Apple broke through a symbolic barrier at the start of September as a study of desktop market share from NetApplications revealed that it had broken through the six percent mark in desktop usage share for the first time. The Mac hit 6.03 percent in August and had gained nearly a full point over the course of one year. Although it had yet to dislodge Microsoft from its dominant spot, almost all the gain was at Windows’ expense, as the OS dipped from nearly 94 percent last August to 92.9 percent.
The new results also represented the first time NetApplications could break out mobile usage on its own and revealed that Android had far less control of mobile device usage when non-phone hardware came into play. iPads, iPhones, and iPod touch players combined were in the majority at 53.04 percent where Android, even with a rapid gain, was just short of 16 percent. The iPhone would still be in front in total devices owned by itself, NetApplications said: 27.39 percent were iPhones, while 22.5 percent were iPads and 3.14 percent iPods. Android 3 tablets combined had 0.46 percent.
BlackBerry traffic in this expanded view was just 3.33 percent, and Nokia’s Symbian was at 6.21 percent. Microsoft was still distant but had some consolation in Windows Phone’s share. Despite Gartner share data that showed Samsung’s Bada on top, Windows Phone at 0.22 percent was still being used more than Bada, which rested at 0.07 points.
Browser results were more favorable to Google. On the desktop, Chrome hit an all-time high of 15.51 percent, up over a point, where Safari dipped to 4.64 percent. Microsoft again hit a new low at 55.31 percent. Again looking at mobile share for the first time, Safari’s role as the stock mobile Safari browser on iOS gave it a virtually identical 53 percent command of the mobile space. Android’s official browser had leapt up to 15.73 percent, but it was still significantly behind, whose cross-platform nature kept it at 20.77 percent .
As before, NetApplications results reflect current users and not total shipments. They still imply that Apple has considerably more control of the desktop and mobile spaces than portrayed elsewhere, particularly in studies elsewhere that only cover smartphones. The iPad’s majority lead in tablets and Google’s near-complete absence in MP3 players have reduced Android’s perceived impact.