In less than 2 months the iPhone 4S has outsold its Android competition in the United Kingdom. Android has been enjoying a lot of success in 2011, with phones like the Samsung Galaxy S2 and HTC Sensation helping Google’s mobile operating system to eat up a significant market share. But this latest iPhone goes to show that as always Apple has a loyal following.
iPhone sales had begun to dwindle during the summer, but this was not due to people ditching Apple in favour of Android. Instead, it was a result of people holding out for an iPhone 5 – which was due to be released in October. Even though the iPhone 5 did not make an appearance, and the iPhone 4S was released instead, Apple enthusiasts still turned out by the bucket load to buy the new phone.
It sold over 4 million units in its first weekend, and Apple sold more iPhones in October than they did for the whole three months before. For the last couple of months Apple has enjoyed around 43% of all smartphone sales in the UK, overtaking the 35% share held by Android.
This popularity is largely down to brand loyalty, with around 75% of people buying the iPhone 4S making an upgrade from an earlier model. But this still means that 25% of these purchases were for people buying their first iPhone – suggesting that Apple’s phone still has a lot of room for growth.
Undoubtedly the biggest attraction of the iPhone 4S is Siri. While Microsoft and Google are keen to point out that they have had their own voice assistant apps available for some months, they have not attracted anywhere near as much attention and press coverage as Siri. This is partly because of its ability to understand natural language and partly its ability to offer witty comebacks to a wide variety of questions – this latter point turning Siri’s responses into a highly popular internet meme – something that has given Apple a lot of free publicity.
The increase in market share for the iPhone has not come at the expense of competitors, as it is seems there is still a significant percentage of the population that do not own a smartphone. As the iPhone 4S starts to age, and with an iPhone 5 not due for release for several months, Android is likely to claw back much of this market share with a string of new devices launched in the new year.
With the expected launch of the Samsung Galaxy S3, the sequel to the most popular Android phone of 2011, as well as the quad-core HTC Edge, Android is likely to re-approach its 50% market share within a few months. The recent release of Android Ice Cream Sandwich has also done much to give a new lease of life to the Google OS.
While Ice Cream Sandwich does have its own voice control systems, the central highlights of the update include NFC sharing with Android Beam, the Face Unlock system and various improvements to performance. Ice Cream Sandwich is currently available on the Galaxy Nexus – the Google phone that has largely been overshadowed by the launch of the iPhone 4S.