than company founder Steve Jobs’ famous “one more thing” product launch.

Apple is expected to unveil the new iPhones at its first in-person event since the Covid-19 outbreak in Cupertino, California. Analysts expect better cameras and a smaller “notch” on the sensor-laden display, as well as a more rugged version of the Apple Watch.

Under Cook, the disruptive product, the iPhone, spawned an entire industry, making Apple the world’s largest company with a market value of $250 million.

“Cook took what Jobs gave him and built an empire out of it,” Wood said. “Because anyone who buys an iPhone — whether second-hand, third-hand, or fourth-hand — is likely to give Apple some money to buy apps, pay for iCloud, use Apple Music, or transact on Apple Pay. It’s a model that no one else can replicate.”

With iPhone penetration reaching saturation, Cook tapped into a global installed base of more than 1 billion iPhones in 2020, into film and TV, advertising and payments, and fitness and wellness.

The result is a series of diversified “services” revenue that continues to grow at double digits, with profit margins in excess of 70% — double the profitability of its hardware business.

In the June quarter, the number of people paying for the suite of services reached 860 million — roughly double the number of Netflix and Disney-Plus subscribers combined.

Given that the rest of the world is still dominated by Android, largely because of its variety and lower cost, analysts believe Apple has plenty of room to increase its market share. Cook recently said the group “set a record for switchers in the June quarter” — consumers leaving Android for iOS.

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