Although Android is continuing its domination as the leading global smartphone operating system, Apple may be poised for a comeback as the Cupertino tech giant prepares to release two new variations of the iPhone. Will two iPhones be able to turn the tides against a legion of new and upcoming Android handsets?
A new study by eMarketer, an independent market research firm based in New York, revealed that nearly 46 percent of U.S. smartphone users will opt for Android this year – compared with 38.3 percent that will choose iOS. However, Apple may be catching up.
“Android, which grew rapidly in popularity soon after its release, fell from triple-digit to double-digit increases in users in 2012 – that year its growth rate actually lagged behind iOS,” said the eMarketer study. “In 2013 and 2014, growth rates for both systems will be almost identical, varying by less than a percentage point. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2011 and 2014 will be slightly higher for iOS than for Android, and in overall reach among the U.S. population, Android will be ahead by just 4 points in 2014.”
A separate report from ComScore, an internet analytics company, showed that Apple was the top OEM with 40.4 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers activating iPhones during the three months ending in July. Additionally, iOS was the only operating system to experience subscriber growth during those three months, compared to the prior three month period ending in April.
“According to the ComScore numbers, Android declined [between May and July] by 0.2 percent,” said Cult of Mac. “Yet during this time, iOS actually grew by 1.2 percent – the same amount the others declined. This is shocking news because iOS was the only mobile platform to have no new products announced or shipped during that period or in the months preceding [it].”
With the iPhone 5C, a less expensive plastic version of the iPhone, expected to be shown off within hours, Apple may finally be able to penetrate emerging markets, an area where Android dominates. The rumored gold-colored iPhone 5S, the high-end successor to the current iPhone 5, may also prove attractive to status-obsessed middle and upper-class Chinese (and Indian) consumers.
Recent news that NTT DoCoMo will be carrying the new iPhone should also give the handset a boost in Japan.
After the big iPhone 5S and 5C reveal in California, the world will have a much better idea of how worthy an opponent Apple can be in the increasingly heated smartphone wars.