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Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus going strong in US, stealing Samsung’s thunder in South Korea

According to a new report, Apple’s smartphones accounted for half of all smartphone activations in the U.S. in the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2014. This is yet another sign pointing to Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus taking center stage when the company announces its Q1 FY15 earnings next week on Jan. 27.

In Q4 2014, Apple’s phones had 50 percent of all smartphone activations in the U.S., according to research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners LLC (CIRP). It’s no surprise that the company’s new flagship phones drove that impressive number up from 28 percent in Q3 2014.

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“The strength of the September 2014 launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus fueled Apple’s dominance in U.S. mobile phone sales this quarter,” according to Josh Lowitz, partner and co-founder of CIRP. “

Samsung finished Q4 2014 in second place with 26 percent of U.S. phone activations, while LG had 11 percent. Motorola (4 percent), HTC (2 percent) and Nokia (2 percent) trailed far behind.

“The Amazon Fire and Blackberry smartphones registered slight share, which we attribute to random sample fluctuation as much as actual sales,” said Lowitz.

The CIRP report also notes that 86 percent of Apple customers upgraded from an older iPhone after the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were launched. “Samsung and LG saw far lower loyalty rates, with 25 percent of Samsung owners and 18 percent of LG owners who activated a phone in the quarter switching to an iPhone,” according to Lowitz.

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A separate report from IT research and advisory firm 451 Research found that 56 percent of respondents to a December survey said they plan to purchase an iPhone in the next 90 days.

Apple also appears to be making strong headway in Samsung’s home turf: Technology market research company Counterpoint Research reports that Apple’s market share in South Korea more than doubled to 33 percent in November, thanks to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.