'Boring' iPhone 7 builds 'strongest growth' for two years

Does this fit your narrative?

I guess if you bat for the ‘iPhone is failing’ teams then you will have thrown the latest Kantar Worldpanel ComTech data into your “does not fit the narrative” trash can. 

Why shouldn’t you? You have every right to ignore facts that may undermine your opinion.

It keeps the prejudice industry alive.

Defining the future

If you look at the latest Kantar data you’ll see a slightly bigger picture.

For the three months ending October 2016, it is Apple that leads the high-end of this market, the part in which the future of the smartphone industry is defined...

You see, Apple’s iPhones are the top three smartphone brands sold in the US and the UK: iPhone 7 at number one, Apple’s iPhone 6s at two, with the iPhone SE in third place. 

This is true even though on a global basis the many different forks, devices and operating systems that form the Android ecosystem dominate the mass of mobile market, but that dominance seems to be declining in the US.

iOS share highlights:

  • Japan: 51.7% iOS
  • UK: 44%
  • US: 40.5%

Shrink the mind-share

Android appears to be losing mind-share in the US, where iOS share climbed 7 percentage points year-over-year: from 33.5% of smartphone sales to 40.5% in the three months ending October 2016. 

“This represents the strongest rate of growth for the OS in more than two years, as well as the highest share seen since the three months ending January 2015 (42.8%),” said Kantar.

It’s important not to over state the significance of this – Apple’s main competitor isn’t at any great risk and continues to dominate in the US, but the pattern of loss is a sustained one, it continues to lose users to iOS.

“While Android remains the dominant OS in the US, at 57.9% of smartphone sales, this latest data represents the fifth consecutive year-on-year period decline,” the analysts explained (italics mine).

Mind-share remains strong in Europe, where Android accounted for 75.2% of EU5 (Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain) smartphone sales versus iOS at 21.2%.

Apple can exploit the popularity of its platforms in order to introduce new products and services, some of which (like Apple Music) it now sells to those on other platforms. 

Who cares?

The dance between Apple’s original iOS and the Google-backed Android ecosystem is a sideshow to most of us as we attempt to navigate these interesting times.

We’re only really interested in how the smartphones we purchase can help us live our lives, and many will respond to Apple’s crystal clear commitment to protecting our privacy.

That focus on platform and privacy is critical to the future of the connected age, from the smart keys in your wallet to the retina scan to drive your car, from boarding passes to passports; We will all benefit from stable ecosystems that provide us with extra convenience at no cost to privacy or security from platforms that are widely supported.

The smarter platform for the rest of us

This is the lens you should use when looking at your next smartphone purchase: is it private? Will it be supported in three years? Can I install software updates? And what services will it provide me with in future?

With those questions in mind, it is interesting to consider the significance of Apple Pay president, Jennifer Bailey’s recent statement that the company is thinking about “everything in your wallet” as it plots the future of Apple Pay. This likely includes cash, credit cards, loyalty cards, passports, tickets, driving license, business cards, keys, photos and more.

Apple already provides a platform to handle most of these items, but Touch ID is rapidly emerging as a key ingredient for the platforms’ future evolution.

The capacity to deliver such evolution is precisely why it is such an advantage that the iPhone remains the top-selling smartphone. 

This is helping Apple management execute the future platform and services proliferation it has been working towards since introducing the iPod.

This is also why the future of the smartphone industry will be defined by Apple, and not by Google. No matter what Google search autocomplete has to say.

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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