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Despite all the doom and gloom from analysts about iPhone 5 demand, something rather amazing is happening in the U.S. for Apple.According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, during the twelve week period ended November 25 Apple had 53% of smartphone sales in the U.S. That’s up from 37% a year ago.
The iPhone 5, plus wider availability of the phone are driving Apple’s share gains. It can’t only be about the iPhone 5 though. This time last year, Apple had a new phone out, too — the iPhone 4S.
Globally, Apple is still getting smoked by Android. Kantar says Android was 61% of the European market over the same period, up from 52% the year prior. But the U.S. share gains suggest it could fight back around the world, eventually.
Almost two years ago, our own Henry Blodget declared Apple’s market share growth to be dead in the water. At the time, he was right. Apple’s market share was stuck in the 25% range, according to comScore.
Since then, Apple has introduced the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 5 and added Sprint as well as some smaller regional carriers. Next year, T-Mobile carries the iPhone, which means all the major U.S. carriers will have the iPhone.
Kantar believes Apple is going to take more share as the iPhone 5 continues rolling out in the U.S. If it’s already at 53%, it’s not inconceivable to see Apple marching to 60% in the next six months. Considering Apple was dead in the water not that long ago, it would be an amazing comeback story.
It’s also illustrative for a bigger picture story about Apple and Android.
It looks like the reason Android became big in the U.S. is because it was the best available alternative to the iPhone for a lot of people. People didn’t want Android, they wanted an iPhone. But, because the iPhone wasn’t an option they chose Android. As soon as the iPhone became available, people chose the iPhone over Android.
Android has improved greatly in the last two years. It’s on par with Apple for the most part. If it’s still losing to Apple, then something is just not right with the platform. We’re not sure what it is, but something is slightly off.
This is good news for Apple’s global ambitions. It’s only on a fraction of the carriers around the world. If Apple can get on more carriers around the world, it can stage a global comeback taking share from Samsung and Android.
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