back to article Jobs: iPhone sales spank Android

Steve Jobs suggests that you should forget anything you may have read about Android sales surpassing iPhone sales in the US. "There have been a lot of stats floating around, market research, studies. Some are okay, some are questionable," Jobs said Monday when announcing the iPhone 4, according to Engadget. The most …


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  1. Catherine Keynes

    Don't mention RoW

    This stats spat only looks at the US. If you look at world figures then Symbian still matters.

  2. Ian Yates
    Jobs Horns

    Glad they cleared that up

    It's really important to me to make sure that my next phone is one of the most popular ones on the market. Every quarter I check the market share of each OS and run down to CPW to buy whichever is currently in the lead.

    Seriously? Not even remotely interested.

    I have a Hero, I'll be moving to a Desire (or whatever's the latest Android) when I decide to (not on contract).

    The iPhone 4 finally looks like an interesting phone to me (no more stupid curves; maybe it's easier to hold now?), but the iTunes ball-and-chains, the developers fees, the opaque app approval process, and the retrospective app refunds at His Lordship's deman are just massive switch-offs.

    Android might not be quite so polished (not my opinion), or have some of this hardware yet, but I feel like Google actually want people to develop for it.

    1. Mike 117
      Paris Hilton

      Popularity = monetizing opps.

      I'm interested. Whichever is the most popular = the most lucrative to develop for. And the £60 fee for developers program is hardly going to break the bank. Apple want people to develop for it, just don't want shoddily coded broken applications written for it.

      Android is great and I'm all for competition, but for me, the big turn off is the fact that "Android" while sounding like a cohesive platform with a large enough market share is a mass of different devices with different capabilities, screen resolutions etc etc. You would spend half the time writing code to detect and use the appropriate phone. What about testing on actual devices?... pfft.. that is going to be expensive. But hey, you don't need to pass any code quality vetting to get on the android store anyway, so who cares about testing.

      Paris because paris knows popularity is important.

    2. DZ-Jay

      Re: Glad they cleared that up

      Repeat after me:



      *ahem* DEVELOPER *ahem*


      Many developers would indeed do good to be interested in the size of their prospective target market.


  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lies, damn lies and...

    Agreed with Ms Keynes...

    Given that I'm not in the > USD 100,000 p.a. league I guess I should try convince my boss that we become one of the 'enterprise users' of the iPhone....

    "Look we can all be so much more productive.. See how the new accelerometer can be used to..."..

    Naah not working, would be better to let him see it and go "Oooh shiny! Me want!!"

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Just had our chairman in this morning salivating over the news that there's a new one and when can he get one because he needs it so urgently for business purposes.

      Oh, I work for the NHS, so with this news you can all rest assured that the appointed guardians of the public purse's biggest budget are taking post-crunch fiscal restraint seriously. Very seriously indeed.

  4. Slx

    To misquote Shakespeare:

    The gentleman doth protest too much, me thinks!

  5. Lunatik
    Jobs Horns

    Time, Mr Jobs, time...

    It is all but inevitable that Android devices will usurp the iPhone in terms of sales (and likely BlackBerry & Symbian too, in time), you only have to look at the number an breadth of scope of Android devices being released now to see that.

    iPhones will never be sold at <£100 contract free, Android devices already approach this (Pulse was £150 last time I checked, down £50 since launch about 8 months ago). Or, for monthly contracts, a relatively low <£20/mo contract will see you into a mid/high end device for nowt upfront.

    Android devices are chasing down every last niche in the marketplace. Huge mega-screen phone? Check (Streak). Sleek & fashionable? Check (Legend). Cheap & cheerful? Check (Pulse/Tattoo). Camera-focussed? Check? (I see xenon flashes & improved optics in more recent handsets).

    Apple on the other hand offers a swish new device for £n, or a slightly older, slower one for £(n x 0.7) and demands a hefty monthly fee in addition. So you can choose to be in the with the crowd and get an iPhone 4, or resign yourself to wannabe status and get am iPhone 3GS, as long as you are happy coughing up £30+/mo for the privilige.

    I don't think Apple would want it any other way though, they surely want their product to retain its premium appeal and to chase sales as the smartphone market evolves ever more mainstream would surely hurt that. The long-proposed iPhone Nano may change this in time I guess, but even then the precendent with the iPod would surely indicate that even that will not chase the true low-end.

    1. Simon Says

      iPhone tariffs aren't required...

      Or you can just bite the bullet and buy it "outright" on PAYG (and unlock it if necessary - which you can do officially with O2 for £15), and choose whichever contract or PAYG offering you like. It may be a significant outlay upfront (as is any high end phone on PAYG), but the iPhone has such high residuals that you can afford to sell it 12 months later for a significant amount and use it to subsidise next year's model for a much reduced "cost" (e.g. I sold my 16GB 3G for £275 this time last year to help pay for the 32GB 3GS).

      I'm currently paying just £10/month for 100 mins, unlimited texts and unlimited data with giffgaff, plus I get payback from them too for occasionally helping people out on their forum. Between that payback and what I should be able to sell my 32GB 3GS for, I will probably completely pay for a 32GB iPhone 4.

  6. paul 97

    jobs is scared.

    very scared of android - otherwise why bring it up?

    Also the mainstream press who used to do what they are told - are not his lap dogs anymore (as apple is no longer hip/cool). The extended coverage of the foxconn factory is an example of this.

    1. James Hughes 1

      The press

      Given the preponderance of Apple centric advertising on the BBC, sorry, I meant articles about Apple products, I'm not sure the mainstream press has lost its lapdog status yet.

    2. Eponymous Cowherd
      Thumb Up

      Steve's Afraid, Very afraid

      With good reason. The Desire is a stonkingly good piece of kit. The benefit of Android phones over the iPhone has always been their freedom and flexibility, but they were let down by their sluggish performance and lack of polish in use. That is certainly the issue with my HTC Magic and most of the 1st gen Android devices.

      Having played with a colleagues HTC Desire, however, it is clear that that problem has been resolved. The user experience is as smooth and slick as the iPhone, without any of the lock-in and control freakery.

      Now, the only advantage the iPhone has over a top-of-the-range Android phone is the bling factor. If you don't mind being seen with a phone that isn't an iPhone then there is no benefit in choosing an iPhone over an Android phone.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      @paul 97

      "Jobs is scared"? Of what? His company having more money than Microsoft? Scared that the gerzillions of people about to go out and order the new iPhone might all change their minds and buy some pug-ugly little Android kit instead?


      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  7. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Rich people buy iPhone. Also: NIELSEN

    You want to be rich don't you? So - oh, it doesn't work that way.

    There are many statistics that could be measured:

    - How many iPhones or Androids or others sold last week

    - How many iPhones or Androids or others currently being used

    - How much money those iPhone or other device users can spend on accessorising it, including people who bought an iPhone when they WERE rich but they "took a bath" because of AIG, and in some cases Bernie Madoff

    - How many of those types of phones will be sold in the future when current users replace their phone, iPhone users are loyal and afraid of other devices but see previous point

    Again: NIELSEN. Not NEILSEN. Start with NEIL INNES, then REARRANGE letters. (And take IN out.)

  8. Kay Burley ate my hamster

    Apples and oranges

    iPhone OS is rather limited, on purpose of course, it's for a phone after all, too many options will slow down use and confuse, you don't want that on a phone for say a 50 y/o CEO or a 14 y/o girl or even a 25 y/o Dalston hipster.

    Android is on the other hand open, customisable, and due to this it changes it's appearance from one device to another, this confuses the CEO/teen/hipster market as they learnt to use their iPhone by repeating what they saw in the intro video (Parrot fashion, like MCSE "Learning" compared to a Uni degree).

    My point, Android is for people who want more than a phone and more than Steve Jobs will allow them, people who know why the machine goes bing.

    Can't wait for a front facing camera on an EU Android, those skype/fring calls are gonna be fun! :)

  9. lglethal Silver badge

    Just did some quick sums

    Just did some quick sums, about the wanting to change from iphone or from android.

    Iphone users - 28% but 7% want to change away from iphone, thats 1.96% of those surveyed.

    Android users - 9% but 14% want to change away from android, thats 1.26% of those surveyed.

    Interesting that 2/3 more people got suckered into buying an iphone but what to change, then people who bought androids and realised it wasnt for them. I just found that interesting...

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Let's look at it another way. If Android sold as much as iPhone and the percentage of users that want to change away stayed the same (a fair assumption), there would be TWICE as many Android users wanting to get rid of their phone.

      Stats - you can look at them in lots of ways and there's usually always one way that makes your position look better.

      1. Jerome 0


        Usually always? What percentage is that?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Fail math there. You are assuming that 100% of users who want to switch phones are due to the phone itself. Consider for a moment that 1% (+/- 0.5%) of the population may be pissed off with any phone, because they don't know what they want.

        There aren't even any significance factors quoted with regard to the poll in the article (that I saw when I read through it anyway). For all we know the whole thing is +/- 15%.

  10. Timbo99

    Sales figures are important for Apple

    Putting my Marketing hat on;

    Apple relies very heavily on the brand selling its products. Consumers who place the most importance when purchasing a product on brand (i.e. promotion in Marketing), rather than price, quality, features, distribution etc.., will find the popularity of the product very important to their purchase decision.

    This is why I think it's critical for Jobs to continually quote sales figures, a way of saying "people think this product is really good".

    The iPad is widely agreed to be functionally limited product and overpriced based on the feature set - yet we've heard a number of times how successfully it's selling already.

    The numbers are really unimpressive when you compare them to the number of matches that have been sold throughout history, but in isolation and to the right people - the sales stats sound great.

    It's been said plenty before: it's inevitable Android devices will outsell the iPhone. But, this won't stop Jobs quoting how many Apple products he has sold.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down


      How do you explain the fact that Apple computers are sold at all, given with your logic it's popularity that causes one to buy an Apple?

      1. Timbo99
        Thumb Up


        I'm merely suggesting that perceived popularity is an important strategy for Apple.

        I recall reading about sales stats of ipod, iphone and ipads in news releases from Apple over the years, most companies don't brag about this stuff in such a reliable manner.

        It's important here to make the distinction between "real" popularity and "perceived" popularity.

    2. Doug 3

      those were MARKET SHARE figures, not SALES figures

      there is a huge difference between market share and sales and that is why Jobs used market share over sales. Android devices and sales just begun to get off the ground in late 2009 and data is showing Android based phones outselling iPhone sales. That is not going to look good to developers of the iPhone so looking at the market share( total units sold into a market ) for two plus years of iPhone sales looks far better.

      What made me laugh was when you see market share mentioned with a short range like used in ths report: Q4 '09 - Q1 '10. Market share is about total units sold so that would mean start counting from the day the device went on the market. The iPhone and Blackberry have Android beat there but using multiple dates shows they were making an effort to confuse "market share" with "sales".

      It seems to have worked because even the press is getting confused as to what just happened.

      It makes me wonder how they took into account all the generation one and generation two iPhones sitting in desk drawers from upgrades to the 3GS were purchased. Total units sold counts those phones no longer being used.

      FAIL, because so many are not getting it.

  11. Rogerborg

    Actually, if you look at global sales

    Then BREW whips them all. But heck, that's mostly bought by tens of millions of Little Yellow People, so it's not like it's a REAL platform.

  12. Mage Silver badge

    Symbian & Meego

    As Symbian & meego makers do phones more relevant to US Market expect an upset. Esp. if they get offered by Operator.

    46% Worldwide and 2% in US?

    RIM, PalmOS and Windows are only going to lose US Share.

    Meego will increase Worldwide and Symbian will only slide slightly World Wide.

    Symbian and/or Meego could easily wipe out Palm & Windows and you could see Android, Apple and Symbian/Meego (not just Nokia) neck and Neck ahead of RIM.

    RIM is poor outside USA.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Symbian in the US

      "As Symbian & meego makers do phones more relevant to US Market expect an upset. Esp. if they get offered by Operator."

      Wireless operators are already selling Symbian phones in the US, and have been for a while. My phone's a Nokia Symbian smartphone, and I bought it from AT&T when I switched to them from Sprint. (I didn't particularly want to go with AT&T, but the wife & child went to the iPhone, and since they're on the other end of 95% of my calls and texts going same-carrier is cheaper. Not that it really matters; I hate phone calls and texting and running stupid little applications on stupid little devices, so the less I use the blasted thing, the better.)

      But the point is that there's a wide range of Symbian devices for sale from US carriers, and they're not making much headway. I may prefer a decent open OS like Symbian to Apple's walled garden, but apparently most US consumers don't.

  13. D@v3

    a question about people, not stats

    just a quick question for you from someone in the UK.

    How many people do you know (not including yourself, if applicable) that own an Android OS phone?, my answer 0

    Same question for win mo (all versions) 2

    RiM? 3 or 4

    iPhone's? at least 10, probably a fair deal more, a lot of whom are not technically minded, and don't care about who makes the apps for them, or how 'open' the system it is.

    (if I were to include non 'smart' phones, ie. Nokias, SE etc, that would win out right)

    For the record, I am about to upgrade from an iPhone3G to and iPhone4.

    1. Eddy Ito

      a quick answer

      It says that the people in _your_ circle who have something more than a plain mobile are more likely to have an iPhone or RIM device. It doesn't say anything else. The people we know are generally very similar since we tend to associate with folks who are very like ourselves. I'd wager Chris DiBona's associates predominantly use Android phones and that most of the people Donald Trump knows are well above the poverty line.

      To show how pointless your comparison is, I personally know one person who owns an iPhone, one Android, at least five have a "crackberry" and well over a dozen have Palm phones... did I mention I know several people who work at Palm? Also for the record, I prefer the simplicity of a phone but I plan to upgrade to a Nokia C1 as soon as it's available.

    2. g e

      Three in my office

      My HTC Magic, the boss & another guy both on new HTC Desire's and two more Desire's to come as others in the office have had a play with them and choosing them over iphones (which they've also tried out)

    3. bex
      Jobs Horns


      the only person I know with an Iphone hates it and can't wait for the contract to end. A direct quote from him "as a gadget its OK as a phone its crap"

    4. Tim Bates

      OK then...

      Win Mob - 5

      Android - 1 (2 if you count my win mob device on days I run Android instead)

      iPhone - 2

      RIM - none

      Me and one of the other Win Mob users are quite keen to move to Android phones though... While of the other people I know, only one wants to buy an iPhone.

      I'd certainly question the brain functionality of someone purposely buying an iPhone though - crippled like nothing else, yet sold for higher price than full function devices.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Not fair to compare NPD vs Nielsen numbers

    The author says:

    " The Neilsen Company, entitled — rather directly — "iPhone vs. Android", which paints a very different picture. According to Neilsen, RIM is indeed number one in the US, but it has slipped 2 per cent since the previous quarter, falling to 35 per cent. The iPhone — and not the sum total of a gaggle of Android-based phones, as NPD claimed — is number two,"

    The Nielsen survey numbers you quote talk about market share. The NPD survey talked about Q1 sales. So the numbers you are comparing are not the same thing - either you didn't read the data you are using as source, you misunderstood it, or you are trying to paint Apple better than it is.

    The Nielsen survey does paint a picture of US Q1 sales, Apple vs Android. It says:

    " Android and iPhone’s share of the smartphone market grew by 2% each."

    Meaning that according to Nielsen they either had the same sales, or too close to call. So the worst case for Android is that is finally caught up to Apple in sales (as per Nielsen) or the best case it passed Apple (as per NPD). In either case this is good for Android (not necessarily bad for Apple).

    Android has a long ways to go before its US Market Share catches up, but the only way to get there is to outsell Apple, which if it isn't doingalready, both NPD and Nielsen agree it is getting close.

    1. Jerome 0

      Market share?

      Are you sure that market share is defined like that? It would be sort of hard to quantify if it did. After all, I still have a 3 year old Sony Ericsson, a 6 year old Samsung and an ancient HP iPAQ stashed away in a drawer. Does this count towards the "market share" for these devices? I guess no-one's ever going to overtake Nokia in the phone market if that's the case.

      1. Doug 3

        bing bing bing! You WIN!

        market share is the total units sold

        market share = a company's unit sales / total units sold

        so yes, those devices in your drawer were counted. Why you don't have more "thumbs UP" votes is a surprise. Well done sir, you win a Twinkie.

    2. Doug 3

      "market share" is a total unit sold calulation

      does the Nielsen stat say that they counted only the units sold _between_ Q4 '09 and Q1 '10?

      I did not see that stated and since they show such a huge discrepancy between what was previously published by NPD, I would think that they were counting what _market share_ really is and that is a TOTAL units sold figure. Counting the total units sold as of Q1 '10 would make sense for what market share they showed. Android really hasn't been on the market that long and only really started getting advertising and support across many carriers in late 2009.

      why they used the term market share instead of unit sales or units sold between those dates makes me think they are spinning this in the best light possible for Apple and trying to confuse that they really are talking about a total units sold number. If it was obvious it was about "market share", the elephant in the room, the NPD report of sales, is still in the middle of the room waving and smiling at everyone.

      A good piece of marketing, that's for sure.

      1. Geoff Campbell


        Surely counting unit sold between Q4 2009 and Q1 2010 will result in a rather small sample? Who goes phone shopping at midnight on Dec 31st?


  15. Tony W

    Work or play

    I've had an HTC Desire for a month and it is a great toy, but it's a real struggle to use it for work. Synchronisation with Outlook is extremely unreliable (not just me, look at the forums). No matter, I'm told, I can ditch Outlook and use Google Calendar, which I can only update on my PC if I have a working net connection and which might not keep my information secret.

    Apart from that, Android's personal information management (calendar and tasks) is poor out of the box. I can't put shortcuts to my colleague's work and mobile phone numbers on my home screen because they would both come up with the same name and picture, and they can't be individually changed. And often it won't switch off without taking the battery out.

    Still, it runs Google Sky. That quite often tells me the sun is way above the horizon at midnght in London, but switching off the phone (taking the battery out if necessary) and switching on again usually brings it back to reasonable accuracy.

    My 8 year old Palm M505 was boring but it synchronised reliably, it had precise text entry with the stylus, and I could read the screen in full sunlight. Compared to that, the Desire is infuriating. It does lots of wonderful things, but if only it did the basics really solidly!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You could use an iPhone?

      and share your data with the whole world

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    3. bex


      I have a customer who can't for the life of him get his iphone to sync ootlook, it just does not work. I for one use google calendar so the desire will probably be my phone come August

      1. Tony W

        Plague on both

        OK so they're both toys.

    4. Adam Williamson 1

      Separate contacts?

      "I can't put shortcuts to my colleague's work and mobile phone numbers on my home screen because they would both come up with the same name and picture, and they can't be individually changed."

      if you want to treat their numbers as separate contacts like this then, well, enter them as two contacts, not as one?

    5. ml100

      Get a Blackberry

      If the PIM side of things is your real issue and dont need to play pointless games.

      Though sounds like you need some sort of software update on the Desire or a warranty replacement.

  16. Julian C
    Paris Hilton

    Reading between the lines...

    "Forty per cent of iPhone owners have incomes of over $100,000 per year; only 28 per cent of Android-phone owners are that comfortable." means, iPhone owners have more money than sense!

    "When they get their next smartphone, twice as many Android-phone owners want to switch operating systems than do iPhone owners (14 per cent versus 7 per cent)." means Android owners can't wait to get a phone that supports Android 2.x (majority of Android phones are 1.x)

    (Paris as she doesn't want a phone smarter than her, unless it's got a really good video camera ;-)

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