There might be a whole lot more devices running on Google’s Android platform out there than Apple’s iOS mobile operating system, but when it comes to users browsing the web on their smartphones and tablets, the iPhone and iPad continue to reign.
It’s not exactly news that Apple’s devices are leading the push to use the Internet on devices other than computers. Despite the fact that Google is seeing 700,000 Android devices activated on a daily basis – with another 3.7 million activated over the Christmas weekend – Apple has been leading on the mobile web pretty much all along. And that means that iOS users on iPhones and iPads are seeing more ads on the web than their Android counterparts, which causes more attention to be paid toward marketing to them and making them happy.
In December 2011, Apple continued to be the dominant force in mobile browsing, with more than half of all mobile browsing being done on iOS devices, according to a report from Mashable. The numbers come from market research firm NetApplications, which found that Apple devices accounted for 52 percent of mobile web access in December, followed by Java ME with 21.27 percent of access. Coming in third was Android with 16.2 percent of web browsing, followed by Nokia’s slowly dying Symbian platform at 5.8 percent, and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry rounding out the top five with 3.5 percent.
But while more web browsing and more ad views are coming from Apple’s platform, it’s also losing some of the ground it gained in 2011. Back in October, iOS accounted for 61.5 percent of mobile browsing; in November, that number had fallen to 54 percent, and by December it dropped again to 52 percent. That’s still an impressive uptick, though, given that back in February, Apple only held down 46.6 percent of mobile browsing.
NetApplications found that iPhones are the primary devices hitting the web, accounting for 25.2 percent of Apple’s share of browsing. But keeping pace is the iPad, which is the reason Apple scores so well in browsing, with 24.5 percent of all Apple device mobile browsing being done on iPads. Back in October, the iPad surpassed the iPhone in browsing, but I’d guess the release of the iPhone 4S put the smartphone back on top.
Rumor has it that Apple has an announcement to make in New York later this month, and it very likely could be about advertising on iOS. With numbers like these, Apple will want to maintain its significant lead on mobile browsing if it can, in order to capitalize on advertising and keep content creators and app developers interested in iPhones and iPads over their competitors.