There’s been indications that Apple staged something of a comeback in the U.S. during the fourth quarter, owing partly to an iPhone 5-related spike. ComScore’s smartphone share data for December appears to bear that out. It estimates that Apple claimed a 36.3 percent slice of the American market in the last month of 2012: that’s a noticeable boost from 35 percent in November, and two points up since the iPhone 5’s September arrival. Android remained on top at 53.4 percent, but it was once again unusually static, edging down from highs earlier in the year. Other platforms took their usual blows, although there’s no doubt some hopes for revival.
Just don’t anticipate looking for overall cellphone market share. ComScore has switched to focusing on smartphones, and it’s telling a different story than we’ve seen in the past. When only smartphones count, Samsung’s December share left it in second place, at 21 percent — still an increase over prior months, but not as large as Apple’s 36.3 percent. The biggest surprise is LG’s rise to 7.1 percent and fifth place, quite possibly due to the Optimus G and Nexus 4. Enough shifted that the market may be even less recognizable in 2013, for better or worse.