Warren Buffett knew better than David Tepper when it came to buying or selling Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) last quarter. The Oracle of Omaha kept buying Apple through and around its earnings report in January. Most investors expected further slowdown in iPhone sales, yet Apple’s flagship iPhone wrangled even more market share to remain the most popular original equipment manufacturer in the U.S.
The data, courtesy of comScore MobiLens, compiles the three-month average ending in January, placing Apple in the No. 1 OEM spot and as the second-most popular smartphone platform — behind Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Android, of course.
Apple holds nearly 45% of the U.S. OEM market, and in a distant second is Samsung Electronics (OTCMKTS:SSNLF), with 28% of the market.
Notably, Apple is one of the only companies to actually advance its market share from October through January, from 42.3% to 44.6%, for a 2.3% gain. Samsung’s market share declined 2% from 30%, and much of that could be attributed to its exploding Galaxy Note 7 fiasco in late 2016.
The only other company to see an increase? LG, which wafted up 0.7% to hold 10.3% of the market.
While Android obviously holds the most “smartphone subscribers” by virtue of sheer numbers, it’s dominance is dwindling. Smartphone subscribers for Android phones declined 2%, from 55.2% to 53.2%, while Apple gained 2.3%, from 42.3% to 44.6%. This points to accelerating growth, as Apple only managed to gain 0.3% in the year-ago period, while Android only lost 0.1%.
Could it be that Google’s Pixel phone is cannibalizing sales of other Android-powered smartphones?
Bottom Line on Apple’s iPhone Growth
This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the original iPhone, and with it comes baked-in marketing power as Apple’s rumored “iPhone Edition” harkens back to an era where Steve Jobs still gave heart-pounding keynotes.
We’re likely to see an iPhone with a new display and, if not the iPhone Edition, future generations of Apple’s flagship device could feature powerful 4K GPU architecture from Imagination Technologies, a company Apple was once rumored to acquire. PowerVR Furian, as it’s being called, purportedly increases mobile gaming performance by 70% to 90%, all while taking a relatively small hit to battery consumption.
With that increased firepower, Apple’s pending iPhone slate stands to capitalize on the growing augmented reality/virtual reality trends, as Furian was created to “address a new class of emerging applications.”
Don’t underestimate the appeal of the iPhone just yet.
As of this writing, John Kilhefner did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.