A new study from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) reveals that 20% of iPhone activations in the March 2017 quarter were Android users making the jump to iOS. On the surface, that seems like a major win for Apple in the battle of Apple vs Android.
The data was gleaned from a survey of 500 Apple customers in the United States and gives us a good look at what smartphones in Apple’s lineup are leading the way. Right now, it appears the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are leading the way for Apple as sales of legacy devices like the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus begin to decline. Year over year, the Plus models (6S Plus and 7 Plus) have seen a greater share of sales.
Probably the most exciting news for Apple in the ongoing iPhone vs Android debate is the fact that 20% of iPhone activations were former Android users. In the past 3 quarters, according to CIRP, Android users had only accounted for 14% to 17% of iPhone activations. It appears more Android users are willing to make the switch to iPhone.
However, before Apple claims victory in the iPhone vs Android battle, it’s important to take a look at the overall market share. That’s the number that Apple should really care about.
According to another recent report from CIRP, Android is dominating smartphone activations. In the most recent June 2017 quarter, Android accounted for 67% of all smartphone activations with Apple coming in second with 31% of smartphone activations. Of course, iPhone vs Android is not really a perfect comparison. Apple makes 100% of iPhones while Android devices are made by several different manufacturers including Samsung, LG, HTC, and Motorola.
Still, even when broken down by manufacturer, Apple doesn’t come in first place. That honor goes to Samsung who holds 42% of the US market share compared to Apple’s 31%.
These numbers only reflect the sales figures in the iPhone vs Android debate. Of course, there are people loyal to both sides that will make strong arguments for the device they love. With iOS 11 and Android O coming down the pipeline with new features, that debate should only heat up over the coming months. Do I dare wade into the discussion?
Let me get my bias out of the way off the top. I’m an Android user. My lovely wife is a former Android user who switched to iOS. I try not to hold it against her.
As a loyal Android user, I have to admit that Apple makes a really sexy smartphone. The iPhone looks great. The design is what you would expect from a high-end product. And their attention to design doesn’t stop with their devices. Walk into an Apple store and it’s like walking into some sort of tech enthusiast paradise. Everything is bright, the employees clap if you sleep outside their store while waiting for a new product, and they offer a level of service that we could only dream to receive from most companies. Apple knows how to make everything look great from the moment you buy their device to the moment you unbox it, to the moment you go back for an upgrade. I begrudgingly admit they have an amazing attention to detail.
iOS has come a long way. I remember, back when I owned an iPhone 3GS, the device required jailbreaking to work to the standard I expected. How things have changed. iOS offers more customization than ever before and the design is sleek. With that said, iOS still feels limited. The square apps in a grid formation feel dated. However, some people enjoy that. It’s got a simplicity and intuitiveness about it that may appeal to many users. My grandma uses an iPhone. If I handed her my Nexus 6P, the widgets and customization would likely seem foreign.
I guess the shortened version of all of that would be: iPhone offers a consistent, appealing user experience. The design is consistent from device to device. Software updates are regular and reliable. Everything just works… For the most part.
Android has grown a lot as an OS, especially over the last 3 years. For a time, there was a stereotype that Android was only for the most technologically inclined users. That isn’t true anymore. Now, Android is polished and attractive. The real area where Android shines is the customization. Where Apple feels like it has to hold your hand; Android gives you the key to the city. Want your screen layout to look like an iPhone with square icons in a grid formation? Go for it! Want to fill the page with widgets that constantly bombard you with information? Go for it! Want to build a Tasker profile that texts your loved ones a photo of Cory Baxter of Disney’s “Cory in the House” fame at 3AM every morning? Not recommended… But possible!
That freedom and lack of control can also be Android’s downfall. I have personally made the pledge to stick with Nexus and Pixel devices in order to ensure I get regular updates. There are, however, a lot of great Android phones left in a graveyard of “no further updates.” What about support? Well, I have personally never been to an Android store so I guess we can chalk that on up as a win for Apple.
So, in the iPhone vs Android debate, what do I declare? Nothing!
Use whichever phone you think looks best. Use the phone with the best camera, or the best customization options, or the most reliable OS updates. We are at a point where smartphones are seeing incremental changes rather than massive, market changing updates. iPhones and Android devices both have their pros and cons. The important thing is that you enjoy the device in your hands.