Apple fires back about Android sales reports

It seemed like the industry had hit an important tipping point yesterday when a study from the NPD Group said U.S. Android sales had outpaced the iPhone in the first quarter. Of course, Apple had something to say about this data and how it is being interpreted.

“This is a very limited report on 150,000 U.S. consumers responding to an online survey and does not account for the more than 85 million iPhone and iPod Touch customers worldwide,” Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison told Reuters. “We had a record quarter with iPhone sales growing by 131% and with our new iPhone OS 4.0 software coming this summer, we see no signs of the competition catching up any time soon.”

I can’t really say much about the methodology because NPD is a fairly well-respected firm with solid numbers but Apple has a point about the iPod Touch. This is its secret weapon in the smartphone wars because it greatly extends the iPhone OS base and makes it a more compelling platform for developers. I don’t see an Android or webOS personal media player ever taking off in the same way the iPod line has. The Zune HD is a darn fine product but it has barely managed to make a dent. Apple could also potentially throw in the iPad in the mix, as it runs the same OS and has sold more than a million units.

Apple also said the NPD numbers don’t paint a clear picture of the smartphone market because it’s only based on the U.S. market. Other numbers indicate that Apple has the third-largest smartphone share worldwide, behind Nokia and Research In Motion. Apple’s recent quarterly earnings show the Asian markets, in particular, will be a major growth market for its touchscreen handset.

With that being said, let’s hope that Apple is just blustering for the public’s sake and doesn’t truly believe the competition isn’t catching up. I have news for you Steve Jobs: there are handsets out there that are just as good, if not better than the iPhone (some even look better than next-gen iPhone). I’m talking about handsets like the EVO 4G, Droid Incredible and some of Dell’s upcoming smartphones are downright lust-worthy.

[Via Reuters]

  • dmamobile

    I think Apple can run, but they can't hide… Android's model is cut to fit for the move of smartphones into the cheaper demographics. You can already (here in the UK) see plenty of Android devices getting promotion on the High St. They're cool, they're cheap, they come with apps – it's all good.

  • Clarence Dempsey

    What is being compared here, Smartphones or Instuments on a certain type of Software?
    Does the NPD Group report compare Smartphone to IPhone Sales?

    • marinperez

      NPD is focusing on smartphones. Apple's just trying to jump into the conversation because the last few days have been filled with "Android outselling iPhone" headlines and you know that makes Jobs mad.

  • Richard

    Reading this actually makes me laugh, obviously Apple must be more worried about it than they are leading on otherwise why even respond. NPD's numbers are representative of the short term growth of the Android platform of course Apple's growth will be slowing since they don't have the new iPhone out yet.

    Why you choose to drag the iPod and iPad into the discussion I don't know. They are mobile devices but aren't true smartphones, which AFAIK is the only platform NPD was researching.

    • marinperez

      Well, I think Apple's point about the iPhone OS devices out there is valid because that's a key draw to developers. Whether I like it or no, it looks like the amount and quality of apps are what will determine the winner of the smartphone wars.

  • David

    The only reason Apple has numbers like that is that they are going off sales, and yes those numbers will be high. How many people have had to replace their Iphone or Ipod due to it breaking. Remove the number of people that repleaced it only once (not counting those that have had to replace it multiple times) and I think you will see alot less of a gap. If Steve does not watch out Android is going to make Apple a foot note in Smartphone history

    • Miah360

      I agree and don't understand why not many other people mention this. Also, a lot of people that have the iphone are also the ones that have the itouch and now the ipad. These should only be counted as one because if they buy an app for the iphone they are not and don't need to buy it again for the ipad and itouch. This goes the same for the husband and family users too.

  • pmarcovi

    Nobody mentions that the sales of all Android smartphones irrespective of their manufacturer are included. That's like saying whatever is running Android OS is included, that's why Apple refers to other devices running iPhone OS. Bottom line, if we are strictly talking about hardware, iPhone is way ahead of all other individual Android based phones manufacturers; nobody makes money from selling Android, they are making money by selling the hardware …

    • marinperez

      Good points. I think both sides are just using semantic arguments to get the best marketing.

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