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Why Apple’s ‘black hole’ ecosystem gives it the edge over Android smartphones

by David Needle

May 1 2013

Smartphones like Samsung's Galaxy S4 will challenge the iPhone, but Yankee Group says Apple's device will remain popular.
Smartphones like Samsung's Galaxy S4 will challenge the iPhone, but Yankee Group says Apple's device will remain popular.

Depending on which research firm you to talk to, Apple’s iPad still holds around a slight majority or just under half the tablet market. Not so in smartphones, where a plethora of Android devices has taken a clear lead.

Android was used on 49.3% of smartphones sold in the US in the first quarter of 2013, versus 43.7% for Apple's iOS (i.e. iPhone), according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Newer Android models could widen the gap, notably the Samsung Galaxy S4 that some are calling an iPhone killer. But research firm Yankee Group says the iPhone is well-positioned to regain its lead.

An analysis of 16,000 U.S. consumers surveyed by Yankee Group in March shows that Android ownership in the U.S. has “flattened out.” Conversely, the researchers predict iPhone ownership will rebound to be bigger than Android over the next three years.

Why? A big reason is customer loyalty.

Yankee Group analysts say Apple’s “black hole” ecosystem captures subscribers who never leave, while Android smartphones are losing one out of every six customers to other manufacturers. 

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