According to web metrics firm Net Applications, July was a very good month for Apple (s aapl). OS X was sharply higher in usage, while the iPhone 3GS launch boosted Apple mobile numbers, and version 4 of Safari effectively replaced version 3 for those using Apple’s browser.
What can you say when your main competitor, Microsoft (s msft) Windows, has 93 percent of the market? At least OS X is not Linux, which just topped 1 percent of client usage worldwide. As for OS X, it now measures 4.86 percent, up from 4.7 percent in June. If an increase of 0.16 percent doesn’t seem like much, consider that last year at this time OS X market share measured 3.54 percent. That’s about a 33 percent increase in a year. Next month, it’s possible OS X could see 5 percent worldwide share. OS X is on the way up, though not as fast as iPhone OS.
While iPhone OS measures just over a third of a percent of all operating systems, that represents around 50 million users. It’s also a tenfold increase from when the original iPhone was launched in June 2007, and as the chart shows, that trend is accelerating. With the rollout of the iPhone 3GS worldwide, especially the imminent release in China, it’s quite possible there could be 100 million iPhone OS users by this time next year. Even if that number isn’t realized, in less than two years, the iPhone OS has become the leader among mobile operating systems, at least according to Net Applications.
It should be noted that the above accounts for only 0.88 percent of all OS usage, according to Net Applications. Again, that’s a lot of users, perhaps more than 100 million, and Apple is moving towards a user majority. Speaking of majority, Safari 4 has reached one of its own.
Microsoft can only look longingly at the upgrade rate for Safari compared with Internet Explorer. In less than two months since Safari 4 was officially released at WWDC 09, a majority of users have transitioned to the latest version. Of course, Internet Explorer still commands two-thirds of the browser market, but alternatives, including Safari, continue to make inroads. Safari usage topped 4 percent in July, 4.07 percent to be exact, a new all-time high, and up from 3.79 percent in June. The big boost was likely the result of Apple’s near-record quarter for Mac sales, as new users started surfing with their shiny 13″ MacBook Pros.
July was indeed a good month for Apple, but the good news is arguably tempered by Net Applications’ new policy on weighting the numbers. The company has retroactively adjusted its reports “proportionally based on how much traffic we record from a country vs. how many Internet users that country has.” What this means is that China Internet users, among others, now have a proportionally larger role in determining the numbers. Since the U.S. accounts for slightly less than half of Mac usage, Apple’s numbers have pretty much been halved. Nonetheless, the same trends can still be followed, and those trends point to increased strength for Apple’s platforms, and that matters to OS X and iPhone OS users everywhere.