Why Apple is the Top Smartphone Maker

Nielson is out with some new statistics on the iPhone, pointing out that — as of March 2012 — about 1 in 3 smartphone owners globally are using iPhones. Earlier this year, Nielsen reported that smartphones account for half of all new mobile phone purchases in the U.S.

Nielson also said that Apple is also a top destination on the web, with 72 million unique US visitors to their site during April 2012 and “has been among the top 10 web brands overall.”   Visitors to Apple’s website spent nearly 1 hour on average during the month.

The analytical firm also said that iPhone users download  50 apps on average and that Facebook is the most used app followed closely by Maps. A third of iPhone users downloaded a paid app in the past 30 days.

Over at Business Insider, Henry Blodget argues that  Apple’s success is due to broader distribution (adding Sprint and other carriers), having lower priced models (including the 3GS), additional distribution partners such as Walmart, Amazon and Best Buy and the fact that iPhones cost about the same as competing products.

And, based on recent news, it could get even better for Apple. Virgin Mobile announced that it will soon offer the iPhone 4s on a pre-paid plan with no contract.  The phone itself will set users back $649 but the total cost of ownership over a two-year period, according to PC World, will be $1,369 which is $300 less than AT&T and more than $500 less than Verizon and Sprint.

As I pointed out in a previous post, one advantage of the iPhone over its Android competitors is a simpler number of choices compared to the highly fragmented Android market. While having a lot of choice and competition in the Android market has some advantages, having a (so far) a single screen size for Apple iPhones and an eco-system of accessories that mostly work across the line, has its advantages as well as does Apple’s enormous app eco-system.

Apple has consistently ranked at the top of J.D. Power and Associates rankings of smartphone manufacturers and, in March, achieved a store of 839 on a 1,000 point scale. HTC came in second with a score of 798. –Forbes