iPhone 5 helps Apple's iOS topple Android in the US

Strong iPhone 5 sales have contributed to a growing market share for Apple's iOS. For now, Google's Android OS lags behind. 

A holiday shopper hunts for iPhone accessories at the Apple Store in San Francisco in late November. Strong iPhone sales have helped vault iOS back over Google's Android in the US.

Apple's iOS has toppled Google's Android operating system in the US, according to a new study from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. 

Spurred on by strong iPhone 5 sales, Apple currently dominates 48.1 percent of the American smartphone market, Kantar Worldpanel says. By comparison, Android has approximately 46.7 percent. In other words, there are more iPhone 5, 4S, 4, and maybe even 3GS handsets in the US than all of the Android phones from Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and others.

"The last time we saw iOS overtake Android in the US was when the iPhone 4S was released and Apple managed to retain its lead for three consecutive [quarters]," Dominic Sunnebo of Kantar Worldpanel ComTech wrote in a press statement today. "This time we predict that Apple will beat its previous high of 49.3 percent and achieve its highest ever share of the US smartphone market within the next two [quarters]." 

So what's behind the big numbers for Apple? Well, buzz probably has a lot to do with it. The long-awaited iPhone 5 launched in late September to an unprecedented marketing push from Apple, and a corresponding groundswell of press. For several weeks, even if you didn't follow the tech world that closely, it was really hard to avoid mention of the iPhone 5 and iOS 6, the new mobile operating system. 

But over at ZDNet, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes has a different theory. What if, he wonders, the whole thing has to do with the relative accessibility of Apple devices and the iOS ecosystem? 

"Let's face it, from the outside there's little to separate one black rectangle from another other than screen size," Kingsley-Hughes notes. "What separates them from each other is not how they look, but how they work, and if more people are buying Android devices than iOS devices, but more iOS users are using them to do real stuff like shopping, that's down to the software – both the operating system itself, and maybe the apps." 

Android or iOS user? Drop us a line in the comments section. And for more tech news, follow us on Twitter @venturenaut.

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