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Apple's iOS takes phone sales share in US, Australia prior to iPhone 5s launch

Apple's share of smartphone sales through the September quarter nudged up 1.3 percentage points in the U.S., 2.2 points in Latin America, and a dramatic 7 points in Australia, while slipping 6.4 points in China and losing 2.3 points across Western Europe.

The shifts, detailed in a report by Kantar Worldpanel, illustrate differences across territorial markets globally.

Kantar's U.S. figures also harmonize with the direction of numbers from comScore last month, which similarly showed Apple taking American phone share at the expense of Android and BlackBerry this summer.

Three growth regions for iOS

In the U.S., Kantar reported that Android fell 2.5 points over the year ago September quarter to reach 57.3 percent of sales, while Apple inched up to claim 35.9 percent of sales on the cusp of the release of new iPhone 5c and 5s models.

Nokia's Lumia running Windows Phone gained 1.9 percentage points to claim 4.6 percent of U.S. sales, while BlackBerry fell 1.2 points to end up with just 1 percent of the quarter's sales."The full impact of the new iPhones will be seen at Christmas when iOS is expected to bounce back strongly in Britain, the US and Australia" - Kantar

In Australia, Android fell even more dramatically, losing 10.8 points over the previous year to end up with 55.3 percent of sales. Apple was up 7 points, reaching 32.9 percent of sales, while Nokia claimed 9.3 percent and Blackberry 1.3 percent.

In Brazil, Argentina and Mexico, Kantar reports that iOS sales are up 2.2 percent YoY in the September quarter, but account for just 6.6 percent of all sales. Android share is up dramatically, taking 23.1 percentage points.

The big loser in that region is BlackBerry, down 9.2 percentage points, falling from 14.3 percent to just 5.1 percent of new sales in one year.

Kantar Q3 2013

Kantar analyst Dominic Sunnebo noted in the report, "August is traditionally a quiet month for Apple as consumers wait for the release of new models, and strong sales of the iPhone 5S and 5C at the end of September did not manage to make up for the lull. The full impact of the new iPhones will be seen at Christmas when iOS is expected to bounce back strongly in Britain, the US and Australia."

iOS phone share falls in China

Dramatic increases in generic Android phones were also apparent in China, where the OS now accounts for 81.1 percent of sales, albeit not in a way that really benefits Google. All other phone platforms saw a drop in overall sales share.

Apple's iOS reported a loss of 6.4 percent of all phone set sales in China, despite the company's YoY sales growth of 6 percent in the region. Kantar noted that Apple's sales are "expected to strengthen at Christmas."

Apple reported revenues of $5.733 billion for China in the quarter, a sequential increase of 24 percent, and revenues of $27 billion for greater China in the fiscal year, an increase of 14 percent.

iOS in Western Europe

In Western Europe (Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy and Spain), Kantar reported iOS losing 2.3 points of phone sales share in the quarter. Apple was actually up 2.4 percentage points in Spain, which has the highest percentage of Android users, now at 90 percent.

Apple was down 1 percentage point in Great Britain, half a percentage point in France and a point and a half in Germany. Apple lost the most market share ground in Italy, where it now has a reported 10.2 percent share of the phone market, lower than Nokia's 13.7 percent share, the feature of the report emphasized by Kantar and repeated by much of the media.

Kantar's numbers reflect sales occurring in Apple's fourth fiscal quarter, historically one of the lowest quarters for the company as it gears up for its important Q1 holiday season. The numbers also only reflect smartphone sales, ignoring the impact of iPad sales, which have been particularly important in growing Apple's sales in China and expanding the influence of iOS in education and in the enterprise.