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With iPod Touch (& iPhone) Apple Will Rule the Mobile Web

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ipodtouchApple’s (s AAPL) iPod Touch devices might have been a hot gift over the holidays, according the data released by AdMob, a mobile advertising start-up. Apparently the iPod Touch requests more than tripled worldwide from November to December, with a particularly large spike in requests the week after Christmas. So much so, it is now the second most popular device in the AdMob network, with 4.7 percent share. iPhone is still the most popular device. [digg=]

The U.S. accounted for 70 percent of iPod Touch requests in December. iPod Touch showed good growth in Canada, the UK, Mexico, Germany and France. Combined, the iPhone and iPod Touch represent 15.5 percent of all worldwide requests. In the U.S., the iPhone OS (if you include the iPod Touch) now accounts for 48 percent of the smartphone market.

highlight_dec08 The strong sales (as indicated by the sudden spike after Christmas) of iPod Touch would make this device a bit of an x-factor in the smartphone business. Today, Apple may not be able to sell as many smartphones as RIM (s RIMM) or Nokia (s NOK), but it can still offer its app developers a bigger pool of users, thanks to the iPod Touch. In doing so, it keeps the iTunes App Store relevant, which attracts more applications. It was earlier reported that sales of apps jumped right after Christmas.

  • Smartphone share increased from 22 percent of total requests worldwide in May to 33 percent in December
  • Symbian is the No. 1 smartphone OS worldwide with a 41 percent share.
  • Worldwide RIM has a 10 percent and Windows Mobile has a 9 percent OS share. Both are strongest in North America and Latin America.
  • Android already leads Symbian in North America with 2 percent of OS share.
  • In the U.S., Palm had a 9 percent share in December, declining from 20 percent in July.

Source: AdMob Metrics Report, Dec 2008.

The iPod Touch makes a lot of sense for people who don’t want to sign up for an expensive and lengthy two-year plan for the iPhone, who simply can’t stand the patchy nature of the AT&T (s T) network, or who simply want a thinner device with longer battery life. I have been so frustrated by the AT&T network, and like millions of others I often end up using Wi-Fi to surf the web, check the email or simply use Truphone. I can do all that on an iPod Touch. So now I am considering getting rid of the iPhone and switching to a simpler voice-only service from either Sprint (s S) or Verizon (s VZ).


In closing, despite a slight plateau in the web traffic emanating from iPod Touch, it is still up considerably, and over a period of time, the iPod Touch will become an increasingly important booster of the mobile web.

43 Responses to “With iPod Touch (& iPhone) Apple Will Rule the Mobile Web”

  1. Patrick Correa

    Cell phone with windows mobile and wifi + WMWifiRouter (converts cell phone into a wifi router) + iPod Touch = best of both worlds on any cell phone provider.

    I use it with Sprint and my web browser, downloading apps, and email work perfectly!

    Next thing I have to try now is Sprint EVDO aircard + those pocket-sized aircard-to-wifi routers…

  2. I ditched the iphone as a phone and at&t as a provider for a vzw blackberry curve and couldn’t be happier with the phone service and small data needs (email, twitter, occasional browsing with opera). My next purchase will be an iPod Touch though to satisfy my browsing and other mobile device needs. If the iPhone ever comes to Verizon (big IF there) I would be a happy camper. Must say though that the Palm Pre intrigues me as well though. Will wait on that one.

  3. When I lived in the US, AT&T coverage was excellent. There were spots on my university campus where AT&T could get a good signal and VZW was dead.

    It really does depend on where you are, and who built the network ATT has bought/inherited. In Philadelphia, it was the original B-carrier (comcast metrophone -> cellularONE -> Cingular -> ATT)

  4. I decided to get the iPod Touch instead of the iPhone. I have a T-Mobile prepaid card which I use when I am in the US (in Amsterdam I have a regular postpaid T-Mobile account which is only 15 EUR per month).

    So my phone cost in the US is about $25 every 2 months (that’s roughly how long a $25 top-up lasts). With the iPod Touch, I can have all the functionality of an iPhone minus the long-term, expensive AT&T plan, which isn’t worth it because their service is so lousy. I’ve heard so many complaints from people about them. Since I work from home, I use Skype for my calls. I’ve always been very cost conscious because I run my own business and am self-funded.

    So my strategy — T-mobile prepaid + iPod Touch + Skype on my laptop — saves me so much money. I use Truphone too by the way on my Nokia phone.

  5. Steve Nagel

    The Touch may be just as important as the iPhone to Apple purposes. A larger yet pocketable iPod Touch can be the next big thing. A mobile mac that we keep with us anywhere, anytime. Just like a wallet.

    And while wifi is useful, imagine a “MacTROU” (for The Rest of Us) untethered, like the Kindle, using EVDO. And a hundred times better than the Kindle, this Mac can connect to ALL our files on MobileMe.

    Apple can charge whatever it needs to for the MacTROU, for the connectivity, and for a subscription to MobileMe. And it can collect for purchases of software, books, audio, video, whatever, which can then reside on MobileMe, always available to the MacTROU user.

    Imagine what this anywhere, anytime Mac can feature as services! And all of these revenue flows can go directly to Apple. ATT need not apply.

    It’s all about selling solutions, not simply gizmos. If Apple plays its cards right, it can replace the wallet as well as the credit cards in it.

    Last thought: Please feel free to add the Zune to the WinMob figures. Should bump it lots.

  6. Ian Batterham

    You people must be a lot smarter than me, so, can you explain how the iPod Touch is included as a smartphone to give Apple 48% market share? Is the Zune include in the WinMob figures? It may use the same OS but a “smartphone”??

  7. ipod touch is a great device… just not at the right price point yet for me. i’d like to see a 64G device for 199 and a push-to-talk like messaging + presence ping service on it (IM++). dont use much of my iphone for voice calls anyway and 3G is sucky so i find myself using the iphone where i have good wifi data link.

  8. Anonymous

    Om, I can’t believe you are trying to use Sprint. They have the worst customer service, the worst history of ripping of customers. Their collection practices are downright fraudulent. Just look at the customer complaints online. Verizon’s just a bit better

  9. I’m in the same boat as lizmoney – very happy with my Verizon mobile phone and grabbed an iPod Touch after Christmas. I just wasn’t ready to give up Verizon’s superior service when the Touch still gives me all of the features I want as long as there’s Wi-Fi nearby.

    Also, was concerned about having my iPod and phone lumped into one device. If it were to fail, like my iPod classic did three months ago, I’d be without both. There’s a lot to be said for all-in-one, but it increases the risk if the “one” up and dies!

  10. I agree with you and this is only the beginning. Apple pretty much already has a two-year lead understanding the next rev of hardware and software they need to deliver and are working hard at it.

    Faster processors, better screen resolutions, better cameras and perhaps RFID for mobile payments or wallets.

    The biggest challenge as you mentioned in your comments above, is AT&T and the reliability of their network. The buildout of the 3G network has not gone well. The iPhone certainly exposes the weakness of the infrastructure and one can only hope that they will catch up to the demand of these advanced handsets.

  11. @monal – T-M is not necessarily the best if you don’t have good coverage in your area. And ATT can be excellent if you are in the right place. Each carrier has its own pros & cons.

  12. Shelley

    I bought an iPod touch after looking at both the iPhone and the iPod touch. I’m happy with my choice. I didn’t want to switch to ATT and I love that I get all the benefits of the iPhone without the crappy ATT phone service :)
    One of my friends thought it was too expensive to get the iPod touch but when you add in the cost of service the iPhone is truly the more expensive device in the long run.

  13. I have an ipod touch and a good cell phone with Verizon and this way I get the best of both worlds, b/c I do not have to subscribe to a data/internet plan with Verizon, and I can do multimedia messaging with Verizon. Until ATT or Apple fixes the issue with multimedia messaging, I’m not sold on the iphone.

  14. When buying an iPhone, most people focus on the “i” and forget the phone. link. But ATT has to be hoping that people don’t start realizing that an iPhone with crappy voice service = the iPodTouch with a larger phone bill. The only other limitation is whether people are willing to carry 2 devices.

  15. Well, my house was part of this at Christmas. We got my son an iPod Touch and that thing has been on the web ever since Christmas morning. His battery barely gets through the day (even though he is at school for 6-7 hours) because WiFi is always on. Remarkable little device (coming from a Dad who does not really care for the iPhone).