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  (Source: Edible Blog)
iPhone likely seized over a half of all U.S. smartphone sales

AT&T Inc.'s (T) blowout quarter was newsworthy enough, but it dropped a bit of a shocker in its numbers release -- 7.6 million iPhone activated for the quarter, with 9.4 million smartphones sold.  That means the iPhone outsold Android and Windows Phone combined nearly 4-to-1 on America's largest carrier.

(Now some have pointed out that "activated" phones can include third party sales, free phones, etc. and are distrustful of AT&T's assertion that the "majority" of activated iPhones are iPhone 4Ss... in other words they're saying that Verizon and AT&T's iPhone numbers are skewed in Apple's favor.  But a report indicates that 9 out of 10 iPhones purchased are iPhone 4Ss -- and much of the remainder is likely iPhone 4 sales, so this seems like sour grapes. -JM)

Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) success with iPhone 4S is so startling that it deserves a recap:

The players:
  1. Verizon Wireless
    (joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc. (LON:VOD))
  2. AT&T
  3. Sprint Nextel Corp. (S)
  4. Deutsche Telekom AG's (ETR:DTE) T-Mobile USA
Results (Confirmed: AT&T and Verizon; Pending: Sprint and T-Mobile's, italicized):

iPhone dominates
So, the disclaimer here is that Sprint and T-Mobile did not report their quarterly earnings yet, much less their smartphone sales.  And judging by past earnings reports, Sprint may not give solid numbers for iPhone sales and neither carrier is likely to give concrete estimates of smartphone sales.  But there's no reason, based on past numbers, to expect these carriers to be selling smartphones at a significantly higher per-subscriber percentage than Verizon/AT&T.

Let's say we're horribly off and that the iPhone sold only ~52%.  Recent estimates show Canada's Research in Motion, Ltd. (TSE:RIM) to hold about 6% of U.S. sales, while Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and others took up about 5 percent of sales.  That would place Android at around 37%.

The odd thing is even the best analyst estimates didn't see this coming.  They predicted a near tie for Apple in the U.S., but did not predict an Apple victory to this extent.

Android and Apple have had a dramatic role reversal.  Ironically this reversal came on a launch that many analysts complained lacked enough new features (the only major upgrade was Siri) to impress buyers.  

iPhone 4S
Analysts thought the iPhone 4S would flop.  How wrong they were.
[Image Source: The Tech Journal]

The iPhone on AT&T was boosted in part due to strong legacy sales -- the iPhone 4 retails for $99 USD with 2-year contract on AT&T, while the iPhone 3GS is free with contract.

Will the mass-market invasion of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich in H1 2012 stem the rising iPhone tide?  Will Windows Phone finally gain a leg up in the U.S. market? There are plenty of unknowns for the upcoming year, but it is clear that Apple absolutely owned the holiday 2011 U.S. sales.

Source: AT&T

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By Trisped on 1/26/2012 5:49:31 PM , Rating: 1
As I stated before, this is mostly a matter of perspective.
Yes, Apple had a REALY good Q4. Since the iPhone 4S was released during this quarter and many who had the 3x were waiting to upgrade due to the initial iPhone 4 problems, it is expected that many would buy a new phone, then give their old phone to a friend/relative for a good deal. This would mean lots of sales with double the activations.

Personally, I would like to also know the 2011 year standings. Android had a good Q1-Q3 so a final count would be more helpful.

Of course it could be Apple incentives at work, if you rub Apple's back (make it look like Apple is doing really well on your network) Apple will rub your back (give you the competitive price cut you need to attract more customers). Of course Apple has probably turned it into a competition, so each company will try to out do the other, but maybe I am being a cynic.

RE: Perspective
By messele on 1/27/2012 3:26:57 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe you just have a very good imagination. Apple's bottom line would suggest that absolutely everybody is paying top dollar for their product. They would appear to have no need or desire for cheap tricks.

Contrast to Google who have to give their product away for free and rely on advertising revenue and selling user's private information to the highest bidder, which appears to be not working for them as they hoped right now. Not great.

RE: Perspective
By Trisped on 1/27/2012 2:12:17 PM , Rating: 2
You must have missed the AT&T statment about getting a better deal on iPhones because they have been selling them so long or how many units Sprint had to buy to get a deal they were happy with. The fact is when you mark up a unit 600% giving a 1%-5% discount would not be noticeable from a profit stand point, but would be VERY desirable from a re-seller stand point.

RE: Perspective
By Tony Swash on 1/27/2012 6:10:36 AM , Rating: 2
iPhone sales have grown in an oddly predictable fashion. Since it's introduction the iPhone has sold each year the same amount as all previous years added together. Based on that if the pattern continues it would mean iPhone sales of 180+ million in 2012.

The latests quarters iPhone sales did not include any from China. The recent launch of the iPhone 4 in China caused such excitement that riot police were required to control the queues. 180 million iPhones in 2012 may prove conservative.

Apple have sold 55 million iPads since it's launch in January 2010. If the iPad follows a similar growth pattern to the iPhone that means over 100 million iPads sold in 2012. That would mean nearly 300 million iOS devices sold in 2012. I wonder if Apple could do that?

RE: Perspective
By retrospooty on 1/27/2012 7:27:51 AM , Rating: 2
It is odd, and impressive. But it can't keep doubling. Its not expected to even last the year as the highest single seller. Still, very impressive and lucrative for Apple.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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