Apple Devices Top Holiday Gift List - InformationWeek

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Mobile // Mobile Devices
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12/30/2014
11:10 AM
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Apple Devices Top Holiday Gift List

iPhones, iPads represented more than half of mobile devices activated this holiday season.

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Google's Android platform may hold a commanding lead in the overall battle for mobile supremacy, but Apple's iPhone and iPad apparently make much better Christmas presents. A look at device activations between Dec. 19 and Dec. 25 shows that more people opened up shiny new Apple products than all other types combined. No wonder the iTunes App Store was so busy on Dec. 25.

Flurry called it a "banner year" for Apple, whose devices accounted for 51% of new activations worldwide. Tracking data from 600,000 apps to glean this insight, Flurry said the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus have helped propel Apple toward what will likely be a record holiday quarter.

Samsung accounted for about 18% of device activations during the six-day period in question, while Microsoft/Nokia represented 5.8% of activations. (Windows Phone's worldwide marketshare is less than 5%.) Sony and LG, both of which have excellent hardware in the market right now, rounded out the top five, with 1.6% and 1.4% of activations, respectively.

Flurry suggests devices from companies such as Huawei, Meizu, Xiaomi, and ZTE are largely absent from this week's sample because Dec. 25 is not a big gifting day in China and other Asia/Pacific nations. Android is king in such places, thanks to the widespread availability of low-cost hardware. To give the numbers a bit more punch, Flurry says Apple activated 2.9 devices for every Samsung device and 8.8 devices for every Microsoft/Nokia device.

[Is a larger iPad on the horizon? Read Apple's iPads: 4 Things To Watch In 2015.]

Nearly everyone who received a new device during the holidays made quickly for the app store to download content. According to Flurry, mobile device owners downloaded 2.5 times as many apps on Dec. 25 than on any other day in the first three weeks of December, with games and messaging apps most popular. Google's Play Store and Apple's iTunes and App Stores were both slow to respond under the pressure of heavy download volumes.

Phablets were among the season's biggest winners. Looking at various different form factors, Flurry's data shows big-screened phones accounted for 13% of new device activations during Christmas week. That's up more than 300% from the period a year ago. Medium-sized devices accounted for 64% of activations (on par with last year), while small-screened phones accounted for just 2%. The iPhone 6 Plus was one of the top five new devices activated, with the iPhone 6 at number one.

"The phablet's popularity seems to come at the expense of full-sized tablets, and to a lesser extent, small tablets," Flurry explained. "App developers should take into account the fact that larger screens are becoming the primary device; it's not just the secondary prime-time tablet anymore. Even so, the medium-sized phone is still favored by most consumers and saw the largest share of device activations this Christmas."

The first few months of 2015 will mirror the last few of 2014, Flurry predicts, which means growing adoption of iOS devices and a continued shift towards big-screen phones.

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Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio

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Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
1/2/2015 | 1:00:56 AM
Re: Phablets
Stratus, 

It's not a matter of small or big hands; it's what you can do with the device and the comfort a bigger device brings to your eyes if you want to use it for more than making a simple call. A bigger device is also better for typing. 

I have small hands; I don't have an iPhone 6 Plus but I have had one in my hands and just loved it in every sense. I thought it was perfect, including the size. The iPhone 6 is equaly a great device. However, if have to choose maybe I go for the iPhone 6 Plus.

What smaller iPhone? I don't see the point in something smaller than the iPhone 6, which is really good size if you don't like the size of the iPhone 6 Plus. 

-Susan

 
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2014 | 8:32:35 PM
Re: Phablets
"Lets see if this trend continues and what new products Samsung and HTC bring in to compete."

I thought by now most of the big manufacturers already have phablets.
On top of my head Samsung has the Note 4. HTC the One and I believe LG is coming the G4.

 
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2014 | 4:05:35 PM
Re: Phablets
I guess there must be a lot of people with huge hands. I'm not the type of the person crazy for large screen devices; especially, devices large enough to bend.  There is a huge hype among apple products and apple fans willing to purchase anything apple releases.  In the end the market will decide what type of devices become more popular.  At least, there is a large variation among vendors in terms of smartphone sizes that people still have a choice.   
Stratustician
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Stratustician,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2014 | 3:16:27 PM
Re: Phablets
I think there is still a viable market for iPod devices as when you look at the integration between Android and Mac computers themselves, there is still a lot to be wanted when it comes to working more holistically with certain programs.  For example, many users might have switched from iOS to Android and want something to still use with their iTunes or other iOS apps that they have purchased previously.  Others might just like the idea of having a separate media player outside their phones, especially if their are using their phones as part of a BYOD work initiative.
progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2014 | 11:18:23 AM
Re: Phablets
Agree @Angelfuego.  I was actually kind of expecting iTouches to fade away, phablets or not.  I think the only real genuide market for them is children still too young for a phone but old enough to want an electronic.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2014 | 11:03:55 AM
Re: Phablets
@Status: I haven't heard the rumor that you were referring to about the smaller iPhone for 2015. That appeals to me, but I don't know if that would appeal to the vast majority of consumers.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2014 | 11:01:06 AM
Re: Phablets
@[email protected]: Since phablets are the growing trend, that may explain why iTouches didn't make the top of the Apple holiday list. It lacks the phone capability and the larger screen, which is contrary to phablets.
Angelfuego
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Angelfuego,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2014 | 10:57:15 AM
Re: Phablets
@freespirit: That is a good question. I am surprised that the iTouch wasn't among the top holiday list for Apple Devices. I love my iTouch and prefer to keep my music and podcasts on a separate device. I gave an iTouch as a holiday gift and know that my nieces and nephew each received one as a Christmas gift. Maybe this is because they are too you for an iPhone or any phone and already have iPads in their homes.
freespiritny25
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freespiritny25,
User Rank: Ninja
12/31/2014 | 10:48:41 AM
Re: Phablets
I wonder if the sales of the iTouch increased this holiday season. I would love to receive an iPad or IPhone as a present.
Stratustician
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Stratustician,
User Rank: Ninja
12/30/2014 | 3:12:08 PM
Re: Phablets
I don't know, I'm still not convinced.  For some users, absolutely, the 6 Plus is a perfect device for its Phablet use, but in reality, many folks have smalller hands and so having these large devices aren't practical for every day.  That being said, with the rumors to release a smaller iPhone in 2015, I'm curious to see how that swings sales, since many consumers have been waiting for a smaller device than most of the current mobile device options out there.
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