Apple Launches A Revolution... and Then Gets Overtaken?

At least, that’s what Richard Wray and Bobbie Johnson of the Guardian conclude:

… while Apple caused a revolution [with the iPhone], it is unlikely to become dominant in the market. It has sold just over 20m iPhones since the first device appeared in 2007; in that time more than 1.5bn phones have been shipped by everyone else. A similar thing happened with the personal computer market. The concept was championed by Apple when it launched Apple II, the worlds first personal computer, in 1977, and the first Macintosh in 1984, but other players now lead the market.

This argument — whose conclusion, for some reason, hinges strictly on unit sales of the iPhone units sold vs. the rest of the phones in the market as a metric for performance — overlooks several critical points:

1. Looking at sales numbers for all phones worldwide is meaningless; rather an examination of the so-called “smart phone” sales numbers would make for more meaningful insights.
2. The iPhone isn’t available in every market — in order to make a meaningful point about its sales performance, they ought to (at least also) isolate its relative performance in the markets the product is actually available in.
3. The rest of their competitors have been selling devices for a decade or more.

I guess it makes for a headline that gets the click-throughs, but since their conclusion is antithetical to the understanding everyone else looking at the iPhone’s market performance has, I would suggest merely that I’d like to see them support their assertion with something slightly more compelling and meaningful than comparing iPhone sales versus the rest of mobile phones on the planet.