iPhone or Android: The Transition

With the release of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple is causing some Android users to seriously consider their brand loyalty. In a Wall Street Journal interview, Apple CEO, Tim Cook, said he believes the release of the latest versions of the iPhone will result in the “mother of all upgrades.” While some could argue that this statement is Cook’s way of trying to influence consumer behavior, there is some truth behind his perspective.

Market research not only shows greater customer loyalty to the Apple platform but also greater interest in switching to this platform. Based on a survey by 451 Research/Yankee Group conducted before the introduction of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, 24% of Android users in the U.S. reported that they intended to switch to Apple. By comparison, only 9% of Apple customers shared they intended to switch from Apple. Furthermore, the last time the iPhone screen size increased (i.e., the iPhone 5 in 2012), 24% of the consumers who purchased it in the first quarter were Android owners, and Apple still holds the largest share of smartphones for three of the top four U.S. mobile carriers according to research conducted by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners and appleinsider.

While these statistics support Cook’s point, actually making the transition will involve incurring another sunk cost which may be a bit of a deterrent for those considering the transition. Photos and contacts can be moved from one platform to another with relative ease, but apps are another story. The manufacturers of smartphones want to keep you as a long-term customer. So, they look for ways to discourage you from switching from one phone to another. One way is by not allowing you to take apps with you as you switch platforms.

Nielsen research shows that U.S. users spend 65% more time each month using apps than two years ago, and the average number of apps used per month is around 27. Therefore, apps are an important area of concern related to the transition. If you are an avid downloader or user of apps and you switch from Android to Apple, you will have to start from scratch with your apps.

A potential app argument for the Apple platform is the number and quality of existing apps. Historically, more apps have been available for the iPhone. Although the increasing number of apps available for the Android platform is reducing Apple’s advantage, Apple users still spend more on apps which leads to larger paydays for the developers of the apps. In fact, Apple gives about twice as much of its proceeds from apps to developers compared to Android. Consequently, there is still a stronger incentive for app developers to focus on apps for the iPhone making it more likely that the Apple platform will continue to be a higher priority.

Regardless of which smartphone camp you call home, there are pros and cons to both the Android and the iPhone platform (including any issues that usually become evident with release of the latest version). Before you make the decision to switch to the iPhone 6, it is worth considering the amount of time, energy and other resources such a transition will involve. For more information, see 451 Research/Yankee Group, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners and appleinsider.

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Ryan Lahti is the founder and managing principal of OrgLeader, LLC. Stay up to date on Ryan’s STEM-based organization tweets here: @ryanlahti

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