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IDC predicts Apple's iOS to grow to 17% of all smart connected devices in 2016

A new analysis combining PCs, tablets and smartphones into one category of "smart connected devices" projects iOS devices will grow from a 14.6 percent share of the market in 2011 to 17.3 percent in 2016.

Market research firm IDC released a new study estimating a total of 916 million units and $489 billion dollars in revenue for all smart connected devices last year. The research combined estimates from the groups PC, mobile phone and media tablet trackers.

The 2012 forecast for unit shipments of the category is 1.1 billion units worldwide. IDC predicts shipments will double from their 2011 numbers to almost 2 billion units by 2016. Compound annual growth rate (CAGR)

"Whether it's consumers looking for a phone that can tap into several robust 'app' ecosystems, businesses looking at deploying tablet devices into their environments, or educational institutions working to update their school's computer labs, smart, connected, compute-capable devices are playing an increasingly important role in nearly every individual's life," said Bob O'Donnell, IDC vice president.

According to the analysis, iOS devices will comprise 17.3 percent of the market in 2016, up from 14.6 percent last year. Meanwhile, x86-based Windows PCs are expected to decline sharply from 35.9 percent share in 2011 to 25.1 percent in 2016.

Chart: Worldwide Smart Connected Device Shipments, 2010-2016 (Unit Millions)Description: This data comes from IDC's WW Quarterly PC Tracker, WW Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, and WW Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker.Tags: Tracker, mobile phones, tablets, forecast, PCs, devices, consumer, IDC ...Author: IDCcharts powered by iCharts


Devices running Google's Android mobile OS on ARM CPUs are predicted "grow modestly" from 29.4 percent to 31.1 percent in 2016. IDC expects unsustainably thin profit margins on low-end Android devices and developer preference for the more profitable iOS app ecosystem to eventually slow the platform's growth.

"Android's growth is tied directly to the propagation of lower-priced devices," said Tom Mainelli, IDC's research director for mobile connected devices. "So, while we expect dozens of hardware vendors to own some share in the Android market, many will find profitability difficult to sustain. Similarly, we expect a large percentage of application developers to continue to focus their efforts on iOS, despite the platform's smaller overall market share, because iOS end users have proven more willing to pay for high-quality apps."

Over the next few years, consumers are expected to continue a trend toward owning multiple devices. ""We are in the multi-device age," O'Donnell said.

China and other Asia Pacific countries are projected to lead smartphone growth. A separate study by Flurry Analytics earlier this month found that China now leads the world in iOS and Android device activations.