Some customers start with iPhone. Others switch to it.
Update: Following Tim Cook's comments, Apple.com has published a new feature on the benefits of switching to iPhone. Exploring the numbers, IDC has predicted lower growth for Android and higher growth for iPhone, likewise ComScore for U.S. growth. CSLA showed a 55% switch to iPhone rate, with another 30% planning to switch. Customer satisfaction and loyalty rates for Apple, by contrast, have remained staggeringly high.
Apple has been tracking the number of new iPhone customers who switched from Android for a while now. As part of the Q3 2015 conference call, Apple's CEO Tim Cook revealed that this quarter saw the highest number of Android switchers ever.
Apple was so thrilled with the growth, Cook mentioned Android switchers four times over the course of the hour long call:
The strong iPhone results were broad-based in both developed and emerging markets, and we experienced the highest switcher rate from Android that we've ever measured.
We also are incredibly happy to see the highest Android switcher rate that we've observed. And so, from our point of view, the iPhone is doing outstanding.
But as I back up from it and look at it from more of a macro point of view, the thing that makes me very bullish is the 27 percent number I just quoted; the fact that we are seeing the highest Android switcher rate; the customer satisfaction that we have on the iPhone versus the competition—it's a huge margin; the loyalty rate that we have versus competition, an enormous gap there.
In certain geographies, the way that we win is to get [Android] switchers. In other geographies, the way that we win is to get people to buy their first smartphone. In other geographies, the way that we win is to get people to upgrade from their current iPhone.
When a person decides to get their first smartphone, some deliberately get an iPhone and some deliberately get an Android phone because that's what they want. Others simply get the cheapest phone possible. Previously it would have been a flip or candy bar phone, but now it's a low-cost and/or highly subsidized Android phone that, by the way, can get them on Facebook.
When time comes to renew, some people stick with the next cheapest phone. (When it comes to cheap, loyalty is to the price point, not to brand.) Others, however, decide they didn't enjoy cheap and so want something else. They may try a higher end Android phone, but many also try an iPhone.
That's why Apple doesn't compete on price but on experience, and why the company doesn't play the short game but the long one.
Bigger screens are likely still a factor as well. Previously Apple didn't offer any. So, if someone needed a bigger screen, they had to go with not-an-iPhone with a bigger screen. Now, with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus, they can have both.
Every time an upgrade cycle occurs, Apple has a chance to win over customers. Even if it's only a few, each one is a gain for Apple. And according to Apple's numbers, it's more than just a few.
I was ready to purchase the s6 in April, but I got tired of waiting for AT&T to update my s5 phone to Lollipop - I purchased the s5 the first day it came out and I started to think back about being annoyed about slow updates with other phones and decided I was at my frustration limit. Also, the s6 is pretty much the same size as the s5 and I wanted a bigger phone, but I didn't want the Note. I love Android, and thought I would miss the customization options and a few apps that aren't available on iOS. However, iOS 8 is VERY nice and I find iOS to be a much more "peaceful" phone experience - everything works together and the notification center is stellar. It's a very "comforting" phone and with all the tips and tricks, it's a beast. I was worried about the amount of RAM, compared to Android phones, and I have to say my concerns were unwarranted. Apple does a superb job at optimizing RAM, so nothing is slow...it's very fluid. Yes, that s5 charging port cover was a pain...I had to have it replaced once (at Samsung's expense). iTunes is much better now, than it was when I was had my 4. My phone before the s5 was the HTC M7 - that was a nice phone, but it had some glitch that caused gallery pics to vanish. Android can be a little unstable at times. So yeah, I'm very glad to have my iPhone. — Ninjarette
Recently many who wanted to make it shared why as well.
"The last time I owned an Apple product was my iPod touch in 2009. Since then I've used Android and, for a short time, Windows Phone. Now I'm starting to be dissatisfied with Android, and in particular, Google's business model. Thinking about privacy and security was what got me started on this path. Then there's the issue of OS updates. I'm sick of always waiting! You might think, "So get a Nexus if you want fast updates." Wrong. When I heard that iOS 9 is coming to every device all the way back to 2011, I was floored. The last time I saw my parents, I learned that Mom got a 4S. My brother was there with his 6. I played with both phones, and I couldn't even tell the difference, performance-wise. That little 4S was so smooth! And that was the last straw for me. Even Nexus owners don't enjoy four years of updates. I've had my fill of Android. It's time to see what else is out there." — Shatterpane
It's happening a lot in emerging markets, but it seems to be happening in established markets as well. If you recently switched, or are planning to switch when the widely expected iPhone 6s ships this fall, let me know!