updated 04:45 pm EDT, Tue May 11, 2010
Apple says NPD phone share study limited
Apple today disputed an NPD study that had Android outselling iPhones in the US. Company spokeswoman Natalie Harrison claimed the response from 150,000 survey takers was a "very limited" sample and didn't reflect the actual influence of the iPhone OS worldwide. She unusually compared it against the 85 million iPhone and iPod touch units sold in total and pointed to the iPhone's improved third place in smartphone share as evidence of its actual standing.
"We had a record quarter with iPhone sales growing by 131 percent and with our new iPhone OS 4.0 software coming this summer, we see no signs of the competition catching up any time soon," Harrison argued.
While Apple has largely outpaced key Android hardware makers HTC and Motorola in the past few months, the statement doesn't necessarily touch on the iPhone's performance in the US, which was the subject of the NPD study. Worldwide, Apple has sold about 51 million iPhones when excluding the iPod touch and is increasingly reliant on foreign sales, owing partly to relatively new introductions or expansions to multiple carriers that haven't been possible in the US. Android is available on all four major carriers and often through multiple devices.
The NPD data is nonetheless likely to be at least somewhat unrepresentative of actual share as it would include those aware of and willing to complete an online survey instead of all shipments. AT&T switched on 2.7 million iPhones this winter and would had to have been met by uniformly strong sales. Verizon, the largest Android phone provider in the US, saw roughly half as many new customers in the same period for its entire phone range, only a portion of which would have bought phones like the Droid.