Apple may have been relatively late to launch a 5G device, but sales of compatible iPhones mean that next-generation handsets now account for more than half of the market for the first time.
According to Counterpoint Research, 51% of all smartphones sold in January could connect to a 5G network, with the iPhone accounting for 37% of those.
Samsung, which was one of the first 5G manufacturers has a 12% share of the market, followed by Xiaomi (11%), Vivo (11%) and Oppo (11%).
The performance of the latter three companies is evidence of China’s early leadership in terms of deployment and adoption of 5G, but the influence of Apple is also having a major impact.
Apple has often been a slow adopter of new technologies, preferring to take its time to perfect its approach. For example, Android manufacturers introduced now-standard features like near-field communication (NFC) and wireless charging long before the iPhone, however it was only when Apple got on board that they became mainstream technologies.
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Part of the reason is that Apple’s tight integration of hardware and software, coupled with its ability to market and drive awareness among a receptive user base, drives adoption. This boosts familiarity with a technology and also encourages uptake of similar services on Android.
A separate survey published last week suggested that 5G was a key purchasing decision among consumers as coverage expands globally. Natural device lifecycles also help explain the surge, as it’s increasingly challenging to purchase a high or mid-range smartphone without 5G at present.
Apple’s influence could yet grow further with the launch of the latest iPhone SE, the first device in the mid-tier range to include 5G compatibility.