iPhone reclaimed some valuable ground from Android last quarter

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iPhone X
The iPhone reportedly had a great quarter late last year.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

iOS increased its market share in the U.S. over the most recent quarter, a new report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners reveals.

The newly published research claims that iOS devices accounted for 39 percent of new mobile device activations over Q4, compared to only a 34 percent increase this time last year. Android, meanwhile, saw activations fall from 71 percent to 64 percent.

“Apple’s iOS increased its mobile operating system share in the U.S. in the most recent quarter,” said Josh Lowitz, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP. ”While Android still leads, the launch of the new iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X models, without similar new Android phones, allowed Apple to increase its share of activations in the quarter, relative last quarter and to the year-ago quarter.”

It’s no surprise that new iPhones would mean more device activations, particularly since the final quarter of each year is typically Apple’s strongest each year. What does make it interesting, however, is what it suggests about the success of Apple’s next-gen iPhones.

So far, there have been mixed reports about the success of the iPhone X. Apple managed to get iPhone X supply to match up with demand much sooner than most were expecting — although there has been disagreement over whether this is a case of Apple’s operations wizardry or of weaker-than-expected demand. One recent report suggested that weak demand has caused Apple to cut orders for the iPhone X from 50 million to 30 million units.

We’ll find out for sure on February 1, when Apple hosts a conference call to discuss this very quarter. For now, though, it seems that today’s CIRP report suggests Apple’s new iPhones have been bigger hits than last year’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus devices. (Provided that the majority of activations were for the iPhone X and iPhone 8, that is!)

Apple vs. its rivals

In terms of iPhone device activations over the quarter, Apple recorded the highest share in the U.S. with 39 percent, followed by Samsung at 32 percent, and LG at 13 percent. All other brands, including Motorola, HTC, and others, accounted for the remaining 15 percent.

“Among phone brands, Apple and Samsung continue to dominate,” said Mike Levin, partner and co-founder of CIRP. “LG maintains share at 13-18% in the past five quarters, while Motorola has expanded its share to 5-6% in the past two quarters, up slightly in the past year. HTC’s share continued to decline, so we now include them as ‘other.’”

Apple handsets
How Apple matched up to its rivals.
Photo: CIRP