asymco: Apple’s ‘dead in the water’ iPhone grew at 113% YOY

There has been a recent claim that the iPhone is “dead in the water,” but asymco’s Horace Dediu throws cold water on the “iPhone is dead in the water” fiction.

“iPhone grew at 113% year on year. It even grew sequentially in a post-holiday quarter and the growth is not slowing materially,” Dediu reports. “The claim was made that iPhone was not gaining share. But share of what? If we look at the iPhone share of all phones and share of smartphones, it’s still growing. It reached 5% share of all phones sold in the quarter and fourth most popular vendor in the world. Beating RIM, HTC, Motorola, Sony Ericsson and ZTE.’

Dediu reports, “If something is dead in the water, it isn’t going anywhere or making any progress. On a unit basis and one the basis of vendor comparison, iPhone is doing very well. On the basis of value capture and profitability it’s doing even better.”

Read more in the full article, which includes a nice chart, here.

Related articles:
Apple’s two-year-old iPhone 3GS still outselling AT&T’s latest Android phones – May 10, 2011
IDC: Apple closes in on Nokia; now #2 in worldwide smartphone market share – May 6, 2011
IDC: Apple takes #1 spot from Nokia in Western European smartphone market – May 6, 2011
Apple’s iOS doubles worldwide market share over past 10 months; now world’s #3 OS – May 3, 2011
NPD: Apple iPhone 4 for Verizon best-selling mobile phone in U.S.; causes Android to lose share for first time since Q209 – April 28, 2011
Apple overtakes Nokia as world’s largest vendor of mobile handsets by revenue – April 21, 2011

20 Comments

  1. Sales of the iPhone are not going backwards which is what typifies dead in the water rhetoric. Nokia is dead in the water and so is RIM but that description cannot apply to Apple.

    There’s so much talk about Android ‘taking over the world’ but the only metric is Google’s unverifiable claim of ‘activations’, whatever the fork that means. These are made up numbers created to make Amdroid look good but are meaningless from a revenue derivation and profitability standpoint which is where Apple is winning at the moment.

    If I gave away my trash for free I’m sure somewhere a bag lady will want to vacuum it up which exemplifies the average Android customer.

    1. Sell 60 one quarter, 360 the next viola 600%. Sell 10,000 one quarter, 11,500, then that’s 115%. Percentage changes are meaningless without total unit numbers from at least one of sales periods that are being compared.

        1. His math is correct. You sell 10,000 in one quarter. If you sell another 10,000 the next quarter, that’s 100%, and yes, the number sold has indeed doubled (20,000).

          I just double-checked so I don’t get egg on my face: I’ve got an HP32S RPN-type calculator. I keyed in 10000, entered it into the stack, then keyed in 115, then the % key (which calculates 115% of the first number) and the result was 11500.

          I realize that it’s difficult to picture how percentages work and a lot of us fall into the “doubling” fallacy where we think that 100% of one amount simply has to be twice that amount.

          1. I don’t think the “doubling fallacy” is that simple. I don’t think anyone is guilty of doubling a number just because they see “100%” mentioned.

            Rather, we have to go back further and look at the word “growth”. The headline says “…grew at 113%”.

            The question is, are we talking about:
            A) last year’s number PLUS 113%; ie., “just the growth itself was 113%”. If so, then the number for this year is indeed double that of last year.
            Or, B) this year’s figure is 113% OF last year’s number? If so then the increase is only 13%.

            In your example you have done B. Multiplying is the same as saying “of”. 11500 is 115% OF 10,000.

            BUT if you were to say, “the new figure has increased the old figure by 115%, ie, there has been GROWTH of 115%”, well, you are trying to say the old figure has more than doubled; and (A) is indeed the correct interpretation.

            The difficulty is not the math and what 115% means. The difficulty is to know what is meant by “grew at”. I can never quite tell without a little digging or hearing in parallel from other sources that “Apple sales have doubled YOY.”

  2. Uh, hasn’t RIM been announcing that their sales have been increasing despite their lack of increased market share?

    If we’re gonna call RIM dead for this reason, why shouldn’t the same reasoning apply to Apple?

    Obviously, there are product differences that make all the difference in the world, but based on this one metric I don’t see RIM going away anytime soon if Apple’s iPhone is to be considered “successful”.

    1. Sales for everyone BETTER be increasing. The whole “smartphone” Market is growing. Mostly at the expense of “feature” phones or “dumb” phones, whatever each of these actually means.
      I think it means that mostly new sales comprise of people upgrading their old phones to ones that “do more stuff” since almost everyone in the world has a mobile phone.

      Anyway the Market is going to smartphones (and incidentally Horace Dediu, the article’s author, has a countdown over on his blog for when smartphones achieve 50 percent of all mobile phones, so we don’t have to say “smartphones” any longer, and can just say “phones”).

      Regardless, apple plays in the smartphone category only and even so, apple is apparently fourth or so largest phone vendor by unit in the world. It passed RIM a year ago. By revenue and profit, Apple is biggest and is bigger than about the next four vendors combined.

      So, yes, RIM may have made more sales than the previous year. Everyone should grow their sales at least as much as the Market grows. I don’t think RIM did.

  3. iPhone is successful because it is the only phone that’s actually making any REAL money and that’s the important point. Add all the crumbs together you get an awful lot of crumbs but when you are fighting over those crumbs you still won’t make that much money out of them. Somewhat different when you own the whole biscuit factory.

    1. Yes. And let’s add even more perspective: let’s keep the whole iOS platform with iPads and iPods and ATVs and iTunes out of it, and just look at iPhones like all those Android nuts like to do when they make the unfair comparisons…

      I was just reading somewhere that Apple’s iPhone business ALONE is worth more than EVERYTHING that Google does. “Our Lady of Perpetual Beta” rushes out another beta project (music) just before Apple shows everyone how to do it right, and yet Google’s shares are given a premium.

  4. @Rimshot,
    Sales for everyone BETTER be increasing. The whole “smartphone” Market is growing. Mostly at the expense of “feature” phones or “dumb” phones, whatever each of these actually means.
    I think it means that mostly new sales comprise of people upgrading their old phones to ones that “do more stuff” since almost everyone in the world has a mobile phone.

    Anyway the Market is going to smartphones (and incidentally Horace Dediu, the article’s author, has a countdown over on his blog for when smartphones achieve 50 percent of all mobile phones, so we don’t have to say “smartphones” any longer, and can just say “phones”).

    Regardless, Apple plays in the smartphone category only and even so, apple is apparently fourth or so largest phone vendor by unit in the world. It passed RIM a year ago. By revenue and profit, Apple is biggest and is bigger than about the next four vendors combined.

    So, yes, RIM may have made more sales than the previous year. Everyone should grow their sales at least as much as the Market grows. I don’t think RIM did.

  5. Fandroids, Google makes about 1 billion a year on Android devices. Apple makes about 16 billion a year on iOS devices and subsequent iTunes purchases.

    Who is winning? Who is whining?

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