• Bruce Burke

iPhones Dominate September Sales - and That Ain't All

Updated: Nov 28, 2020

In a new report from Counterpoint the list of top 10 selling smartphones for the first week of September was released. -- Five of the top ten best sellers were iPhones.

Counterpoint's report shows all top three selling handsets are all iPhones. iPhone 11,11 Pro Max, and iPhone SE 2020 are still seeing strong smartphone sales in the US. Apple also took the 5th and 6th spots with the iPhone XR and iPhone 11 Pro. Essentially, every iPhone that Apple currently sells is on the list and now we’re getting close to the iPhone 12 launch.

Android - But Not Pixel

It's important to note that although there are Android phones in the top ten, none are the branded Pixel phones from Google.

Although Android phones like the LG Stylo and K51 made the list, not even the entry-level Pixel 4a was included in this list. Samsung's flagship, the Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G was the biggest contender, with the standard Note20 5G and S20 5G also making the cut. This shows a real lack of commitment to the Android Ecosystem. Google's handsets should be top sellers in Android.

Global Industry Dominance

Even with Apple dominating the smartphone market, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Apple is also dominating in many other categories. Tablets, Smart Watches and Wireless Earbuds to name a few. Apple has sold more than 500 million iPads worldwide since being introduced in 2010.

The Cupertino-based company recently conducted a study, the results of which were revealed at the recent iPad release event. Today 53% of new iPad buyers buy their first tablet from Apple. They also said the iPad has the highest customer satisfaction rate of any tablet manufactured to date.

According to a study from Strategy Analytics smartwatch shipments grew 20% annually to reach 13.7 million units in the first quarter of 2020, up from 11.4 million units in the previous quarter. Apple Watch remained in the top position, with 55% global market share, followed in second place by Samsung.

Apple was the first to release truly wireless headphones aimed at the smartphone market. The uptake achieved by AirPods inspired a litany of copycats, many with identical designs. Apple spawned a whole new industry segment that every major manufacturer is now trying grab a piece of. Counterpoint's Q2 2020 figures indicate Apple had over a third of the global market at 35%.

They are followed by Xiaomi with 10%, and Samsung at 6%. Both Jabra and JBL had a 3% share each, with others making up the remaining 43% of the total market. Apple accounted for nearly half of all sales in the truly wireless earphones category in 2019, and is expected to sell 82 million units this year, up from 61 million units the previous year.


“AirPods are the best-selling headphones in the world. The one-tap setup experience, incredible sound and iconic design have made them a beloved Apple product" said Phil Schiller, former senior vice president of worldwide marketing.

New spatial sound and automatic device switching along with the rumored release of AirPods Studio headphones will only add fuel to the fire. Recent releases of both iPad and Apple Watches will continue to further this growth in all segments; Smartphones, Tablets, Watches and Wireless Headphones.

Organizations that outperform over a sustained period of time bake innovation into their culture. Apple embodies four traits common to innovative organizations: creativity, collaboration, courage, and execution.

Sustained Growth

Achieving a consistently high level of performance is no easy feat in today’s rapidly changing business environment. History is littered with examples of organizations and products that have struggled to maintain their hold on leadership positions.

Research-in-Motion’s BlackBerry is just one example. They failed to transition from an email-based platform to an Internet friendly handset. In this year alone we’ve seen once-mighty brands in retail, consumer products and other sectors topple from their ivory towers. Some of this is pandemic-related, but most often it can be tied to complacency and lack of innovation - what got you there - may not sustain your position.


I remember the memes when Apple first announced that they were courageously removing the headphone jack from their smartphones. But they removed the headphone jack for two reasons. One, to improve the product for water resistance, second and most importantly they really believed in the new AirPods and wanted to further adoption of these truly wireless earbuds. The original EarPods with their iconic white cable was a standard for a decade - you saw them everywhere. But turn TV today and you'll find your favorite commentator with AirPods dangling from their ears.

Many laughed at Apple's use of the noun, but when courage is combined with execution its a powerful driver. Prior to being tapped to succeed Steve Jobs, Tim Cook's position at Apple was responsible for the company's worldwide sales and operations. Although I didn't care for anyone who was trying to fill Job's shoes when he passed, Tim was the right choice from an organizational standpoint. He has only to continued to push the boundaries of product and innovation in his new position of CEO of Apple. Rolling out a bevy of new products and services in a few short years.

One Step Further

For more than a decade, Apple’s silicon design team has been building Apple's System on a Chip (SoC). Now being referred to as Apple Silicon, the result is a scalable architecture custom designed for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch that leads the industry in unique features and performance per watt, making each of them - best in class. Building upon this architecture, Apple is now designing a family of SoCs for the MacOS.

In June at WWDC, Apple announced it will transition the Mac to its world-class custom silicon to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies. Their line of SoC's started with the A4 chip that was featured in the iPad when it was released a decade ago. The current iteration is the new A14 Bionic that was introduced with the 2020 iPad Air. This same chip is expected in the forthcoming iPhone 12 when it's released in October.

Developers should start readying their apps to take advantage of the advanced capabilities of Apple Silicon in the Mac lineup of laptops, desktops and workstations. This transition away from Intel exclusively to Apple Silicon will establish a common architecture across all Apple products, making it far easier for developers to write and optimize their apps for single unified ecosystem.

Big Sur

Like the mountainous section of the central California coast it was named after, Big Sur is a major update of the macOS. This soon to be released iteration delivers its biggest update in more than a decade and includes technologies that will ensure a smooth and seamless transition to Apple Silicon. Developers can easily convert their apps to run on Apple Silicon.For the first time, developers will have the ability make their iOS and iPadOS apps available on the Mac without any modifications whatsoever.

Apple plans to ship the first Mac with Apple Silicon by the end of this year - completing the entire transition in approximately two years. Apple will continue to support and release new versions of macOS for Intel-based Macs for many years to come. The transition to Apple silicon represents the biggest leap ever for the Mac and Apple as a whole - again courage combined with execution.


“From the beginning, the Mac has always embraced big changes to stay at the forefront of personal computing. Today we’re announcing our transition to Apple silicon, making this a historic day for the Mac,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “With its powerful features and industry-leading performance, Apple silicon will make the Mac stronger and more capable than ever. I’ve never been more excited about the future of the Mac.”

Tim's excitement isn't just about the update to the Mac. Moreover, it's an excitement about a unicorn that has eluded the computer industry since its inception. The promise of a technology platform that is interconnected and works seamlessly across all devices in the ecosystem. Apple's commitment to creativity, collaboration, courage and execution is making it all possible. I'm all-in on the promise that Apple's made in advancing computing and unifying many disparate devices.

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