Here are some of the interesting things that happened this week in the mobile industry with my usual insightful commentary.
Apple Q2 Product Shipments
Last week Apple announced their 2012 Q2 numbers and with it they shared statistics of sales of their devices.
- 35.1MM iPhones – 88% YoY growth
- 11.8MM iPads – 151% YoY growth
- 4MM Macs – 7% increase
- 7.7MM iPods – 15% decline
We also learned that Apple has sold a total of 67MM iPads in the two years since its introduction. As a comparison, it took iPhone three years to sell that many.
My Take: Some analysts called this ‘disappointing’ as they did not sell as many iPhones and iPads as predicted. Here’s a protip – when you hear analysts say anything about Apple is ‘disappointing’ that means that Apple is doing phenomenally well.
AT&T and Verizon sell more iPhones than other smartphones
The carriers also announced their Q2 numbers last week and from that we learned that the iPhone is the leading smartphone for AT&T and Verizon.
AT&T activated 4.3 million iPhones in Q2. This is 75% of all smartphones it activated in the quarter. More interestingly, it also represents 60% of all postpaid phones in the quarter.
Verizon activated 3.2 million iPhones which is just more than 50% of the 6.3 million smartphones it sold.
Sprint sold 1.5 million, but did not say how that compared to other phones but did say that 44% of those iPhone customers were new customers to Sprint.
My Take: There was the question of whether Android would continue to dominate smartphone sales once iPhone was available on all US carriers and now I think we have an idea to the answer. If these numbers continue iPhone may catch up on overall marketshare against Android.
It seems that for all of the features that iPhones are criticized for not have (e.g. a big screen, LTE, removable battery, NFC) sales are not hurting. It is particularly interesting how well the iPhone did against 4G LTE phones on Verizon. For all the marketing of their ultrafast LTE network, half of the smartphones Verizon sold last quarter use their decidedly slower 3G network.
Several new high profile Android 4.0 phones are coming out soon (such as the HTC One series and the Samsung Galaxy S III) so it will be interesting to see if buyers are waiting for the latest and greatest Android phones.
WWDC Sells out in two hours
Apple’s yearly World Wide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) is going to be held June 11-15. Apple will most likely introduce iOS 6 at the event. The remarkable thing about WWDC this year is that the event sold out its seats at $1600 each in about two hours. In 2011 year it took 11 hours. In 2010 it took 8 days. In 2009 it took a month.
My Take: I think we can conclude that developer interest in iOS remains very strong. One lunatic person is actually offering to legally change his name to get a ticket to WWDC!
Amazon Kindle Fire leads Android tablets
comScore published numbers this week claiming that the Kindle Fire has a 54.5% share of the Android tablet market. Not bad considering that it went on sale in November. The Samsung Galaxy Tab “Family” came in second at 15.4%.
My Take: This has to be killing Google. Even though the Fire runs Android it is a custom build forked by Amazon and does not include any of the Google apps. This means it does not bring users into the Google ecosystem where they can see ads.
Google is supposed to release a 7″ tablet for $199 this summer to compete with Amazon so we’ll see if people are buying the Fire because it is $199 or if they want the Amazon experience. In this battle of ecosystems, Amazon probably has the edge.
Android passes 50% of US Smartphone subscribers
Google did get some good news when comScore posted its February 2012 US smartphone subscriber report showing that Android has passed the 50% mark (with 50.1%) of the US smartphone market.
My Take: Without any serious competition, Google’s and Apple’s platforms will continue to dominate the smartphone world. Google should expect more good numbers as new devices with Android 4.0 are starting to hit the market.
Windows Phone 8 won’t run on current hardware
It looks like bad news for current owners of Windows Phones, including the brand new Lumia 900. According to the Verge a “highly trusted source” said that the next major version of Windows Phone, codenamed Apollo, will not run on current hardware when it ships this fall. A Microsoft evangelist who earlier claimed that Apollo would run on existing hardware recanted and said he was mistaken.
Also see ZDNet
The speculation as to why this is so is that Apollo will have a different underlying operating system kernel than Windows Phone 7.5. WP7.5 uses Windows CE. Apollo will, supposedly, use Windows 8 as the kernel. This would require more hardware resources (CPU, RAM, etc.) than current Windows Phones have.
My Take: Why is it that only Apple can provide timely updates for their phones? Google can’t seem to do it, RIM couldn’t, and it looks like Microsoft won’t be able to either.
I can understand the technical reasons why Apollo won’t run on current handsets, but that doesn’t help people who AT&T is heavily marketing to right now. I really couldn’t recommend anyone to buy a Windows Phone now knowing they will be stuck with the current software for two years. Two years is a LONG time for a phone.
Being a phone geek, this is probably a bigger issue for me than most people who probably don’t realize that updating system software is something that is even possible. I’m sure many, if not most, people run the software that came on their phone and are very happy with it. Still, I think it is a bad precedent for Microsoft to set especially when they are trying to gain market share.
I’m also disappointed in this as I was hoping for Windows Phone to get some steam and be a competitor to iOS and Android. The industry needs more competition to keep innovation happening. Windows Phone seemed to have a chance to do that with its Metro interface. Windows Phone will get a lot of bad press from this and that will not help adoption. Microsoft and Nokia are running out of time if they ever want to own a significant portion of the market.
And that’s the news. Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow.