It may not be immediately apparent, but Apple claiming this week that the iPhone is still stacks ahead of Android around the globe makes a little bit of history in itself.
That’s because it’s extremely rare for Apple to ever comment on third-party sales figures. As such, the fact the claim came as a response to a press release by the NPD Group that suggested Google’s OS is actually outpacing iPhone in the US is somewhat surprising, if not understandable.
The press release was based on NPD’s numbers for unit sales to consumers in the first financial quarter of 2010. NPD said that Android accounted for 28 percent of all sales, and the iPhone only racked up 21 percent. Both trailed BlackBerry, in first position with a mighty 36 percent.
But such numbers go against the grain somewhat, with almost all other third-party statistics– though cumulative, rather than for just one quarter– putting iPhone comfortably ahead of Android.
It’s for that reason, perhaps, that Apple has chosen to break its usual silence regarding sales speculation to respond to the NPD Group’s claims– claims that could, in the long run, prove damaging to iPhone support from publishers and developers if it’s believed they have currency.
‘This is a very limited report on 150,000 US consumers responding to an online survey and does not account for the more than 85 million iPhone and iPod Touch customers worldwide,’ Apple spokesperson Natalie Harrison told The Loop.
‘IDC figures show that iPhone has 16.1 percent of the smartphone market and growing, far outselling Android on a worldwide basis. We had a record quarter with iPhone sales growing by 131 percent and with our new iPhone OS 4.0 software coming this summer, we see no signs of the competition catching up any time soon.’
Even if the NPD’s figures have weight, it’s also possible that Android may simply be outpacing iPhone due to two-for-one offers made by Verizon, skewing the numbers in Google’s favor.
However, with Android available across numerous handsets and operators, it remains to be seen just how long AT&T will manage to hold onto its exclusive iPhone license as the competition mounts.
[Via The Loop]