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.
Recently many who wanted to make it shared why as well.
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!
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.