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Apple Continues to Dominate the Premium Smartphone Market

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Last week Patently Apple posted a report titled "In the Smartphone Volume Game alone, Samsung remains Number One Worldwide." I noted in that report that Gartner's numbers were based on general worldwide "volume shipments" while Kantar's earlier report focused on the high-end of the smartphone market where Apple remains king. Android fans got their nose out of joint stating that I was "moving the goal posts to apple's favor by comparing individual sales of the phones." Duh, Apple doesn't participate in every niche within the smartphone market because they're a premium brand OEM. So comparing Apple's high-end to Samsung's high-end directly is a legitimate statistic.


Apple isn't only the leader in the high-end of the market, they're the profit leader by the widest of margins. Fortune noted in February of this year that "With 17.2% of the smartphone market in 2015, Apple captured 91% of the profit. Samsung, with 23.9% of the market, took 14% of the profit. Fortune further noted in their report that "Apple, however, just keeps clearing the table. It took 91% of what [Canaccord Genuity analyst] Walkley calls the mobile market's "value share" in four of the past five quarters. In the fifth, it took 93%.


Another report has surfaced today from Business Korea confirming that Apple is still the number one high-end smartphone leader, despite Samsung making positive strides in challenging Apple.


The report specifically noted that "According to Bloomberg Intelligence (BI) which provides research service on August 21, IDC, a market survey company estimated that in the second quarter of this year, Samsung recorded a market share of 35.9%, up 4.4%p from a year before in the global high-end smartphone (US$ 500 or higher) market. By contrast, Apple's market share dropped by 9.2%p to 50.9%." This in a year where Samsung put out their best smartphone in more than two years against Apple's mild upgrade in the form of the iPhone 6s line-up.


Even at the top end, Samsung has one more model than Apple with their Note 7 that supports handwriting with their S Pen. While Apple has reportedly dropped going with an iPhone Pro for this year, it may be something that surfaces in the future which could level the playing field in terms of the number of high-end models each company sells. With a unit that supports handwriting and the Apple Pencil, Apple would only increase their lead at the high-end with Samsung.


But for now, even with Samsung having an extra model at the high end, Apple is still king of the premium smartphone, the most profitable smartphone on the planet.


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