Report: iOS Driving Apple Market Share

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The latest data from web metrics firm Net Applications reinforces the notion that iOS is the future for Apple, and Mac OS X is the past.

A year ago, OS X accounted for 5.12 percent of the overall OS market, according to Net Applications. In the year since, OS X has gone has high as 5.33 percent, as low as 5.00 percent, and is now at 5.03 percent. In contrast, a year ago “iPhone OS” was at 0.35 percent, and since then, has seen both a name change to iOS and a near tripling of share at 1.18 percent.

Last month, iOS passed Linux, taking third in market share after OS X and, of course, Windows. While iOS won’t pass Mac OS X this year, next year isn’t beyond the realm of the possible. Apple will likely sell between 12 and 15 million Macs in 2011, compared with somewhere between 75 and 100 million iOS devices.

Clearly, the future is mobile, though the good news for the Mac is that iOS devices are probably leading to more computer sales, the long-theorized “Halo Effect.” However, the bad news for Apple is Android’s growing popularity, though it’s not too bad, at least according to Net Applications, which derives market share data from web browser usage.

While it’s important to note that the leading mobile operating systems account for only about three percent of the overall OS market according to Net Applications, that still represents tens of millions of users. Looking at those millions, iOS is still clearly the leader, ahead of even Java Micro Edition. Android is pretty far back at nine percent, though it will pass Symbian by the end of the year. By then, iOS may account for a majority of mobile market share, though looking at just the iPhone paints a different picture.

While other metric firms have Android smartphones overtaking the iPhone, Net Applications shows the iPhone still well ahead, though Android is gaining quickly. Last year, the iPhone was at 0.35 percent of overall market share, while Android was 0.02 percent. This year, three months after the iPhone 4 launch, the iPhone is at 0.75 percent, more than doubling share. Android is at 0.10, five times what it was a year ago.

With Android entering the tablet market in a big way in 2011, the gap will close quickly. Next year may be the last iOS is ahead of Android according to any metric or firm, but Apple’s mobile platform isn’t likely to fade into the background anytime soon, either.

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