They’re still on top with the iPod, never really figured out why, they weren’t first the market, and there’s a lot of stuff about them that keeps me away from them (the iTunes interface and relative price being high on the list), but they’re still sitting pretty on top of that heap. Markets can be really hard to analyze, I’m just as unsure why iPhone lost it’s top seat. And I have no idea what the next 18 months holds for the pad market.
But I do know developers looking to make software for these platforms will be paying close attention to market share, trying to get the biggest possible audience for their product.
Apple is rumored to have a Verizon phone in the works. That could be a game-changer for them.
I know in my own case, AT&T is worthless where I live and work, but Verizon rocks. If I were in the market for a smartphone, that makes all the difference.
Apple has a 2GB iPod Shuffle, an 8 and 16 GB iPod Nano, an 8, 32 and 64 GB iPod Touch and a 160GB iPod Classic. They have a product for every niche within the mp3 market and several price points. Anyone willing to buy one of these products has it with no other prices attached or limitations due to another company.
There is the 8GB iPhone 3GS, and the 16 and 32GB iPhone 4. All come with a limitation (in the US) to one carrier. They also only have one form factor.
In comparison, Android has phones on every major carrier and many of the smaller ones that now come in the three major form factors for smartphone, all touch screen, slide out QWERTY and candybar. There are a variety of price points and specials run with them too. To my knowledge there has never been a sale on iPhones. In comparison you can get major discounts and deals on Android phones from day one. I believe the Samsung Vibrant could be purchased for a dollar when it came out from Amazon. That is much more attractive than the $200 the equivalent iPhone would run you.
It would be very hard for them to maintain the lead in the market versus a foe like this. Some limitations are likely to always remain, there will probably never be a hardware keyboard iPhone for instance. And they won’t be offering nearly the number of models of phones as Android has on the market. Although I would guess sales of the iPhone far exceed the combined sales of any 3 models of Android phone by one manufacturer or probably even the best selling 3 Android phones.