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Report: iOS Driving Apple Market Share

The latest data from web metrics firm Net Applications reinforces the notion that iOS is the future for Apple (s aapl), 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 (s msft). 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 goog)’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 (s orcl) 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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6 Responses to “Report: iOS Driving Apple Market Share”

  1. OS X isn’t going away anytime soon. More and more people go for MacBooks; many creative professionals (designers, movie makers etc.) even get iMacs, and most importantly, 2010 wasn’t about Mac OS! It was the year of iOS. Of the first generation iPad, the first iOS tablet device; of iPhone 4, the biggest leap in the history of the iPhone; of iOS 4, which fuels the new iPhone and brings new, important features to it.

    2009 was the year of Mac OS X – Apple released Snow Leopard. iPhone 3GS wasn’t revolutionary, it was just an upgrade; that year, it was more about Mac OS.

    2008, Apple released iPhone 3G (a significant upgrade) and no new Mac OS version.

    2007, Apple released both the first iPhone and Mac OS Leopard.

    Can you see a pattern here? 2008 is for iOS, 2009 is for Mac OS, 2010 is for iOS, 2011 will be… all about Mac OS, again? The fact that making a new iPhone, which is NOT to iPhone 4 like 3GS was to 3G in such a short time is highly unlikely. I suppose there will be a new Mac OS X upgrade and a new iPhone which won’t differ from the current one too much. The iPad will surely see some updates as well.

  2. Narayanan

    Let us see..

    iPhone grew from 0.35 to .75 while Android grew from .02 to .1
    In absolute growth that is .4 vs .1
    When in factor in a larger market space, the iPhone growth trounces Android based on net access.
    Geez, I wonder why most of the Androids are not being used to access the web??

  3. Of course, this is not a zero sum game. And there’s no way OS X is that small in the market share game. They are at least close to 10 percent. Considering the fact that OS X is growing at twice the pace of the PC market, proves the underlying assumption of the article is flat out wrong.

    It’s like saying because the Space Shuttle accelerates faster than a Kawasaki Ninja, that means the Ninja is slowing down. When in fact it is accelerating. But the problem isn’t so much that as the fact that NetApplications is not giving a precise measure of the real world. So all the numbers are suspect, and not just the ones about OS X.