Hey there! If you‘re wondering about the ongoing competition between the two major mobile operating systems – Android and iOS – you‘ve come to the right place. As an industry analyst, I‘m going to break down the history and explain everything you want to know about the Android versus iOS market share battle.
A Brief History of Mobile OS Supremacy
First, let‘s rewind and look at how we got here. Android and iOS have led the mobile computing era, but iOS had a head start.
Apple unveiled the first iPhone running iOS on January 9, 2007. The first iOS (then dubbed iPhone OS) was quite limited compared to today‘s versions. There was no App Store and no ability to install third-party apps! That came later in 2008.
Google entered the scene a year later, purchasing Android Inc. and debuting the Android operating system in the fall of 2008. The first Android phone, the HTC Dream, launched on October 22, 2008, initially running Android version 1.0.
But Android soon outpaced iOS in market share thanks to its open source approach. By 2012, Android had claimed the top spot worldwide. Let‘s look at their growth trends since then.
Android Market Share Domination
As of December 2022, Android commands a 71.56% global market share of all mobile operating systems. That‘s up from just 16.9% market share in May 2010 when Android first overtook iOS.
iOS currently sits at 27.22% market share globally according to the latest data from StatCounter. That‘s down slightly from its peak of 29.9% in January 2012.
Here‘s how the worldwide market share between the two platforms has evolved over the past decade:
|Year||Android Market Share||iOS Market Share|
As you can see, the gap remains massive. Android has controlled over 70% market share since 2016, peaking at over 81% in 2018.
What fueled Android‘s meteoric growth? A few key factors:
- Open source model – Multiple manufacturers could tinker with and customize Android for their devices.
- Affordability – Android phones were available at far lower price points than iPhones.
- Pre-installs – Android was adopted as the OS for non-phone devices like tablets, TVs, cars.
- Developing markets – Android phones became accessible to billions of new internet users.
Meanwhile, iOS is limited exclusively to Apple devices. But that has some perks too…
iOS Strongholds Stand Firm
While Android dominates globally, iOS retains majority control in some lucrative developed markets.
As of 2022, iOS commands a majority in the United States (56.51%), Canada (55.38%), Australia (54.74%), and Japan (71.29%).
Apple‘s home turf advantage in the US is well illustrated in the market share trends over the past 5 years:
|Year||iOS U.S. Market Share||Android U.S. Market Share|
iOS consistently controls well over 50% market share, despite the greater global ubiquity of Android devices.
The reasons behind Apple and iOS‘ enduring popularity in wealthier regions like North America include:
- Strong brand loyalty and premium status symbol.
- Tight integration between iPhone hardware and iOS.
- Apple ecosystem creates stickiness with services like iMessage, Apple Pay, iCloud.
- Perception of greater security and privacy protections.
But Android is catching up in some of these iOS strongholds. The launch of cheaper 5G iPhones like the iPhone SE could help Apple widen its lead in places like the US.
What Does the Future Hold?
Looking ahead, I expect Android will maintain its commanding worldwide market share. The flexibility and cost advantages of Google‘s open source OS are hard for Apple to match globally.
However, don‘t expect iOS to cede any ground in high-income regions where Apple loyalty runs deep. The launch of the first AR/VR headset from Apple could take iPhone ecosystem lock-in to the next level.
As smartphone market growth slows, both giants are diversifying into new device categories like smartwatches and tablets. Android has made tablet inroads against Apple‘s iPad. But Apple Watch still dominates smartwatches.
The next major platform battleground will be in vehicles. Google‘s Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are competing fiercely to control auto infotainment displays. Whichever company locks down long-term automaker partnerships first could gain a significant strategic advantage.
So in summary, while Android should continue leading in worldwide market share into the foreseeable future, I don‘t foresee any major disruptions to iOS loyalty in their home territories. The smartphone operating system duopoly will likely stand strong for years to come.
Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m happy to share more insights into the Android vs. iOS competitive dynamics as an industry analyst. This matchup has shaped the modern mobile computing era.