Has Apple won the smartphone war?

VENICE BEACH, CA (USA TODAY) -- Has Apple won the smartphone war?

After a record-setting shipment of 74.5 million iPhones in the last three months of 2014, it certainly looks that way despite the lopsided market share rankings between Apple and chief rival Android.

Yes, Android has 67% of the market, according to Gartner, to Apple's 10%, but most of that is with lower-end models sold in emerging markets.

If you rang all the iPhones sold quarterly through a cash register, and then did the same with comparative Android phones, "it would be 10- to 1 for Apple," says Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies.

"There is money to be made in Android," he says. "But so much more for Apple."

In the U.S., Apple's market share is much stronger. It's most recent is 42%, according to comScore, to 29.7% for Samsung and 7.6% for LG.

On a phone basis, the top runner-up to the iPhone is the Samsung Galaxy line, which sells about 15 million units per quarter, and of late, has been going not up, but down.

Think about selling 75 million units of any product during a four month period and the logistics of getting them all out through the production line and into stores. Apple is expected to sell another 62 million to 63 million iPhones in the current quarter, according to market researcher Rosenblatt Securities.

"Nobody's ever sold 75 million units of a single brand," says Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray.

What electronics product here even comes close?

I started digging around, and according to the Consumer Electronics Association, after smartphones (more than 1 billion sold worldwide, each year) the next most popular item would be LCD TVs.

They sell around 62 million units per quarter, according to the CEA.

Some 9.7 million Ultra HD 4K TVs were sold in the fourth quarter.

Computers -- which includes desktops and laptops, is a big category, generating around 80 million units per quarter -- but that's from a variety of vendors, including Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Dell.

The iPhone is such a way of life for so many consumers that some 25% of all the customers at the eSalon e-commerce website use the iPhone to get in and order custom hair color, says eSalon co-founder Francisco Gimenez.

"It's quite surprising that one single device will take so much market share," he says.

Gimenez was a guest on our weekly Talking Tech roundtable audio podcast from the Tunein.com studios, where the never-ending fascination with the iPhone dominated our conversation.

"It's just the best product out there," says Gregg Spiridellis, the co-founder of e-commerce site JibJab.

Apple is on track to top 100 million iPhones sold during this quarter. Since 2007, the company has sold over 650 million iPhones to date.


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