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« End of Cash? First blog in a series examining the pending doom of minted coins and printed banknotes | Main | Nokia quarterly results Q3 of 2010, is a mixed bag »

October 26, 2010


Alex Birkhead

Hi Tomi,

My you've changed your tone from 6-9 months ago, when predicting iPhone in decline and BlackBerry entrenched, and no mea culpa!

I reckon I read those two trends (plus LG) somewhat better ;-), though we both got well and truly blindsided by Android's astonishing ascendancy this year (I wasn't anticipating until 2011 at the earliest) plus you seem to read Samsung very well and your strident defence of Nokia looks more justified (albeit now with a North American, Microsoftie CEO doing a clear-out!).

But now you've gone and one-upped me by leafrogging my argument for a distinct mobile computer category and gone all-computer. Worse, I think you're actually spot on there (and what fun to laud Apple as #1 in a world of Windows!), though I'd argue that Nokia (Symbian/S60) and BlackBerry are not remotely in this space as they're basically glorified featurephone platforms compared to Android/iOS. MeeGo, yes, but that's still a pipedream in the mass-market. Interesting to see if QNX (PlayBook OS) marks RIM's return to competitiveness.

This all said, like you (?), I can still see Apple stumbling in 2011 unless it gets real about product range, launch cycles, sales channels, pricing, control, etc. I'm also not yet convinced by tablets as a long-lasting mainstream category (worse than mobiles, worse than netbooks...why?). Smaller 7" tablets, maybe (i.e. perhaps Amazon's Kindle marked a quiet revolution, not iPad with is blaze of glory). Still, I need to see what Samsung and iPad v2 do before passing serious judgement. Ironically, Apple may inadvertently have rammed home the iPad's dubiousness with its own new $999 MacBook Air netbook looking so far ahead on capabilities, value, design, etc. Just needs a full-flip touchscreen and 3G and the iPad is decimated. Apple's plan, presumably, is to lure iPhone users into the Mac range, which leaves the question of where Apple sees itself positioned long term -- premium niche or mass-market?

By the way, are you coming around yet to my thinking that Android and iOS could crack the enterprise sooner rather than later? Widening the computing category, cloud, and consumerisation all play into accelerated market evolution, imo.


Doesn't really change the conclusions, but total Ipod sales were at a notch over 9m units. If Touch sold 8.5m units, that'd leave shuffles ($50), nanos ($150) and classics together only some half a million. Doesn't sound plausible. Who made that estimation?


How do you estimate Apple market share is 20 percent when you do not know android sales ? I think Android phone sales have cracked 20 million in Q3 let see


Sami and Tomi - I recall that the "iPod touch are 60% of iPhone unit sales" estimate is a bit older and outdated. iPhone sales have grown more rapidly than iPod touch sales, so it should be well less than 60%. You can find could analysis on Apple numbers at asymco. E.g. estimate of 120 M total installed based of iOS devices.



interesting look at the other column in strategy analytics, I think other is mainly android, as there are lesser number of windows mobile, webOS, Bada sold

Phil W

Hi Tomi,

Firstly I should declare that I work for Nokia, but anything I say here is my own opinion.

Having said that all I wanted to say was that Strategy Analytics reports that the total Smartphone market this quarter was 77 million, so 14.1 million for Apple is 18.3%, not 20%. That means an increase of 1.3% YOY.

Just an observation.



I don't think the remaining 31 percent of the market is "mainly android". You have Symbian phones from other vendors - even though most vendors are phasing Symbian out, that should account for a couple of percent. Windows Mobile should be at around 5 to 7 percent and then there are various Linux-based operating systems - including WebOS from Palm, Bada from Samsung and LiMo. That should be around 4 percent or so. There are also a bunch of other operating systems that have pretty low market share but should amount to another percent or so of the market.

So I'd guess Android's worldwide share in Q3 2010 is somewhere between 17 to 19 percent - about the same as that of the iPhone. Add to that the fact that iPhone's strongest quarters are Q3 and Q4 while Android sales tend to be more evenly spread out and it looks as if Android has, in fact, overtaken the iPhone in worldwide sales. However, since Android's numbers tend to be dominated by their US sales, it remains to be seen what the effect on their sales will be if the iPhone does, in fact, move to Verizon in 2011.

It also remains to be seen what effect Windows Phone 7 sales will have on all of this. Later in 2011, we also have Nokia coming out with MeeGo and Symbian^4 - so 2011 looks to be quite interesting for the smartphone market.



@ sami iPod Touchs are not included under iPod sales. iPod touch sales are reckoned to be 45% of all iOS sales.

mark edward

Sami and Tomi - I recall that the "iPod touch are 60% of iPhone unit sales" estimate is a bit older and outdated. iPhone sales have grown more rapidly than iPod touch sales, so it should be well less than 60%. You can find could analysis on Apple numbers at asymco. E.g. estimate of 120 M total installed based of iOS devices.

Cash For Gold Belfast


Steve Jobs recently said that iPod touch is now over half of all iPods sold. As sami said, there were just over 9m iPods sold this past quarter, so iPod touch was somewhere between 4.5 and 5m, alongside 14.1m iPhones, 4.2m iPads, and 3.9m Macs, or over 27m "computers" in the quarter.

For the Christmas quarter, I'd project that this total will be over 30m, and much closer to 35m. I fully expect more than 14.1m iPhones sold, as supply is no longer constrained, and distribution expands further globally. Looking further forward, if iPhone goes to Verizon (and possibly China Telecom and others) in Q1 2011, the flat/down Q1 pattern will be broken as well, as Verizon should sell at least 3m iPhones in its first quarter. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple sell 75-80m iPhones alone in CY 2011.

About Android, I think it's reasonable to expect 18-19m Android-based phone to have been sold this quarter. Strategy Analytics' public releases have estimates for the 3 largest mfrs (Nokia, Apple, RIM) and Other. The Other category jumped from 15.9m units in Q2 to 24.1m in Q3; it's likely that that growth (plus a bit more) is all Android, just like it was the previous quarter. Canalys estimated 10.7m Android units (and Gartner estimated 10.6m) in Q2, so 18-19m is likely. We'll know more in a few hours when both HTC and Samsung reports. HTC, Motorola, and Samsung are the three largest global makers of Android-based phones, and combined, they should sell 12-13m Android-based units in the quarter.

Looking forward, the other qualification here is that Verizon (very likely the largest seller of Android-based phones) has been running a Buy One Get One Free promotion for Droid phones since Christmas 2008, just like they did previously for Blackberry. Verizon has also spent 100s of millions on advertising for Droid; if they get iPhone in Q1 of 2011, can they afford to also keep spending so heavily on Droid?

Tomi Ahonen

Hi everybody

Thank you for the comments. I will return to answer all of you, please keep the comments coming

PS - for those who posted early on, please note, I forgot to mention in the original blog that Apple also has crashed into the Top 5 biggest mobile phone manufacturers, so there is an added paragraph in the blog article.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Mikko Martikainen

Regarding the iPod Touch sales, in the Back to the Mac event Steve Jobs stated that Apple has sold 19 million FaceTime enabled devices so far, and since the only FaceTime devices before the event were the iPhone 4 and the iPod Touch 4rd generation, that gives a bit under 5 million sales for the iPod Touch. That would mean about 38% of the iPhone sales so the share is definitely a lot less than it used to be.



Remember that the 4th generation iPod Touch was released only in early September while the iPhone 4 was released in late June. So, you are comparing 4 months of iPhone sales to about a month and a half of iPod Touch sales. If you look at sales per month, you'll find that the iPod Touch is selling at only a slightly slower rate than the iPhone.



I'm not going to pretend I understand the numbers. I do understand that phones are now computers, and home servers are now internet appliances. It makes my head hurt, trying to keep up!

Mikko Martikainen


You're right, I didn't take that into account though I knew of it. Some kind of brain disconnect on my part. Anyway, given the other figures posted here, it seems like iPod Touch sales pretty were pretty much dead before the release of the 4rd generation devices.

Wireless headsets

Milestone. gives a bit under 5 million sales for the iPod Touch. That would mean about 38% of the iPhone sales so the share is definitely a lot less than it used to be.

Tomi Ahonen

Ok, will start with directed replies, each by name

Hi Alex, Leebase, sami, Bob and Phil

Alex - many good comments. Let me take the point about MeeGo being a pipe-dream for Nokia. I've been saying that for legacy dumbphone makers, they have a far easier time converting customers to smartphones than the pure smartphone makers have in building market success. And the best example we have as a case study is the late-commer Samsung. They sold 7.9 million smartphones in Q3, up from about 3 million in Q2. They sold over 6 million Galaxy smartphones and about 1.5 million Bada phones in the quarter. The point? They sell 77 million total phones, so this is roughly speaking one in ten Samsung devices sold worldwide, that is now a smartphone, when last year same time, they were touch-screen featurephones.

Nokia can do - assuming reasonably well executed transition - the exact same, by migrating mid-price and top-price Symbian phone users, on their next natural upgrade point, to a new MeeGo phone, almost automatically. Most mass market consumers don't know or care what operating system a smartphone has, and many won't even care whether it is a smartphone or not, as long as its a certain brand, has certain features, and they can get it within their budget. When Nokia starts to migrate top end N-Series phones to MeeGo phones, this will be a relatively easy transition, and then, just like Samsung now, Nokia will just roll the MeeGo OS down to lower cost devices, mid-priced smartphones first, etc, and will retain roughly the same percentage of return customers, as they do now. The point will be more whether a given phone model is acceptable, than what OS it has - because only Nokia and Samsung have the carrier relationships where they can do this 'automatically' and still gain global market share. RIM, Apple, HTC, SonyEricsson, Motorola etc don't have the footprint with carriers to be able to do that, as a 'de facto' OS where the handset maker simply decides which it will be, and will be guaranteed major market share by migrating dumbphones/lower cost smartphones. In my view haha...

On your question about enterprise - no, am still 100% convinced, its a three-way race where RIM has lion's share globally, Nokia E-series is strong outside of the Americas and Microsoft will have some presence in the Americas. But iPhone and Android will be tiny irrelevant bit-players. They will gain so few global enterprise/corporate customers, that they'll celebrate each with a press release, like the EU parliament decision for the iPhone this summer. It will be that rare.

Leebase - the iPad may be cracking enterprises, but look at its total share of PCs, it is still meaningless in the big picture to anyone except Apple. And I have no numbers, but I'm willing to bet that the majority of iPads are sold to consumers, not enterprises (at this early point). If for no other reasons, corporations need to budget for technology, so you'd start to see the iPad in any meaningful numbers in budgets earliest next year..

You asked for the Android numbers. Canalys has just given them yesterday, Android sold 20 million units of smartphones in Q3 of 2010. Biggest Android makers are Samsung and HTC running neck to neck. Motorola and SonyEricsson are far behind selling half their levels. The others are tiny.

sami - thanks! The projection was mine and done in a hurry and I didn't do the sanity check. Sorry about that. Clearly 8 million is too much for iPod Touch, probably reality is about half that number? I have to go change the blog article. Thanks sami!

Bob - I estimate market share based on my own company TomiAhonen Consulting forecasting model of the global handset (and global smartphone) sales. That I always adjust when latest data comes in. The 20% market share was based on the first reported Q3 total smartphone market size, which was reported at 70 million. Since then we've had better sources say Q3 smartphone sales were 77 million (Strategy Analytics) by which Apple's market share would be about 18%, and 80.9 million (Canalys) by which Apple's market share is about 17%. I wait until we have all 4 major analysts reporting, and as usual on this blog, will review the total market for Q3.

Phil - thanks, and see above, I know the Strategy Analytics number has already come out as has Canalys. I am awaiting the last 2 of the big 4 analyst houses, IDC and Gartner to report their smartphone total market size for Q3, and when I have those, I will average them as my official TomiAhonen Consulting view of the market, which sometimes has some fudge factors if I don't completely agree with that final number. But yes, I monitor all the big analyst houses and take their input into refining my model for the quarterly data.

Thank you all for writing, I will respond to more comments soon

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi Ahonen

Ok, more replies (sorry for severe delays, but its been really hectic)

Hi HCE, Brian, mark, kevin, Mikko

HCE - thanks. Yes, I'll do the full analysis of the handset makers and by OS. I have the raw data, but haven't yet had time to do the complete analysis. Hopefully soon

Brian - iPod Touch cannot be 45% of all iOS sales because total iPod sales numbers don't support that percentage (according to Q3 numbers) see my earlier comment in the above

mark - good point about it being older, but also the asymco number is not installed base, is total cumulative shipments. Installed base is severely less than that

kevin - thanks for your forecasts for Q4, we will soon see haha. About Android, the number came out soon after you posted that comment and is 20M (you were very close..) About Q1, we will have of course the China Syndrome so iPhone will not experience a big decline and may well have sales level to Q4 amounts. Finally, on VZ iPhone, remember its only the USA, so its only about a third of Apple's total sales, and thus VZ alone won't really make huge dent to iPhone global numbers. Yes, it will help, but not very dramatically, so I think your overall expectation for 2011 numbers is a bit optimistic, but we'll see..

Mikko - thanks the 5M iPod Touch rough estimate is far more reasonable.

Thank you all for writing. I will return with more

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Seo blogger

Brian - iPod Touch cannot be 45% of all iOS sales because total iPod sales numbers don't support that percentage (according to Q3 numbers) see my earlier comment in the above

mark - good point about it being older, but also the asymco number is not installed base, is total cumulative shipments. Installed base is severely less than that

iphone 4 white

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