We never cease to be amazed by the reaction we get when we say anything about Apple other than that Apple is the best company in the world and makes the best products in the world and is going to take over the world.This weekend, for example, we pointed out that Google’s Android has blown past Apple’s market share in the US smartphone market, while the iPhone’s share is dead in the water.
We suggested that, if Apple fans weren’t yet concerned about this trend, they probably should be.
That seems a reasonable enough observation, right? Android has come out of nowhere to grab a full third of the market in two years and the iPhone’s share has flatlined? We don’t see how any reasonable Apple observer could NOT be concerned about that.
But we forgot that the company whose smartphone share we said was “dead in the water” was Apple.
Oh, the hatred and ridicule!
Some folks said Comscore’s data was obviously wrong. Some folks said we had obviously been lobotomized. Others said that they wished securities laws applied to journalists as well as analysts so we would never be allowed to say anything like this. And so on.
All for saying that Apple fans might want to be concerned about Android’s exploding market share!
We’re pleased to say that, amid the ridicule, there were also signs of intelligence.
John Gruber, for example, pointed out that when one is evaluating “platform” share, one should also take into account iPod touches and iPads, which both run iOS.
We agree with the point about iPod touches, which run the same apps that iPhones do (and are essentially the same device). But adding iPod touches to the calculation is not all good. It makes Apple’s market share of total gadgets bigger, yes, but if we’re not mistaken, it also means that Apple’s market share is now shrinking vs Android’s, not holding steady. (iPod touch sales, if memory serves, are not growing as fast as iPhone sales. If we’re wrong about this, please let us know).
We actually disagree that iPads should be included in this assessment. The iPad runs the same OS, but it’s a different device, with different uses (the apps aren’t interchangeable). For now, Apple owns the tablet market. But for the first year after the iPhone appeared, it also owned the iPhone-style smartphone market. (And it was gaining share in that market until recently, when Android suddenly exploded.) Apple is doing an awesome job maintaining its product and price lead in tablets, and we expect that it will continue to do so for at least another year. But even in the tablet market, we think Apple fans should be concerned about the Android threat.
So, chill, folks. All we’re pointing out is that Android’s gains have been spectacular and that Android’s share of the smartphone market is already bigger than Apples. Thanks in part to Apple, the smartphone game is now a platform game, and in tech, platforms with ubiquity win.
It’s far from game over: Google could blow it, or Apple could decide to sacrifice its margins to drive for ubiquity (which wouldn’t be good for shareholders, but that’s a different issue). But Android’s gains are definitely something Apple’s fans should be concerned about.