Apple rules the skies: 84% of in-flight Internet use comes from iDevices

GoGo in-flight Internet use (chart 003)

In-flight Wi-Fi provider GoGo yesterday released an interesting infographic based on its real-world data on what devices passengers are using to access its service and what they are doing online. Apple’s iPhones and iPads dominated 2012 with a commanding 84 percent share, which sounds about right even if the figure is a bit higher than Apple’s other web usage stats.

Android is gaining some ground in the air, so to speak, and in 2012 accounted for sixteen percent of in-flight Internet use, sharply up over just 3.2 percent in 2011. Apple’s share in 2011 was 96.8 percent so clearly the company lost some ground to Android.

Five Apples for every Android on Gogo’s networks is in stark contrast to other surveys highlighting Android’s unit sales lead. Nonetheless, this is a real-world data point, therefore suggesting that either other market share estimates are inherently flawed or that Android-totting passengers are just not as fond of using their devices on a plane as their Apple peers are…

Or, as Daring Fireball’s John Gruber puts it, it’s more evidence that “iPhone and Android users are not the same.”

Apple’s iPad is the most popular device to access GoGo’s in-flight Wi-Fi networks. Laptops are second, followed by iPhones. GoGo writes in a blog posting that “Apple devices are still reigning above the clouds, following the tablet trend with the iPad being the device of choice.”

Tablets in general are the most preferred device to connect to GoGo’s networks (35 percent), followed closely by laptops (33 percent) and smartphones (32 percent).

GoGo in-flight Internet use (chart 002)

As for smartphones only, nearly three out of each four smartphones connecting to GoGo’s in-flight networks in 2012 were iPhones (73 percent) while all Android devices made up an additional 26 percent.

Blackberrys and Windows based devices are a rounding error, accounting for less than one percent each.

And what are passengers doing online while above the clouds?

GoGo in-flight Internet use (chart 001)

Surfing the web leads a list of in-air activities, followed by accessing work and personal email, social networking services, news and weather reports (go figure), maps, checking sports scores and shopping.

Unsurprisingly, Safari is the most popular browser in the air, followed by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Google’s Chrome and Mozilla’s Firefox.

Internet Explorer’s #2 ranking is explainable given the laptop’s 33 percent share of most-surfed devices and work related actives ranking second in the above chart as most corporate services require Microsoft’s browser.

GoGo’s service covers much of the in-air Internet use in North America: it’s found on more than 1,800 aircrafts across ten major airlines.

What’s your preferred device to stay connected in the air?

And what do you use it for once you connect at 30,000 feet?