Advantage Apple: iPhone users love to use their phones

When it comes to people actually using their devices, there's no doubt at all that Apple [AAPL] is winning the smartphone wars -- just look at the evidence, for app sales, Web browsing, OS upgrades and more, the iPhone is King of the Hill.

Screen_shot_2011-12-01_at_13_04_31.jpg

Web sense

Take a look at this morning's all-new stat: iOS Web marketshare hit 65.27 percent in June, said NetMarketShare today. Usage of iOS devices to access the Web has increased 15 percent year-on-year, the analysts explained.

The next stat will surprise many of us -- despite marketshare dominance (over 50 percent of total mobile devices, some report)  when it comes to devices allegedly shipped, Google's Android devices account for just 19.73 percent of Web marketshare, the analysts said (though there's some interesting anomalies in this month's numbers).

Reports of the imminent demise of BlackBerry can't be wrong -- that platform has shrunk from 3.33 percent usage in August 2011 to just 1.87 percent today.

It is interesting to note that Apple has shipped over 365 million iOS devices since launch, in contrast to c.300 million Android devices shipped so far. This means the contrasting levels of Web access via these mobile devices can easily be considered to be accurate reflections of just how engaged Android users are in their phones when compared to the enthusiasm shown by iPhone users.  

Hold me, use me

It doesn't surprise me that using the power of my inner voice I can already hear some Android users condemning iPhone users in their use of the platform as being nothing more than "iSheep", but that defensive reaction helps underline the case that, with the exception of a hardcore fraternity, most Android device users don't really make use of the advanced features of their phones.

Contrast this with the iOS advantage: When it comes to people actually making use of their devices there's a wealth of iPhone-supporting evidence, provided to me last week by reader, "Melci'. And the unyielding take-home message from all of these statistics justifies taking a position which says, even while Android may be selling in quantity, it's Apple which is winning the actual usage war:

Some highlights (someone should create a lovely infographic of these):

-- 84 per cent of mobile gaming revenue captured by iOS (NewZoo);
-- 90 per cent of e-commerce revenue comes from iOS devices (Rich Relevance);
-- 97.3 per cent of business tablet activations are iPad (Good Technologies);
-- 80 per cent of cellular industry profits captured by iPhone (Morgan Keegan);
-- iOS developer revenue is six times greater than Android developer revenue (Distimo);
-- Developer mindshare: 89 per cent iPhone, iPad at 88 per cent, Android phones 78.6 per cent, Android tablets 65.9 per cent (Appcelerator);
- 78 per cent of smartphones at AT&T, 76 per cent at Sprint and 51 per cent at Verizon are iPhones Q1 2012. These 3 carriers make up 80 per cent of smartphones sold in the USA.


The lesson of these figures?

Marketshare doesn't equate to use.

It also exposes a huge problem for Google, whose business plan demands Android users make use of their devices. That this isn't what's happening means the data it is capable of extracting from Android users in order to shore up its mobile advertising platforms isn't anywhere near as good or demographically useful as it might have been had Google not fouled-up its relationship with Apple.

If you look at the advertising messages inherent in those clips promoting Android devices you see a clear anti-Apple angle. That's fine, if somewhat childish. Apple's ads meanwhile focus on what you can do with your device. That's two contrasting world views: "Come to us because you hate the competition" contrasts markedly with the message of "Come to us because we can enhance your life".

It is interesting to reflect that at this stage of the evolution of the smartphone business, it's Apple's message winning hearts and minds; while Android users seemingly simply seek a low-cost smartphone with which to check Facebook and email and a limited number of apps. This suggests Android users aren't interested in the full extent of mobile evolution, or that they don't yet recognize the uses to which their devices can be set. This truth may be inadequately conveyed by a self-regulated media attempting to provide contextual balance, but it's what's happening among real iOS users in the real world.

Meanwhile when it comes to the next smartphone purchase, a recent Network World survey (based on a small sample group), suggests nearly two-thirds of readers intend purchasing some model of iPhone as their next device.

So, with existing users actually using their devices and others eyeing Apple's shiny and new iPhone 5 lasciviously, perhaps Google has a bit of work to do?

What do you think?

Got a story? Drop me a line via Twitter or in comments below and let me know. I'd like it if you chose to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when these items are published here first on Computerworld.

FREE Computerworld Insider Guide: IT Certification Study Tips
Editors' Picks
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies