Just as we predicted, Apple’s deal with T-Mobile has turned things around for the iPhone maker. The deal, in which T-Mobile became the first major US carrier to offer unlocked iPhones at full price rather than subsidized through a two-year contract, has been a big hit with consumers, who made the iPhone the number one smartphone on T-Mobile in the three month period ending in May. That’s given Apple a rare reprieve from the steady takeover of the market by Google’s Android operating system. Android-based phones held steady at 52% of the US market during those three months, while the iPhone is now at 41.9%, a 3.5% gain, say new data from surveys by Kantar.
Of those buying a smartphone on T-Mobile, 53% were upgrading from a simple “feature phone,” versus the typical industry average of 45%. That means the iPhone isn’t taking market share from Android: It’s sucking up more first-time smartphone buyers, exactly the customers who are key to Apple’s future health.
Outside the US, though, Apple still faces an uphill battle and continues to lose market share. Worldwide, Android has greater than 70% market share.