Apple had a lot to be merry about this Christmas.
In the mobile device market, Apple (along with Google’s Android platform) had a record-breaking holiday in terms of new device activations. One market research firm, Localytics, reported there were 12.5 times more devices running Apple’s iOS platform during the Christmas holiday than during previous holidays – enough to just barely edge out Android. Another research firm, Flurry Analytics, took both platforms’ gains together, finding that device activations on Christmas alone leapt up to 6.8 million, from an average of 1.5 million for both iOS and Android during the rest of December.
The Christmas news seems to suggest that despite Android’s 700,000 daily activations, Apple still has a lot of popularity and is keeping pace in many ways with its Android rival. Andy Rubin, Google’s Android chief, revealed on Twitter this week that Android saw 3.7 million activations during Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, which amounts to about 2.7 times its normal activation rate, as TechCrunch reports. It’s not clear exactly how the numbers break down, but 3.7 million devices over those two days suggests that the big winner in the 6.8 million Christmas Day activations is Apple.
That’s probably due to the fact that Apple has iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads that all run the same operating system and all count as mobile devices, but the fact of the matter there is that having all those devices using the iTunes App Store is very good news for Apple. As Flurry reports, Christmas Day saw mobile app downloads spike to 242 million, up from an average of 108 million per day during the rest of the month. It’s likely that, given Apple’s and Google’s track records with apps, a majority of those and the billion downloads Flurry projects between Christmas and New Year’s are happening on iOS devices.
Of course, we don’t know for sure just how the downloads break down – it might be that Android is pulling down big numbers and most iOS users downloaded Angry Birds and didn’t go any further than that. But it’s highly unlikely, given that iOS users tend to download more apps for their devices and that the Android Market only recently surpassed 10 billion downloads, a number iOS hit at the beginning of the year.
Android routinely bags more users than iOS, but with lots of device makers and carriers fragmenting the Android app ecosystem, Apple still reigns supreme in terms of revenue for developers. That means more developers creating more apps for Apple’s devices. But if Apple has something to worry about, it’s the growing disparity between the number of users it claims and Android’s growing worldwide user base. Record-breaking days like Christmas 2011, on the other hand, go to show that Apple is still a big time contender in lots of other fields, even if there are more users worldwide with Android devices in their hands than iPhones and iPads.