The firm estimates Apple’s current share of the market at 12.7 percent, an incremental increase from the 12.1 percent it held in the third quarter of last year. That places it second behind Samsung, whose market-share declined from 32.1 percent to 24.4 percent over the past 12 months. Other ranked manufacturers included Huawei (5.3 percent), Xiaomi (5.2 percent), and Lenovo (5.0 percent), with a massive “Others” category of 47.5 percent.
“With the introduction of two large-screen phones for the first time, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple managed to neutralize the advantage of Android competitors,” Gartner wrote in an accompanying research note. “Gartner expects Apple to experience its biggest ever fourth-quarter sales, with both of its large-screen phones seeing demand exceed supply since their launch.”
Despite Apple’s slight gain, Android holds 83.1 percent of the smartphone OS market, with iOS trailing behind at 12.7 percent. Windows Phone came in a distant third with 3.0 percent, followed by BlackBerry with 0.8 percent and other operating systems with 0.4 percent.
What does this mean for your average app developer? Given that Apple continues to hold strong despite a growing plethora of Android manufacturers, those developing for iOS can probably stick to their current road maps without fear that the platform will somehow decline or implode in the near future. These Gartner numbers also reinforce that the smartphone world is still split between Android and iOS—those developing for Windows Phone or BlackBerry could have a harder time drawing a sizable audience to apps for those platforms.
Apple recently issued its list of 2014’s top iOS apps. Elevate (mini-games that supposedly boost players’ memory and focus) and Hyperlapse (an app that speeds up video footage) headed up that list, followed by a variety of news (Yahoo News Digest, Buzzfeed, etc.), camera (Camera+) and security (1Password) apps. Whatever the subject matter, these top apps boast some common characteristics: In addition to a certain degree of aesthetic quality, all do a relatively limited number of functions well, rather than try to cram the proverbial kitchen sink into their respective user interfaces. That’s a good lesson for anyone who wants to develop a hit app.
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