Apple CEO Tim Cook claimed this week that Android users are embracing the iPhone at a record rate. Those are fighting words in the endless Apple vs. Android war.
Speaking during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call Tuesday Cook said that 30 percent of iPhone purchasers during the period switched from an Android device. The number was the biggest that Apple has recorded since it began measuring Android switchers three years ago, he added.
That kind of claim is fuel for debate – to put it mildly – but so far analysts don’t seem to be disputing it. “With a record-breaking 13 million iPhone 6s and 6s Plus units shipped during launch week, the two new models continue to capture upgraders and Android converts alike in many key markets such as China and the United States,” wrote market researcher IDC in a release this week.
“It’s not too surprising, given the popularity of the phablet-sized 6S Plus,” IDC Analyst Ramon Llamas told FoxNews.com via email. “And now we are at the point where the [iPhone 6] has reached its second generation version and appeals to those who decided to wait out the first gen version 6 Plus. This is where the pendulum is swinging in Apple’s favor to the detriment of Android,” he added.
And Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty cited Apple's “record Android share gains” in a research note this week following the company’s earnings.
However, it’s probably not a good idea to get too excited because Android still dominates globally – by a long shot. “It is far from over for Android, as we anticipate Google’s mobile operating system will account for about 80 percent of the overall smartphone market,” Llamas added.
And, in fact, it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to push back on Cook’s argument if you glance at the most recent preliminary third-quarter figures released by IDC this week. Samsung is holding steady at No.1 with roughly 24 percent of the world market compared to Apple’s second-place 13.5 percent. And Huawei, Lenovo, and Xiaomi – all Android device makers – are gaining market share compared to the same period last year.
And a closer look at those three device makers indicate that they could be giving Apple more trouble down the road.
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Huawei’s shipments are up an impressive 60.9 percent from last year. It is still essentially unknown in the U.S. market, though that is likely to change soon. “The recent launch of the new premium Nexus 6P device could signal that Huawei is finally ready to seriously compete in the U.S.” IDC said in its report this week.
And Lenovo, which now owns the Motorola brand, saw combined shipments (Lenovo plus Motorola) jump 11.1 percent in the third quarter.
The moral of the story: Apple should bask in its iPhone 6s success before the deluge of new Android phones arrives next year.