The holidays, when opportunistic "Apple-is-doomed!" marketshare headlines get turned on their heads

Market share is pretty badly reported. It's a difficult metric to understand, and an even more difficult one to put into context. Yet sensationalistic Apple-is-doomed "markset share" headlines get foisted on us all year long, but for the brief respite during holiday shopping seasons where just as sensationalistic Apple-is-king "usage share" numbers allow for a brief palette cleanser. The truth remains the same - very few people can tell you what all these numbers really mean, and even fewer can tell you why the really matter to the industry, to apple, to developers, or to us, the consumers. All that aside, it looks like Apple iOS devices get used a crapton around the holiday shopping season. How far you choose to extrapolate that in terms of customer profile or device segmentation is up to you, but here are a couple of reports:

And here's a podcast I did with Ben Bajarin of Techpinions where he explains how industry analysts look at share segmentation in a rapidly maturing mobile market.

My take is Apple is doing just fine, all year long, reaching the customers they want to reach, and anyone interested in reaching those customers - which look like pretty damn good customers - are also doing just fine reaching them via Apple's ecosystem.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

The holidays, when opportunistic "Apple-is-doomed!" marketshare headlines get turned on their heads


"markset share" - oops.
Apple is not doomed. We are!! Apple seems to have a tough time getting its latest products to everyone here and abroad, but when Apple starts trying to supply iPhones to China's largest cell carrier - there won't be any phones left for the rest if the planet.
WE are doomed!

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Too bad most of these users are actually android devices misread as ios users because many sites incorrectly see android as running ios safari.

All you have to do is check sales numbers.. apple is falling hard from it's old perch.

What r u talking about? Sales for Apple have never been better. And are far better than any other of its android competitors no "one" Android phone has ever come close to the iPhone sales.

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This comment is a perfect example that all websites/forums should have a 24-hour wait period until new users can post/ really made an account to post THAT!!??!??? C'mon bruh, you gotta have better things to do with your time........

No "bruh" it literally takes 2 seconds to log in with facebook from my phone.

And my comment was actually on topic, yours however was entirely pointless.

Dear lord. You rail about sensationalist articles and then provide links to two of them. You should leave the insecurity and worrying to other sites.

If Apple has it bad, I think Blackberry got it even worse. Some didn't even give them a fighting chance, all they did was bash, bash, maybe report some half-truth articles then bash even more. I know they're in a tough position right now, but man, talk about kicking someone who's down (or is picking themselves up). Not really worried about Apple, they tough as adamantium.

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i would never buy samsung device, google, blackberry or microsoft. Which company is dooming apple? sony? I downloaded their psn app, worst ux I've ever seen.

So to summarize:

-There are sensationalistic articles with "Apple is doomed" in the headlines just like this article's headline.
-Here are links to articles saying strong ipad sales at Walmart and Android isn't going to conquer the world.
-Rene thinks Apple is fine.
-Listen to our podcast where we say "Apple is fine."

The end.

Here is a view. You're the one constantly bring up the exact same point over and over. "apple is doomed." You're the one perpetuating that idea. It's tired. Let it go. You have bee in your bonnet over ever perceived slight and react with a repetitive "article" over and over. We get it Market share doesn't matter. Apple isn't doomed. blah blah blah. Write something new. And your title bringing up "Apple is doomed" is exactly what every article you rail about is doing, its pure sensationalism. Be better and get over it.

I'm just one man, that was in one Walmart, on Black Thursday. Apple is not doomed. Walmart was selling $300 iPad Minis and $50 Android tablets. The line was just as long for the iPads. Plus Walmart gave $100 gift cards with the purchase. I think Apple is just fine.

I hope you're right. I'm making the full switch from Android/Windows to iPhone/MBP after many years of being an apple sceptic. I'm loving what I'm experiencing so far and want to see Apple stay well off enough to continue creating great products for me to play and work with.

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I have been with Apple since the day I bought my first computer an LC and have enjoyed the user experience all those years.
Nowadays all my info is shared across all my Apple devices.
Apple will be fine as long as they keep up with the ease of use experience. And now great software which I believe will one day their performance will exceed their competitors.
Yes I am only speaking for myself.

i've been with Apple since 1985 and even IF they're not doing as well as we think they are, they are still doing very well and will continue to grow in definitely into the future. You have to learn to not be frightened by all the naysaying, and there is a lot of it. Apple makes mistakes just as surely as everybody else but that does not mean they're doomed, only the opposite has been true.

Welcome ScottSouder. I made the switch a year and a half ago. Haven't been happier. Just this spring switched to iMac. If you are new to iMore welcome to the gang as well.

Although im an android guy, i must have an ios device now im converted into liking ios, and i hear plenty of people i know going out to get an iphone, apple is doing fine. Im real surprised how much i like my iphone 5 with ios 7 and impatiently waiting for 7.1 for the speed improvements and dark features, i would get an android again for fun but my iphone is stable as hell and very reliable but i do wish we could set default apps as i dont use safari or apple maps but we cant have everything can we

Brother that is the major reason I switched stability. Got tired of my Motorola Photon 4G crashing so much after about 100 apps. Then they refused to upgrade to Jelly Bean. Deal breaker Sprint wanted me to pay for a newer phone seeing I was halfway through the contract. Dropped them all like a hot potato. On at&t using a 4s. No complaints with 125+ apps. Plus I find I use my iOS apps more especially for work.

Regardless of what the numbers say, I believe your last paragraph nailed it. Apple is "reaching the customers they want to reach."
To quote Tim Cook, "we have never been about selling the most. We’re about selling the best and having the best experience." Usage share is much more interesting a number to Apple and where iOS is clearly winning.

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That's fine. It should be kept in the back of their heads though that that strategy did not always work and the market could go back to that situation. I'd also note that being the best is fine but take cars, if Ferraris, Bugattis, Paganis may be the best and have the best motoring experiences but there are plenty of better more profitable motor companies. I think selling great products is fine but merely doing it best may not be the best business strategy as it may simply price out many a customers.

This is an interesting question. I believe the traditional American point of view was, build it better than anyone else. But, it seems, maybe, that post-World War II economics, thanks to some Asian rising economies taught us that building more was better than building better. So today if you're publicly traded building more supersedes building better. Makes me wonder if Apple should even be a publicly traded company - no corporation has ever gotten Apple, to the point that they don't even understand how to compete with Apple, the marketplace understands Apple even less.

Exxon. Goldman Sachs. The latter makes money creating nothing. Your question is imprecise as it doesn't narrow down the industry. Regardless if you mean selling phones. Right now. Probably Apple followed by Samsung. But Apple had the lead on IBM but didn't realize they were really competing with Microsoft and they ended up losing the PC war. Yeah they were better than IBM. But they got dominated because the OS matter. Apple is doing well now but in the future who knows. IOS simply get swallowed by the influx of Android devices. I spent thanks giving and two the the people who were checking their texts said "I wish i hadn't updated to the new IOS." And the other guy says "yeah me neither. I'm thinking of getting that Nexus 5." See for all the sales people are considering other options. It doesn't Apple's current model is bad. But in the phone space it may be short sighted to let Android and other OS swallow up marketshare for affordable phones. Yeah they made the best computers and were a luxury brand. Great. Didn't work. The world bought cheap shitty pcs and Microsoft's os dominated the same way people now buy cheap shitty toyota's and fords over super expensive luxury cars.

No one but Apple and Samsung are making money in mobile devices and Samsung is questionable because they give shipped figures and they make a shit ton of other products. Just because there are a shit load of $.01 androids in hands of buyers means nothing if people are doing very little with them. Developers are still developing for iOS first and in many cases iOS Only. Nike doesn't even want to develop for crap ass fragmented android (yet). Apple is the Bugatti of phones. Btw Samsung says that they are no where near Apple as far as premium phone sales. Apple has never been about making cheap stuff. I've followed and used Apple products since Apple IIe. As long as they continue to make the best products with the best user experience they won't become a RIM/Blackberry.

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You know they are good for a good amount of these each year around this time.

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I still watch Ballmer's iPhone reaction video and read everyone's "Apple is doomed" articles. So much fun to see everyone squirm.

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He, like Colligan and Balsillie didn't understand the iPhone as a product, so they naturally didn't see where it might succeed.

To be fair all three, it is often impossible to separate ignorance of the market from the sort of confidence a CxO level official must exude when making statements for investors and the public.

Though subsequent strategic missteps suggest at least a *little* of the former...

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The most outstanding thing about the Apple is doomed meme is that considering Apple has $146 billion in reserve cash and also has the world's largest market cap by a good margin at $500 billion then what about all the companies below Apple in wealth? Aren't they more likely to be doomed than Apple. There are well-known companies whose entire market cap barely comes close to a fraction of Apple's reserve cash wealth which is practically free and clear save for taxes. One might figure if Apple is going to collapse due to a weak economy then it would seem to likely wipe out nearly every other company in the U.S. Apple would be able to go years without even selling a single product while companies that carry a load of debt would simply get wiped out in a matter of months.

Despite even the huge increase in Android device numbers over this entire year Apple's overall wealth has been increasing. I'm just trying to say that the Apple is doomed articles don't seem to take into consideration Apple's actual financial health when compared to most other companies.

Sadly your comments help bring out the fact that very little big business or private business is built on sound economic fundamentals any longer. Carrying large amounts of debt in corporate America as well as the private sector has become an expectation - how insane is that?! Even Apple was strong-armed into taking on debt even though it clearly did not need to do so.

I do think it's fair enough to have concern about Apple potentially over prioritizing profit over market share, particularly in the case of the iPhone 5c. But that's obviously a far cry from claiming doom which is ridiculous.

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