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Apple iPhone more popular than all Android smartphones in US combined in Q4: report

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In the US, Apple’s iPhone has surpassed the smartphone market share of all Android devices combined during the final three months of 2012, according to new numbers out from research firm Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, as reported by Reuters. But the difference is almost invisible: Apple owned 44.9 percent of the market; handsets running Google’s Android operating system owned just 44.8 percent.

Though the difference in popularity may be small, Apple’s growth is anything but. By Kantar’s count, Apple’s market share has doubled over the past year alone, while Android devices have fallen about 5 percent, from a high of 50 percent. Windows Phone devices now account for less than 2 percent, on average, across nine key world markets.

A recent study from Nielsen corroborates Kantar’s numbers. According to Nielsen, 44.5 percent of customers who purchased a smartphone during the last three months of 2012 bought an iPhone, and 57 percent of those buyers got the iPhone 4S, Apple’s newest handset. At that time, Android still remained the No. 1 smartphone category, with 46.9 percent of buyers going for a Google-powered device.  

News of Apple’s new-found dominance in the US smartphone game follows the company’s latest quarterly earnings report, which showed record iPhone and iPad sales, and a record revenue of $46.3 billion. Apple sold 37.04 million iPhones during the quarter (which spanned the final three months of 2011), a 128 percent increase over the same period in 2010. And iPad sales jumped 111 percent year-over-year, to 15.43 million.

While Apple’s iPhone sales are staggering, it’s more surprising that the entire Android market put together is failing to beat back a single line of handsets — even if they are Apple handsets. We would be surprised in Android doesn’t surge back into first place over the coming months, as more and more customers go for far faster 4G LTE-enabled devices, which the iPhone 4S is not.