In 2007, when Apple first launched the iPhone, there was significant speculation over whether a device that provided a vastly different input functionality could survive in a world that was governed by physical keyboards, trackballs, and other mechanical functions. It was a risk. And after a short time, it was abundantly clear that that risk paid off. The iPhone became a technological marvel that exceeded almost all analyst expectations. Four brief technological generations later, it's still going strong.
But things are starting to change in the smartphone market. As important as the iPhone is as the device that set the standard for smartphones in the space, it's being overtaken by Google's Android platform. In fact, Nielsen reported that Android captured 27 percent of U.S. smartphone sales over the past quarter. Apple acquired 23 percent of all U.S. smartphone sales over the same period. It's worth noting, however, that the figures don't include the iPhone 4 or the Motorola Droid X.
Regardless, this is the second time that Apple has heard the news that Android devices are outpacing the iPhone. It's also quickly becoming clear that at this rate, Apple's position as the dominant force in the mobile market will soon fade away, Take a look at the reasons why.
1. The numbers speak for themselves
It's hard to argue against concrete evidence. Nielsen's data clearly shows that Android has beaten iOS quite handily. With 27 percent market share and gaining, it's clear that Google is well on its way to mobile dominance. Apple, on the other hand, could find it is permanently relegated to second place. That's not necessarily a bad thing, and on a phone-by-phone basis, the hardware company will still beat all competitors. But in terms of overall market share, the numbers seem to show that Apple's dominance is over.
2. More Android-based devices are coming
The biggest issue facing Apple and its iPhone is that the company is up against a deluge of devices that are making their way to store shelves. Aside from the Droid X and the HTC Droid Incredible, Android's success has caused several more vendors to want to bring their own Android devices to the market. As that happens, look for Apple's influence in the mobile space to decline even more. Those individual releases might not beat out the iPhone, but as an aggregate, they will continue to put pressure on Apple and its market share in the space. There is power in numbers.
3. Motorola has proven it's possible
Motorola has proven something both to consumers and other vendors: with the right set of features, and the proper vision, a company can develop a phone that will compete well against the iPhone. Apple is now forced to compete with a device - the Motorola Droid X - that can come close to matching the iPhone. Motorola has proven that success is achievable against the iPhone. That's not good for Apple's market share.
4. Google's Android 2.2 is decisive factor
Android owners running Android 2.2 on their smartphones are able to view just about any video or play any game on the Web. It's something that iPhone owners don't have available to them. Going forward, Android 2.2 could be the linchpin that sends a deluge of consumers to Google's platform. The inability to view some videos or play Flash games is a real issue with Apple's software. If Flash works well on Android and consumers like it, the addition of Adobe's platform will become a key selling point for Android phones.