May 11 AT 5:29 PM Matt Demers 30 Comments

Apple responds to NPD Android numbers, isn’t fazed

After numerous reports that Android had surpassed the iPhone OS as the number two mobile phone operating system in the U.S market, Apple has fired back with comments to an Apple-centric blog denouncing the NPD numbers.

Whether or not this is a form of PR damage control by Apple, the rep does make a point in that the NPD numbers are based on filled-out online surveys.While this second-place hurdle is a big victory for our operating system, we have to keep in mind that this data has the potential to be wrong, or fluctuate come next survey time.

I’ve been very skeptical of the media frenzy over Apple’s supposed failings because in the long run, it doesn’t necessarily mean that much. Sure, it means that people are buying phones, but raw numbers alone aren’t going to bring in more customers (or developers, for that matter) unless it has the product has quality behind it to back it up.

However, this announcement might be the momentum that gets the snowball rolling when it comes to Android. With Google I/O coming just around the corner, there might be some big announcements on the horizon that will silence (at least some) of the critics.

“This is a very limited report on 150,000 US consumers responding to an online survey and does not account for the more than 85 million iPhone and iPod touch customers worldwide. IDC figures show that iPhone has 16.1 percent of the smartphone market and growing, far outselling Android on a worldwide basis.

We had a record quarter with iPhone sales growing by 131 percent and with our new iPhone OS 4.0 software coming this summer, we see no signs of the competition catching up anytime soon.”Natalie HarrisonApple spokesperson

Source: The Loop

Matt is a Toronto blogger who enjoys writing opinion columns about culture, comics and of course, Android. You can find more of Matt's work on his personal site.

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  • http://Website Dumbfounded

    Apple always have sumthing to say about andriod. They just jealous of what andriod has become.
    Shame on apple

    • http://Website emu314159

      Ah, it’s good to see them running scared. (And if they’re taking that much time to respond, they are.) If you love Apple and Apple things, hey, more power to you, live and let live, but I can’t stand the exclusionary culture. If I want to put MY music on a device, I’d damn sure better be able to hook that sucker up and drag and drop.

      Finally joined Android nation (was nursing an N95, wifi only for data, till Nokia killed the wifi on it. Kthx, and RIP Nokia, you are dead to me, lol) and I couldn’t be happier. And of course, the culture is chock full of ways to hack and root your phone. I’m home:)

  • http://Website Ron

    Competition is good for both .. it’s the American way.

  • http://Website Nick

    Obviously Apple are phazed by this report if they feel the need to make a public statement about it.

    Android overtaking the iPhone is/was inevitable, I would be much more surprised if a great, free OS, supported large number of manufacturers on a wide range of carriers didn’t eventually outsell 2 phones on one single carrier. What is surprising is how fast Android is maturing and how quickly the market is changing.

    The Apple statement is very misleading as they bunch together the iPhone and the iPod, which is not a phone, and say the competition is not catching them up on sales, when Nokia and RIM have been perpetually beating them since the day the iPhone was released and now Google is outselling them in the US.

    • Brian Douglas Hayes

      Just think how much faster Android would be growing if there was such a thing as an Android-powered iPod. Then Android isn’t just limited to mobile phone contracts; kids–with their disposable income–could be boosting Android Market sales creating a bigger drive for more apps and content.

      I don’t mean to burst the bubble, but phone sales are just one small metric of the big picture. We’ve still got a way to go before Android Market chips away at the App Store… not to mention the 8,000-lb gorilla that is the iTunes Store. Wish Amazon would get on that and give us a full-fledged music/movies/ebook marketplace.

      • http://Website Bob

        I think there is no need for an Android powered IPod, a smartphone can do everything an IPod does and does a lot more than that. I think what Google needs to concentrate on is Tablets, now that is a good market to target.

        • Brian Douglas Hayes

          If you don’t see the need for a non-phone Android device, you’re handing the market to Apple. All those iTunes/App Store purchases of games, music, movies–that’s pure profit for Apple (and their developers)

          Steve Jobs sends his thanks your way.

          Again, not everyone can buy a phone (kids, teenagers, anyone that’s currently locked into a contract) and Google should be going after that market, at least for the sake of Android developers. My cousins blow all of their allowance money on games and apps for their iPod touches. They’re paying customers; just as important as customers with phones.

          Tablets? Until Android has a movies/TV/eBooks marketplace, there’s no reason. Flash capability might be an interesting feature over the iPad, but c’mon, did you see the Nexus One demo video? That’s got a long way to go. “Hulu? Yeah, that doesn’t work”.

    • http://Website emu314159

      Yeah, there’s really some people kicking ass and taking names. The Android Movers really have their shirz together.

  • http://Website Jason

    Funny how Apple couples both the iPhone and iPod to compare with Android. Funnier, I think, is how that didn’t mention the fact that almost every source who talked about the numbers also said how Apple’s new OS is simply playing catchup to Android who’s already working on a new version.

    • Brian Douglas Hayes

      Why wouldn’t they include the iPod? It runs the same OS, same apps, etc… I’m sure it makes up for a sizable chunk of App Store sales. I mostly see kids with iPod touches… god only knows how much allowance money they’re blowing on the latest 99¢ game.

      I’ve been wanting an Android-powered music/video player/gaming device for a long time. It would be an awesome tool to get people (teenagers, gadget lovers, anyone) hooked on the Android platform, creating a bigger and more attractive market for developers. More devs = more apps = stronger platform.

      Nintendo now sees Apple as a competitor solely because of what the iPod touch has done to the casual gaming world. Why couldn’t an Android device get a slice of that pie? Not everyone needs or wants the phone part of a smartphone.

      • http://Website Cesar Trevino

        iPhone =/= iPod

        You don’t see anyone comparing their Nexus One to an iPod touch or an iPad. I mean, come on, Obvious way to get factor in more sales is obvious.

        Apple is relying on 4.0 now, they’re hanging by a thread. Open Source is the absolute only way to make it in the tech world… We’ll see what Apple pulls out of their sleeves in months to come.

        • Brian Douglas Hayes

          Phones =/= Platform (or, better said, phones are only a small part of the platform)

          They’re talking about OS saturation; it doesn’t matter what kind of device. IF Android ran on (popular) tablets and MP3 players, we could brag about such things too.

          And please cite some examples where open source products trump sales of proprietary/closed-source products. I use Ubuntu on my desktop, but I think I might be in kind of in a minority compared to the billions of people running Windows.

          • DreamPCs

            I don’t see how you don’t see that Apple is simple including both the iPhone and the iPod in this comparison to help the bottom line.

            The fact of the matter is the iPad is NOT a phone. Of course we would brag if we (and by we, I mean Android) had numerous iPad competitors and iPod competitors on the market, why wouldn’t we? But what we wouldn’t do it say “oh man all of our devices outsold the iPhone.” We might say something along the lines “Android phones outsold the iPhone” or something at least a bit more comparable.

            Apple basically are the people to beat at this point. The bad part is, we’ve already beaten them with a superior mobile OS but in today’s times having the best software isn’t enough anymore. It’s clear that this is more of a marketing game than anything else.

            If we, and by we I mean people as a whole, were more knowledgeable about products we purchase, iPhones would have a very small market. There have been, for years prior to the existence of the iPhone, devices that were technically more capable than the iPhone. Seriously, the iPhone has had some really ridiculous hurdles that the general public has chosen to ignore. Who the hell has heard of a smart phone without the capability to send/receive MMS? Yeah, they can do it NOW, but calling something a smartphone without that capability is like trying to sell a brand new sportscar with a 10 second 0-60 time.

            But, ultimately, you’re right. Not everyone wants a smartphone. Only Apple, however, will use their non-smart phone sells to help with comparing numbers to Android’s smartphone sells.

            I don’t know about open-source trumping closed source in sales on a mass scale, but there are examples where open source is the preferred. For instance, the majority of servers in the world run some form on Linux, and most servers in the world also run Apache, which is available for both Windows and Linux.

            Honestly, Google makes plenty of cash and I’m not particularly bothered that Android isn’t the top-seller overall right now, but I do firmly believe that Android is the best mobile OS and I’m ashamed that having the best mobile OS comes second to people wanting to jump on the “band wagon.” I’m sick of Apple.

          • http://Website Bob

            Everybody needs a phone , but not everybody needs a music player. Sales of IPod touch will eventually go down as customers start realizing that Ipod touch is nothing but an IPhone-phone, I think Android is perfect in concentrating solely on smartphones and tablets. Tablets are going to replace both netbooks and notebooks for the vast majority of users.

          • http://Website Bob

            Firefox is doing very well despite being open source

  • http://Website abe504

    no offense, im all for android but there is no way android is surpassing iphone if they didn’t outnumber the models of phones they have with the android os. If iphone os had more models, it be complete domination no question. And this is coming from a former iphone user who jumped ship to android.

    • krazytrixxxsta

      sure you did

    • http://Website Cesar Trevino

      Anyone here can talk ifs and buts.. The fact o’ the matter is that Android surpassed Apple in mobile sales.

      Apple’s arrogance is pitiful and will get them absolutely nowhere…

      • Brian Douglas Hayes

        So what do us Android users get–a gold star and a pat on the back?

        Sales of mobile phones is only a small part of marketshare and overall importance. Doesn’t do much good for me unless Google wants to lower the price of the Nexus One a little bit (hint, hint…)

        Again, look at the big picture. iPhone lost the device sales battle, but they’re way ahead in number of apps, number of active developers, and content distribution (music/movies/etc). Android’s growing–but it’s still got a way to go, especially as the OS competition ramps up (Windows Phone 7, HP + Palm, Symbian^3…)

        Look at BlackBerry. According to that chart, they’ve sold the most smartphones, but according to other charts (say, mobile browser stats) their little slice of the mobile browsing pie is just that–a tiny slice. Is it because BlackBerry users don’t care to browse the mobile web? Or is it because BlackBerry browser totally sucks? BlackBerry is racing to catch up because mobile browsing is becoming more important to users. (Protip: This is a big reason why I switched to Android). Same with RIM’s introduction of the App World. When it comes time to upgrade, do you think BlackBerry users are going to stick with RIM just for the hell of it? There’s dozens of devices on other platforms that have BlackBerry-like hardware. Apps, games, media content, OS updates… it’s all software, it’s unique to each platform, and it’s all much more important than phones themselves–hardware which gets outdated every 12 months. A good platform will keep its users as they upgrade from phone to phone.

        • DreamPCs

          I used to be a BlackBerry user, but I must say that although the web browsing is not up to standards with Android and iPhone, it has come a long way.

          I think it’s important for people to understand that RIM and BlackBerry have been around longer than most people know. BlackBerries used to be strictly for business and designed for such, they only recently decided to get into the general market. Now, BlackBerries are still, by far, the best for business and they are slowing catching up to the general market. As a matter of fact, my BlackBerry 8800 (that was my last phone prior to switching to Android) has had the best mobile facebook application I have ever seen, TO THIS DAY. I use Bloo for my Android, and I’ve also used the client for the iPhone. Anyway, when it was time for me to upgrade, I was torn between getting a new BlackBerry or jumping onto Android. I think what made it easier for me to switch is because RIM wasn’t paying any attention to Linux. and that bothered me a little bit.

          I’m rambling, but I think outselling the iPhone is an accomplishment, since they are the phone to beat.

  • Canterrain

    I’m on the fence.

    Apple and it’s Iphone (and ipod touch, which is used to browse the web alot) has both years head start and branding. One can’t forget that brand presence speaks loudly in the mind of the consumer, and therefore to memorability. All important factors. (Example, I bet just about anyone can name the company that uses a bullseye as a logo even if they don’t spend money at said company)

    On the other hand, android is in fact growing by leaps and bounds. And it has a few advantages over the iphone specifically. Namely, a larger amount of choices in handsets, and therefore pricing. (The cheapest iphone you can buy from store is 99, some android phones are 50 dollars, and will continue to go down in price) They also have a larger amount of carriers, some with cheaper plans than ATT and smaller deposits, making it not only easier to get an android phone and plan, but less likely to be followed with buyer’s remorse.

    Time will tell what these two companies learn from each other, and how they will inspire innovation between the two.

    • Canterrain

      Also, fail on my part for typing it’s instead of its.

      In the words of Strong Bad,

      “Ooooohhhhh if you want it to be possessive it’s just i-t-s, if you want it to be a contraction it’s i-t-apostrophe-s… scallawag.”

    • http://Website Bob

      IPhone might have a strong brand appeal, but so does Google. And if you go to specific countries say in South Korea, there are strong regional brands like Samsung. Now combine Samsung + google and you have a stronger brand than Apple(in South Korea).

  • http://Website Marc

    I wonder if it is a prerequisite to be arrogant to work for Apple.

    • Brian Douglas Hayes

      Funny, I’m beginning to think being ignorant is a requirement for using Android.

      Apple’s still got a huge edge with the App Store and iTunes Store. They’ve got more users and developers to keep those profits healthy. Next quarter they’re going to release a new OS and a new phone; of course their sales are down this one.

      Hate to be a downer, but let’s save the celebration for when Android has REALLY overtaken Apple… not just phone sales in one quarter, but in device sales, app sales, and content sales combined.

  • http://Website bubbles hates apple

    Apple is touched by this due to they put out a statement. Steve Jobs is getting stressed out over this, they cant and wont remain king forever.

  • http://Website The_Omega_Man

    The folks at Apple are not stupid. They are, however, concerned and are taking notice about what is going on. For them this is all about timing. The know that they have new product(s) on the horizon, along with the largely “me too” iPhone os4.

    I think that based upon the market hype and rabit all-things-Apple fans calling for a new iPhone, that there will be no appreciable financial impact done by any potential Android success.

    “If we build it,brand it and market it, they will come!” (and worship at the Apple shapped cash register). The thought in the orchard is that the new iPhone will once again, set the bar for smartphones. The question is, are they really underestimating the mobile industry senergy that Android appears to be gaining.

  • eXtorian

    The quote above is quite typical of Apple spin. Notice in the first half of the first paragraph when we’re discussing a survey of smart*phone* users, they add their iPod touch (i.e. non-phone) device numbers to boost their apparent number of smartphones and make themselves look way bigger than they really are. Then in the second half of the first paragraph they go back to just iPhones, because they know that in the second comparison if they compared all the Android powered tablets, media players, and even those Android powered washing machines out there, it would look worse for them to compare device numbers by OS alone.

    The bottom line is they’re scared. Their iPhone OS 4 feature list appears to be a desperate catch-up attempt to Android 2.1, surveys show that for customers buying new smartphones that Android phones are the most popular since March 2010. Meanwhile, Apple expect web developers to ditch all their Flash knowledge and learn HTML5 and re-write their sites just to support the iPhone’s lack of capabilities. They mostly won’t do it. People will continue to switch from iPhone to Android more and more to get the full web on their browsers.

  • stalker

    I had choice of iPhone 3GS and Nexus One. I choose Nexus One. And you know I am very happy with my decision. Love you android.

  • http://Website Ramshambo

    Well looking back a year later, it looks like Android IS the dominant platform on phones.