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iPhone Most Popular US Handset & Most Reliable

Gordon Kelly


iPhone Most Popular US Handset & Most Reliable

Get ready for a comments avalanche...

In about the best possible news Apple could have anticipated today the iPhone 3G has officially become the most popular handset in the US and has also been independently judged as far the most reliable.

Dealing with those sales figures first, the iPhone 3G has finally toppled the horrible, awful, godforsaken Motorola RAZR to become the top selling mobile phone (not just smartphone) among our newly enlightened Yankee compatriots (let's just keep stoking those comments!). Amazingly the RAZR had been the top model for the previous 12 quarters.

"The displacement of the RAZR by the iPhone 3G represents a watershed shift in handset design from fashion to fashionable functionality," said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for NPD - who conducted the research. "Four of the five best-selling handsets in the third quarter were optimized for messaging and other advanced Internet features."

Interestingly, that top five in full is the iPhone 3G then all models of the RAZR V3 (that's a lot of variants), BlackBerry Curve (again, all models), LG Rumour and LG enV2.

Secondly, in a separate report independent warranty seller SquareTrade has proclaimed the original iPhone to be the most reliable smartphone with a failure rate of just 5.6 per cent in the first 12 months of ownership. By comparison BlackBerry handsets failed at a rate of 12 per cent (more than double) and Palm's at 16 per cent.

This lead is also predicted to hold steady at two years with SquareTrade projecting an iPhone failure rate to be 9 to 11 per cent (the original isn't yet two years old) while solid data on BlackBerry and Palm Treos have them at 14.3 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.

Funnily enough, all this data comes in spite of the fact the original iPhone was slipperier than a greased weasel and SquareTrade stating 80 per cent of its failures were due to "drops, spills and other accidents". So given the iPhone 3G introduced a rounded, more grip-friendly design could we soon see this rate fall even further?

Apple fans, BlackBerry fans, Windows Mobile fan(s) and Palm fan (there's no need for bracketing the 's' here) - to the comments section with you. And remember: no rabbit punches, no hitting below the belt…


PND Group Press Release



November 10, 2008, 11:28 pm

wow, this is getting out of hand :D


November 10, 2008, 11:31 pm

@jordanwise - yep, I'm cautiously optimistic of avoiding WWIII... but not counting my chickens yet!!

Matt G Baish

November 10, 2008, 11:33 pm

"...newly enlightened Yankee compatriots..." + "Amazingly the RAZR had been the top model for the previous 12 quarters" = Clouds with legs.


November 11, 2008, 12:43 am

somebody (apple) make the first phone with a harddrive. i'm dying for one :D

Geoff Richards

November 11, 2008, 1:05 am

Well, I guess after 3 YEARS at the top, everyone who wanted a RAZR has bought one, and iPhone overtook it to the top of the sales chart for a single quarter. Let's not forget that this will be thanks to the launch of iPhone 3G - it seems the original couldn't knock Moto off the top.

I was told recently that there are only 250,000 iPhones in the UK... versus 2 MILLION Nokia N95. That's quite a difference in scale :)


November 11, 2008, 1:46 am

@Geoff - sorry, but that's miles off mate!

iPhone sales figures were around 200k TWO MONTHS after the launch of the original!


Given the subsidised 3G edition has been the real sales king I'd expect figures around 5x - 10x that now.

The N95 is said to be closer to 1m units and has been on sale for longer, available cross network and subsidised since day one.


November 11, 2008, 2:13 am

@Geoff - now I'm no insider, but I do have (albeit low-key) contacts within Apple, O2 and Carphone Warehouse, and I know that there's way more than 250,000 iPhone units in use in the UK. But yes there's certainly significantly more Nokia N95's out there than that of Cupertino's mobile marvel :)


November 11, 2008, 2:45 am

@Shaun - "But yes there's certainly significantly more Nokia N95's out there than that of Cupertino's mobile marvel" - not according to my contacts...

b o d

November 11, 2008, 3:11 am

A market research company publishes a press release without detailing any sales figures or include corporate/enterprise purchases and this makes the iphone the official most popular handset in the US?

Square trade state that 80% of iphone come from drops, spills and other accidents and then claim to be the only place to get iphone accident protection.....

Am I missing something or do these seem more like sponsored press releases. I'd prefer to see sales figures from LG/Nokia/Apple or even the larger retailers before reading that something is official.

I'll be getting one in the new year so that'll add one more to the number of sales. The Sonos app will be the clincher. With all the Apple fanboys around I think I'll be quite embarassed answering calls in public though.


November 11, 2008, 3:16 am

I've said it before and i'll say it again - Apple doesn't ultimately make the best-in-class of any device out there if you look at the spec-sheet alone. However, when you look at what you get for your money; the hardware+software+user experience, it takes SOME beating.. and the beat goes on...


November 11, 2008, 6:58 am

@ThaDon - very succintly said, I may steal that ;)


November 11, 2008, 10:48 am

Smells like just another Stevie J Victory

Geoff Richards

November 11, 2008, 1:51 pm

@Gordon - I did wonder about those figures at the time, but I confess I didn't bother to sanity check them as they came from a source who really ought to know exactly what they are. I'll ask for an update :)


November 11, 2008, 1:55 pm

"I'll be getting one in the new year so that'll add one more to the number of sales. The Sonos app will be the clincher. With all the Apple fanboys around I think I'll be quite embarassed answering calls in public though."

I'm sorry mate but you can't have it both ways. Just because someone has bought and likes their iPhone, it doesn't make them a fanboy just as it apparently won't make you a fanboy when you buy one. To say otherwise is just hypocrisy of the highest level.


November 11, 2008, 2:38 pm

Where do I start? Oh yes, advertising! Apple spends more money than any other company, outside Japan, on advertising, and do you know why? Because they have to. The iPhone, like the iPod before it, is a fashion accessory. The majority of the people who buy an iPhone buy it because everybody wants one. It's a must-have item, a cool item, something new and shiny that people need to have so people can think they're something they're not. If you think this is wrong, do you recall the other fashion handset that was usurped from first place? Apple has marketed the iPhone all over the world, on TV, on billboards, in magazines, in TV shows; the list of product placements, in the latter, is long and more than any other handset on the market.

Regardless of whether people say "I bought one because it offers the best Internet experience on any handset", the iPhone doesn't cater to the masses, it caters to the people who want to buy into the whole Apple way of thinking. If you look at the figures of the people who bought an iPhone, they didn&#8217t buy I because it has all these great features, such as full HTML browsing, GPS, multi-touch functionality etc, they bought it for the reasons outlined in the first paragraph and so they can access Bebo and YouTube easier than normal.

If these are the type of users who will dictate the trend of new handsets to market, I shudder to think what the handset market will be like in 2-3 years.


November 11, 2008, 3:21 pm

No one's said this yet, so I might as well throw it into the mix:

The iphone is also a really good mobile gaming platform. Its all very well that other 'phones have more advanced features and applications, but if they are less than completely intuitive to use, then people (ie people like me) are put off from using them. My experience is limited, but I haven't found games on other 'phones to be nearly as engaging as the iphone games.

Finally, some words about fashion. Why do some people think that just because something is fashionable, its not good? Ok, sometimes fashion is just a case of jumping on the bandwagon, but often, the reason why something is popular is because its actually very good. Why shouldn't the fact that something is beautiful to use not be as important as this or that technical feature? If you don't believe that beauty is important, you may have some techie moral high ground, but just accept that you will always be in the minority!


November 11, 2008, 3:32 pm

While I won't deny you're probably right in many ways, with regards the masses adopting the iPhone, that doesn't change the fact that it is still the best device in its class. It just so happens that it's also the latest fashion must have.


November 11, 2008, 4:21 pm

@jordanwise - methinks we were a touch premature (good thing no one picked up on the Obama reference!)


November 11, 2008, 9:10 pm

@Rsaeire, I'm a software developer so as such I'm pretty techie and have had all sorts of fancy mobiles. The I-Phone certainly is low on feature spec, eg. crap camera etc but for me it's been the most usefully phone I've ever had. Why, you might ask, because it's so simple to use, yeah the Nokia's are a good spec phone, but I never could be bothered to use half it's features because it was too cumbersome. To be honest I'd say I'd feel lost without my I-Phone now, something I've not been able to say about a mobile phone for a long time.

Oliver Levett

November 11, 2008, 10:18 pm

The iPhone maybe the best in class, but that's because Apple marketing made a new class so they could say it was the best!

Rsaeire is on the money. Apple have flooded the market with advertising, the people I know who've bought one don't know what it can do. They mostly say "It looks nice" rather than anything about the actual device! And some of them barely know about any other device because most companies spend money on making decent hardware rather than marketing that can polish crap.

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