Tim Cook biceps

Though massive, the iPhone business has plenty of room to grow because only a small fraction of Apple’s installed base upgraded to the latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 models. Fewer than fifteen percent of recent Apple buyers had an iPhone, with the remaining 85 percent of sales coming from switchers who used to own a non-Apple handset, in most cases Android.

That’s the gist of an interview Apple CEO Tim Cook gave to the Wall Street Journal’s last evening. In other words, the vast majority of new iPhones were purchased by former Android users.

“We certainly believe there are legs to it,” Cook told writer Daisuke Wakabayashi of the iPhone sales surge. Previously on an earnings call, the CEO noted that only a “fraction” of iPhone user base has upgraded to the latest model, a “low teens” percentage of the installed base as he put it.

“The current iPhone line up experienced the highest Android switcher rate in any of the last three launches in the three previous years,” he said. “I would also point out that we had the highest number of customers new to iPhone last quarter than in any prior launch.”

Other data points support Cook’s claims.

Apple Q42014 earnings WSJ infographic

Given the company posted spectacular iPhone sales, it must have stole market share from Android vendors. As per Strategy Analytics, Apple has become the top smartphone vendor in the world, tied with Samsung.

IDC’s own numbers, which went live earlier today, indicate a near tie. Ahead of Apple’s earning report, research firm Canalys estimated Apple had become the top smartphone seller in China.

This is in stark contrast to the previous quarter when Apple registered as the #6 smartphone maker in China with just nine percent market share. The bigger iPhones were no doubt a huge draw for many non-Apple customers in the 1.33 billion people country.

The Cupertino firm is also China’s #1 luxury gift seller, beating out French luxury maker Hermès and the likes of Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel.

Lastly, research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) indicated in today’s survey (PDF document) that the increased switcher rate from Android to iPhone appears to be focused outside the United States.

CIRP Android to iPhone switchers

Noting that the rate of Android switchers migrating to the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus has remained virtually unchanged in the United States, CIRP Partner and Co-Founder Mike Levin concluded that “Apple enjoyed a much higher rate of Android switching outside the US than in the more mature US market.”

My guess is that this may have something to do with the fact that most U.S. phone sales are tied to long-term contracts. By contrast, customers across Asia and in many European countries typically buy phones separate from their wireless service.

This means they’re free to upgrade anytime they wish. Would-be switchers in the U.S. can’t are unable to jump ship until their contract expires or they become eligible for an upgrade.

In case you missed it, Apple announced mammoth earnings, reporting the most profitable quarter of any company, ever. Taking home $18 billion in profit, a 38 percent increase, Apple earned more money than the Russian oil giant Gazprom.

This is startling because Apple sells non-essential products, but everyone needs gas so oil giants typically report obscene profits.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

  • This was inevitable. As soon as Apple provided a phone that competed with Android devices on size, game over. What else did those phones offer sans size? I think this tells us the answer: not much.

    • Frank Anthony

      Can’t agree more, Jeff. REAL GAME OVER!

    • Joshua The-Legend Wiebe

      Let’s wait to see the numbers for the new iPhone

    • Andy

      So why did you buy a Samsung Galaxy S5 last year then? It can’t be just because of 4k video recording.

      • Jason Baroni

        Since you probably still don’t have a 4k tv or monitor, like most people don’t. :p

      • BoardDWorld

        Even on the MacBook Airs display 4K videos look a whole lot better. There’s no doubt I have been a bit jealous lately of competitions, displays, multitasking capabilities & camera hardware.

        Strangely these results come when competition is truly becoming extremely competitive. Congrats to Apple.

      • Jason Baroni

        Yeap. It’s just a feature. Bigger iPhones were a need, and these facts and numbers prove it.

      • BoardDWorld

        I never understood why he chose the S5 over a Note 3.

      • George

        Because he was tired of the same shit apple gives birth to every year.

    • Guest

      Yeah most people i knew left iphones and got the Galaxy s3 for the bigger screen as the iphone 4s was just too small and have all now got iphone 6s

    • Dan

      Removable battery, wireless charging (not as important but still useful), extra memory via micro sd, access to root files, customizable ui to name a few. Not knocking the iPhone, but some people have other reasons other than screen size.

      • James G

        Not 75 million people. As in the mostly 75 million who bought iPhones in the last three months.

      • Dan

        Not really my point. Saying there are advantages other than screen size.

      • James G

        I agree with the points you are making, I just think they aren’t relevant to a large majority of consumers. Mostly just tech people who like to tinker…of which I’m sure we both are.

      • Dan

        True. I’m a techie 🙂

      • Francisco farias

        Do you really use all that? And by the way, why do some android people root their phones and change their rom?

      • Dan

        Yeah I use those features, why I mentioned it. As for Roms, I don’t use them. I use launchers to theme my phone and add features (Nova launcher).

      • Kr00

        Most people just want to use their phones, not fiddle with root access.

      • Sleaka J

        You know what 99% of Android users think customisation on their phone is? Changing wallpaper, ring tone and text tones.

        I guarantee you, 99% of Android users do not customise their phone any further than that.

      • Dan

        Then they are missing out. I like to tweak everything to my liking. I used to do the same with jailbreak tweaks. Most iphone users don’t jail break either so…

      • Sleaka J

        They don’t care that Android can have a removable battery, wireless charging, micro sd, access to root files, widgets, Tasker, customizable ui, etc…

      • Dan

        Beauty of choices man, we can buy what’s better for us.

        My point simply in response to:
        What else did those phones offer sans size? I think this tells us the answer: not much

        So I enumerated other factors that some people care about.

      • Sleaka J

        No, “not much” was correct, because not enough people care about the “other factors”, only the few
        who like to fiddle with their phones.

      • Dan

        Just because most people are too lazy(and or) dumb to use all of the features doesn’t mean they are not offered. Thus the initial statement saying that the phones did not offer anything other than size is still wrong. Anyways, opinions ate like @ss holes, everyone has one. I have mine, you have yours. Have a good one.

    • Star Lord

      I just hope it doesn’t put hindrance in innovation because the better the competition the good the innovation.

    • BozzyB

      Game over? Check out the latest market shares below. 1042 Million Android phones against 192 Million iphones. That’s about 5 times (!) more Android phones shipped. Apple’s unawareness and ignorance cost them Billions the last years because they did not serve the market with what it wanted: bigger phones. This is not a sign of having something in control. Moreover it shows insecureness and that they lag behind.
      Now they just steped up where they should have been years before. No need to cheer too euphorical…

      • Kr00

        Ummm, shipments do not equal sales. We all know the trick of reporting shipments to boost the spreadsheet. Now if you can show me sales (you won’t, because the likes of samescum don’t report sales) then we might get a true picture, not one distorted by the number of devices shipped to a warehouse.

      • BozzyB

        You are mixing up two different things. The table above compares android shipments to ios shipments – not shiphments to sales. If you doubt the numbers of android you also have to doubt the ios ones. We assume that the numbers are in a correct relation – if they show reality or not. But the way they were counted is equal on both sides.
        Moreover you won’t doubt that 1 Billion Android phones are still in stock won’t you?

      • Kr00

        Apple reported sales of record proportions this week, and this article is about people switching, yet you bring out a table of shipments which actually proves nothing. Maybe you should look at the 64% dive in samsung sales recently. Sales count, shipment tables mean nothing.

      • BozzyB

        Man, if you take a look at Q4 ’14 there are almost exactly the sales of iphones showing up in the 74,5 Million Shipments! So you CAN regard 1042,7 Million shipments as sales in this table! So your sales/shipmemt conspiracy theory is no argument. And though 64% dive of samsung they still sold the same amount (around 75 Million) phones like Apple. And Samsung is not Android. That’s all I want to point out..

      • Kr00

        Majority of those shipments were direct to the customer. I doubt there’s any iPhones sitting in a warehouse somewhere unlike Samsung.

      • Sleaka J

        Can any Android manufacturer claim largest profit by any business worldwide in a single quarter?

        Of course not, because you can sell loads of cheap shit all day and not make any money.

      • BozzyB

        No but there are – like you say – lots of manufactures for android and not only one. I don’t have any numbers of profits for the android segment. Would be interesting to know.
        This what you call “cheap shit” is also sold by Apple but just 5 times the price. Buy a “cheap shit” phone for 180$ and you have the same or better experience than an iphone.
        I wouldn’t be happy or feel smart as a customer to pay a company 5 times the money for “cheap shit” in aluminium which bends and scratches.

      • Sleaka J

        Lump all Android OEMs into one lot and keep saying “market share” “market-share” “marketshare” and keep saying it like it means something, cause you know marketshare, not money pays the bills.

        When you need to move the goal posts, split up Android OEMs so you don’t look as bad against Apple. You’ll still look bad, just not AS bad.

        Keep that up and you’ll be asked to join the fandroids in no time champ.

  • Serge Bodin

    Android fanboys. Just let that sink in for a moment.

  • mp

    Are mobile phones considered a ‘non-essential’ item as mentioned in article? I bet those without a vehicle have a phone. 🙂

  • Steven Code

    Going back to apple soon! I can not wait!!!!

  • TIL: Apple could buy Netflix 6 times if they wanted to.

    Why haven’t they bought them yet?

    • Star Lord

      hmm .. Netflix + iTunes could be Interesting.

    • George

      They wasted money on beatz.

  • iPhoneWINS

    iphone FTW

  • LAGISSUEZ

    Dang, Tim cook looks kind of jacked. You can tell by his arms in that pic. Looks like he gets his swole on.

  • CtKiDd78

    The day will come when there will be nothing but iPhones to buy, and then what is everybody going to argue about or the media report on?

  • Will the first iteration be used for years to come only to bite into android, and the second be to sustain peace in its own ecosystem? I suppose only time will tell. Make the 6S for us 5S users.

  • Dante Arellano

    Well i remenber when androide users said than their phone was better cus they have biger screen and widges in the home screen??? samesug phones was horrible shitty plastic shite sice always the stupid interface or os is crappy and bugy as fuckk its clear the androide users are changing their shitty samesung for a premium aluminum and glass iphone is not perfect but We love it any way

    • Dan

      You know Samsung are not the only android phones out there right? Look at Sony xperia and HTC M8. Even Samsung is starting to improve their build.

      • Sleaka J

        But it takes a Quad-core 2+GHz CPU to do that.

      • Dan

        I don’t care about specs dude, if the phone runs smooth and does what I want, that’s all that matters 😉

      • Sleaka J

        If my OS choice required over 50% more clock speed and twice as many cores to run nearly as well, I’d say that too. But nobody would believe that or anything else I said.

      • Dan

        What’s your problem man? I’ve objectively stated why for the moment I prefer android (several features not included in iOS). Notice how I mention that it is MY choice. If you feel like you need to put down people for liking something else other than iOS, you seriously need to reevaluate your priorities.

      • Sleaka J

        You stand on your pedestal and declare there are “some people have reasons other than screen size” and then listing shit that people just don’t care about on an iOS blog. We all know you’re just trying to feel superior.

        Get over yourself.

      • Dan

        Don’t get your panties in a bunch. I stated my opinion and I am free to do so. Don’t like it, don’t respond, like I will do with any further comment on your part. If I were indeed on a pedestal, I would trashed iPhone or iOS, which I didn’t. You should get over yourself.

      • Sleaka J

        You don’t have to trash iOS in order to give the impression that you think Android is superior. You just need to arrogantly list a bunch of … sorry I mean “enumerated other factors”… Seriously, did you even read what you wrote? The air must be pretty thin up there.

  • Cmlo_

    Does any know how to take off the app and dock words of the apps in running jailbreak 8.0.2