Apple mobile market share grows on strength of iPhone, iPad

Five years after the iPhone debuted, Apple commands a one-third share of the smartphone market. And the one-two punch of the iPhone and iPad have combined to help iOS dominate competing mobile operating systems with a two-thirds share of the market.

That picture emerged in two new surveys from comScore and NetMarketShare, respectively–demonstrating Apple’s continued strength even as rivals try to assert themselves in the smartphone and tablet sectors.

ComScore’s report, released this week, was based on a survey of 30,000 smartphone subscribers. The company reported that Apple’s iOS platform ranked second to Google’s Android platform–31.9 percent to 50.0 percent, though Apple’s 1.7 percent growth in share from February to May doubled Google’s gain during that time.

Both companies were aided by the continued steep slide of Research in Motion, which dropped from 13.4 percent of the market in February 11.4 percent in May–and far down from the 37.3 percent share the BlackBerry maker commanded just 18 months ago.

Apple also showed surging strength against other manufacturers of both smartphones and non-smartphones. Samsung and LG led manufacturers with 25.7 and 19.1 percent of the market, respectively, with Apple third at 15 percent. But Apple’s growth–up from 13.5 percent of the market in February–far outpaced its rivals: Samsung, which gained a tenth of a percent, was the only other manufacturer to grow its share.

NetMarketShare’s June report, meanwhile, showed the combination of iPhone and iPad give iOS a peerless position among its mobile computing rivals: 65.27 percent of all mobile phone and tablet computers combined use Apple’s operating system. Android took a distant second place with 19.73 percent.

NetMarketShare’s report also demonstrated the challenge ahead for Microsoft as it prepares to take on the iPad with its new Surface tablet: The company’s two mobile operating systems–Windows Phone and Windows Mobile–combined for just 0.69 percent of the market. Comscore’s smartphone report offered a slightly cheerier outlook for Steve Ballmer and company–it suggested that a Microsoft-built platform is used by as much as 4 percent of smartphone owners.

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