Grab your ringside seats, friends: America's mobile phone battle is taking an interesting turn.
Today, we're getting our first glimpse at data showing what effect Apple's new iPhone 4 has had on the overall smartphone market. The answer: not much.
iPhone 4 and the U.S. Mobile Market
According to Quantcast, a metrics firm that measures mobile Web consumption, Apple's share of the market has remained relatively constant since the launch of its new iPhone. Despite the rush of preorder excitement, it looks like most of the people who have bought the new iPhone have been previous iPhone owners. In other words, the new device has done little to dampen Android's momentum thus far.
"While it appears that iPhone share, based on Web consumption, got a slight boost, most new iPhones sold were simply replacing earlier iPhone models," Quantcast's analysts say.
A chart of iPhone-based mobile Web traffic illustrates the point: Shortly after the new iPhone's release, usage of old iPhone devices dropped down and was replaced fairly evenly by usage of the iPhone 4.
Now, this is only a preliminary report, and it's only from one company; we'll undoubtedly see more analyses in the weeks to come as further data becomes available. But this initial view certainly supports past arguments that the new iPhone, despite the enthusiasm among Apple's core fan base, is likely no major threat to Android. And while Apple still maintains a healthy lead in the big picture, trends over the past several months suggest that Android will continue to grow at a faster pace than iOS-powered phones, ultimately surpassing Apple in total market share.
As I've said in the past, this doesn't mean that Apple is doomed for failure; it simply means that if current trends continue, it may not be long before the iPhone takes a back seat to Android and becomes less of a dominating player within the U.S. mobile market.
The iPhone 4 antenna fiasco certainly won't help matters. At this point, Apple has backed itself into a bit of a corner with that mess; any possible action (or lack thereof) will ultimately make the company look bad in some way. The timing couldn't be better for Verizon, which is set to launch its high-profile Motorola Droid X Android phone on Thursday.
I'm sure it's only a matter of time until trusty ol' Stevie J pipes up about all of this in one of his trademark e-mails. Until then, we'll just have to rely on the automated Steve Jobs E-Mail Generator for our tersely worded answers.Author JR Raphael writes the new Android Power blog at Computerworld. You can find him on Facebook: facebook.com/The.JR.Raphael