iPhones dominate Australian mobile internet

As an early adopter of the iPhone, I’ve noted its enthusiastic uptake in Australia. Looking on the streets and in meetings, it seems to be the dominant phone, at least in Sydney. Recent statistics prove this, showing the iPhone and iPod touch is dominant operating system – 93% of phones or mobile devices accessing the internet in Australia and NZ are iPhone iOS.

93% of phones accessing the internet in Australia are iPhones

93% of phones accessing the internet in Australia are iPhones

Yet this statistic globally tells a completely different story. iPhone and iPod touch (the newly defined iOS 4 platform) are at 60% of the mobile devices accessing the internet.

Global iPhone/iOS penetration is at 60%

Global iPhone/iOS penetration is at 60%

Is Australia & NZ heavy iPhone penetration because Blackberry and other smart phones didn’t have much mainstream uptake prior to iPhone release? Or is it because Australians are the heaviest users of social networks and social usage continues as the fastest growing mobile category? Either way, the statistics point to a massive behavioural change with mobile devices – phones are barely used for telephone calls, they are more data devices and the internet is in people’s pocket.

There are some other interesting statistics (this time global and just iPhone/iPod touch related)

  1. 225,000 applications in the iTunes app store
  2. 5 billion application downloads from iTunes store
  3. 73% of iPhone users have at least one 3rd party app
  4. 70 is the average number of applications on an iPhone
  5. There will be 100 million iOS 4 devices by July 2010

This is the mobile landscape that the iAd platform is releasing into, although  the iPad will be unable to see iAds until the iPad upgrade to iOS 4 likely to be September 2010.

iAd may transform digital display advertising in the same way that iPhone transformed phones, and with the app developers getting 60% of the revenue to fund further free/cheap application development. What the hope for iAd is to bring emotion & interactivity via content to digital platforms with no “hijacking” or need to leave or be directed out of the apps themselves. This in itself may bring a level of trust back to the digital space, where click through rates have been declining year on year. The question then will be: will the “emotionally engaging” iAds lift the rest of the digital display ad industry?

UPDATE: For all those who are questioning references Apple’s statistics, here’s a great summary of global smartphone statistics from AdMob:

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  • i had no idea the iPhone was taking over like that – but then i don't use net when mobile, mainly due to cost. I wonder if that has had a large impact on people using mobile internet in Oz. Most of the ppl i know who use phones (not iPhones) do so because they can't afford computers, or home internet.

    Maybe if you can afford an iPhone, you can afford the charges for a decent download limit on our slow speed net? I think more people would be using other phones/methods to connect, if it didn't cost so much. I do think iPhone is for those employed at more than minimum wage.

    BTW If i had an iPhone, and they were happily figuring out ways to sneak 'emotionally engaging' iAds onto it, i'd be looking at buying something else. Or commissioning someone to write an app to block that. 🙂

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  • Thanks for your comment Sheia, many data plans are capped which is why people are happily tapping away at online apps and general internet access. And many people are using their iPhone to take a modern “smoko” and go out and check their Facebook, YouTube or Twitter as the corporate networks are locked down, preventing access to any social channels.

  • Runningchook17

    It think it has more to do with brand penetration of other handset brands and success in Asia and other countries. Nokia has a huge brand presence in Asia and represents a high proportion (upwards of 35% I believe) of smartphone handset owners (and subsequently Symbian OS use). There is probably a study here into iPhone/ Apple (as a handset brand) penetration into big markets like China, Singapore etc. And I think you'll find China has a very high and growing mobile internet reliance for those that have smartphones (hey, they entered the technological age at a later stage so tech evolution is happening differently)…

  • jeroxie

    But how long do you think this domination will last? With more developers looking into building apps for Andriod, will it be a downhill trend from now on?

  • jeroxie

    But how long do you think this domination will last? With more developers looking into building apps for Andriod, will it be a downhill trend from now on?

  • Thanks for your comment Jeroxie. I think Apple and iPhone/iPad app development will benefit from other platforms such as Android. It will help developers by developing once across multiple smart phone platforms (with tweaks of course). And I believe that the iAd network was created to help fund development – so that developers get income. No-one could have foreseen how massive the iphone app market has become. Its also likely that its reached a critical mass (aided now by the iPad) that Android is unlikely to dent too severely.

  • Thanks Runningchook, agree the relative age of the market and also the speed of internet has impact on the phone operating system. I still wonder why Nokia (and other brands of smartphones) never really took off here in Australia to the level of iPhone.

  • Craig Thomler

    Of course the figures are from Apple. Are there any from Hitwise or BigPond?

  • Hi Craig, yes the figures are from Apple. Have a look at http://metrics.admob.com/ for independent views on mobile access of web.
    Hitwise usually provide reports on hits to web sites rather than the operating systems accessing them.

  • jonathan

    interesting stuff! i think the apple share figure is inflated though – maybe because its within smartphones?? (still only about 25% of phones out there). you can access the web from non-smart phones too though….. apple is still a niche handset in australia, despite the number in marketing circles in major cities…

  • Thanks for your comment Jonathan. Optus recently revealed they had sold their millionth iPhone. In such a small market (and Optus being one of 3 major carriers) I would say that iPhone is moving out of niche status.

  • Anthony

    in small print “source Apple Australia” AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA ….. priceless

  • Anthony – its hardly small print. Maybe you just need glasses? And just to give you some food for thought, I've updated the post with some global stats from AdMob