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Apple: Android switchers at highest rate ever last quarter

Switch to iOS from Android

During a call with investors for its Q4 2015 earnings report today, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company saw its highest rate ever of Android switchers last quarter with a record 30% of new iPhone buyers coming from the rival platform.

Apple reported sales of 48 million iPhone units for the quarter, which would mean around 14.4 million Android switchers in the last three months. Cook noted that the switcher number comes from those who purchased an iPhone last quarter and also upgraded from a smartphone. So it doesn’t include first time buyers, but that’s likely not a huge percentage of the 14 or so million noted above. 

Cook used the high number of Android switchers to reassure investors that iPhone will likely grow in Q1, in addition to opportunities for growth in emerging market and a rapidly expanding market in China. Apple reported an increase of 99% to $12.5 billion for its sales in Greater China in the quarter.

Apple also posted iPad sales of 9.8 million units, Mac sales of 5.7 million units, and quarterly revenue of $51.5 billion.

You can follow along with our liveblog of Apple’s Q4 2015 earnings report here.

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  1. bhayes444 - 7 years ago

    I switched because I was getting a little bored with Android, wanted a good camera (not Samsung), and the iPhone was finally equipped with enough RAM to multitask for me; the iPhone 6 was not worth it’s price in my opinion, but the 6s definitely is.

    • Paul Andrew Dixon - 7 years ago

      The ram on the iphone is lower because the software and iOS are less demanding than on android devices — so even though the iphone had 1gb ram, it was still able to do work just as efficiently as most android device that contained 2/3gb ram.

      not sure how you justify the price, especially considering they are almost identical except for a little more screen space, a little more power, and image stabilisers that for most user they wouldnt even notice – plus if you are buying on contract the cost of the phone should really affect you — either way, most people opt for the 6 because they dont really want a phablet – me personally i went for the 6plus because i mostly use my phone for apps and the internet and didnt want to carry a tablet around with me.

      Hopefully you will like your new phone.. although im surprised to hear you got bored of android considering most of its user scream about the customisability of it – plus many of its phone designs are starting to resemble iphones.

      • bhayes444 - 7 years ago

        I know the RAM usage is more efficient, but in my opinion the 1GB of RAM in the 6 was not on par with most 2GB Android devices that I was using. The 6s flies for me only because the multitasking is much smoother than the 6 I used, and the 6+ I used. I agree that it isn’t a complete monster comparatively to the original 6 series.

        I only justify the price because, for me, it is much more worth it than the 6 because it offers the experience that I was looking for. Also, I do enjoy using 3D Touch, as well as the apps on iOS; which have been an overall more positive experience than my time with their Android counterparts.

        The reason I got bored with Android is that I only use the stock experience devices (e.g. Nexus and Motorola devices), and I just got tired of spending my time customizing them, then changing it up a week later. It was much more fun for me when I had more free time though. Also, I loathe the skins on other OEM’s devices, like Samsung and LG, so I can’t bring myself to use them. All these phones are starting to use the same design language, but I really wish for Apple to get away from the physical home button. They could leave the touchID sensor there as a place holder and use it similar to the OnePlus 2 (unlocking and going to the home screen), or hopefully develop some tech to utilize their patent of integrating it into the home screen.

        I still enjoy using Android, but I’m trying out iOS for now, and I am enjoying it so far. Plus, using the regular 6s I get to have a phone I can easily use one-handed, which is a plus for me!

      • michaelbeiler - 7 years ago

        Paul, OP is comparing 6 and 6s, while you’re comparing 6 and 6+.

  2. r00fus1 - 7 years ago

    Dunno, Apple does a good job of making each incremental upgrade both: a) something a lot of people will drop their current handsets for and b) not so much of an upgrade as to make existing owners feel stupid for not waiting (i.e., avoiding Osbourne effect).

    It’s a hell of a product roadmap – I’d kill to see what’s coming up for the next several years – you know they have been planning e.g. iPhone7 for at least a year or more.

    My iPhone6 is pretty damn good. It was a huge step up from my 5, which was way better than my 4S.

    re: switchers – I know a lot of friends who, last year grudgingly gave up their Samsungs and HTCs for iPhones because Apple finally had a form factor that wasn’t “small” in their view. This year some of my friends and coworkers who are hardcore Galaxy and HTC fanboys are planning to switch over (Nexus users tend to not be in that set). In the meanwhile, I know no one who has given up their iPhone.

    • Paul Andrew Dixon - 7 years ago

      most people do not upgrade every year – so some people are either on the none ‘s’ version, others are on the ‘s’ versions… i have the 6 plus, i had the iphone 5 before that, and the iphone 4 before that… personally i feel that these are the better models because the ‘s’ models get the new tech to try out and iron out the issues and then the following none ‘s’ version gets the tech plus extras…i often see the ‘s’ versions more like beta versions because often they have a few issues and need tweaking etc.

      as long as you change every 2 years you will notice a big difference… changing every year is costly and not necessary – the phones should last 2 years… i have friends who are still using their iphone 4 and 5

      • tomsupraboy - 7 years ago

        That’s funny cause many people think the other way around too. They see S versions as being more perfected and completed. Seeing none S as beta like you said.

        Well, everyone has his own way of seeing things :).

  3. netputing (@netputing) - 7 years ago

    Well there is also the iPhone to Android switcher. I am one of those. Going from an iPhone 6 plus to a Nexus 6P. I have used both OS extensively and have been developing apps for OSX for quite some time… so I like Apple a lot but I have a bigger attraction to Android. It is hard to say what exact feature make it better for me. i think it is a whole bunch of little things that Android does and that iOS lack that make me like Android better.

    Anyway, my 6P is coming in tomorrow so I am really looking at comparing the camera on it to what my old iPhone 6 plus used to produce. To me one of the important aspect in a smartphone is the camera. So far none of the Nexus phone had one worth taking pictures with when compared to the iPhone. The 5X and 6P are changing all this.

    There is no better camera than the one you have with you… and since I have my phone with me all the time I want a good camera on it.

    • bhayes444 - 7 years ago

      Yeah, the 6P came out of left field for me, and if I was to decide right now between my 6s and a 6P I might have just stayed with Android for a while longer. Albeit, the 6P is larger, but they actually put a good camera in a Nexus device! The stock experience on top is just gravy, as well as the fingerprint reader on the back for Imprint.

      • PhilBoogie - 7 years ago

        “…the fingerprint reader on the back…”

        That sounds moronic.

  4. I got burnt on samsung after updates were delayed by many months, and the nexus 6 was oversized and overpriced, so I moved to iOS and got the upgrade plan. Always on the latest and greatest hardware, and updates are on my phone within hours of announcement, not days (not a fan of staged updates). I may get a nexus 5x to play with, but I’m sliding into iOS quite nicely.

  5. mytawalbeh - 7 years ago

    most my friends gave up their samsung & HTC to iPhone since the iPhone 6 was released. Couple of weeks ago, one of my coworker sold his galaxy s6 just after he saw the new iPhone 6S+ in my hands. So, yes there is a lot of android switchers since the big screens came up to the market!.

  6. Do you know what is even better? There will be many more of them.

  7. iali87 - 7 years ago

    I have iPhone 6s and used to have a galaxy note 5 last month. One feature and I will never consider an android at all, an small Apple pencil with iPhone 7 plus and that’s it.

  8. It is true that many people have switched to iPhones due to their functionalities, but there will be no decrease in the android users, as there are enough of them who still prefer android phones.

  9. nathillien - 7 years ago

    NOT exactly true.
    It is not 30% of ALL iPhone sales, but only from those upgrading a SMARTPHONE, whether that be Android, Windows, BB or Apple.Not included in the calculation are upgrades from a feature phones and first time phone buyers.

    Now it is easy to understand why all those are not included – the percentages look bigger that way.
    Take into account how many switched from Apple to Android and you will see that any meaningful numbers are way lower than 30%. LOL.

    If 25% of ALL iPhone buyers are first time Smartphone buyers and knowing the Apple/Android market share – it is easy to calculate that not even 4% of Android users would switch to iPhone and that over 96% of them would stay with Android. That is how things look from Android’s corner.

  10. dreneeps - 7 years ago

    nathillien, that is a very good analysis of the numbers involved as well as a solid foundation for the claim that Apple has an agenda with how they present the numbers they did.

    It may be interesting to note that a recent chat with some Verizon employee’s I had included them expressing that they have noticed an extremely consistent and noticeable loyalty to the Samsung Galaxy “Note” Series of phones with the stylus. (Primarily the Note 3 & 4) I personally know of several instances of persons switching to those phones and never looking back. Even stating they still love their ipads, macbooks, and various other apple products but will likely not go back to an iphone in the foreseeable future.

    I am pleasantly surprised that this many comments somehow did not quickly become a curse word filled, name calling, Apple/Android hatefest. They are both very impressive capable devices. They are different in many ways, but most of the software based features are found on both platforms. However one thing comes to mind when discussing the numbers behind who switches between them and changes their preferred OS or manufacturer, please share your opinion on my theory (or perhaps observation) which is:

    In general, the degree to which a smartphone user utilizes or desires to utilize a wider variety of a smartphones functions, features, capacities, and capabilities will correlate with a higher preference and demand to use a high end/flagship Android based smartphone. Aside from the abundance of accessories, a small number of specific applications, and reliable compatibility with other proprietary apple products…iphones offer only staggering amount of things you CAN’T do with them compared to the options provided by the competition. Anyone who relies or places importance on any of those abilities or features will never, or in some cases, cannot ever choose an iphone as they exist today. Outside of what is mentioned previously in this paragraph what hardware option, feature, or function can the top Android options not provide someone that an iphone can? Nothing significant comes to mind.

    I am not saying that all iphone users are simple minded or technologically challenged, that of course is not true. I am stating though, and I think with a firm foundation of evidence for it, that an iphone cannot offer many the same functionality, features, and especially the same hardware options that the premium flagship android devices can offer. Even though the feature is not universal, the ability to easily and quickly access and swap a memory card or battery makes choosing between an iphone and something else a very clear option.

    I am sure my preference is fairly obvious already. I would like to state that it I can understand why many people prefer an iphone, however I can even more clearly understand why many people NEED an Android or something that is not an iphone. Due to my career experience and substantial amount of accumulated “tech” knowledge I am often asked about my preference and what I would recommend. My response is almost always an inquiry about what is making them question if their current mobile OS is the ideal choice for them. So if you don’t have a specific reason to need or strongly prefer one over the other, it probably doesn’t matter. Unless you care about the core principles and influence supported by the company you give your money to?

    I would love to own Apple stock, but I would not like using their smartphones.


Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.