For the first time since the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project began tracking smartphone penetration, that device category has achieved a majority share among American cell phone owners. As of May 2013, 56 percent of cell phone-owning American adults own a smartphone, up from nearly 10 points from February 2012 and more than 20 points from May of 2011. Commensurate with the smartphone's rise has been the a decline in the number of adults who own a different sort of cell phone or no cell phone, now down to 35 and nine percent, respectively.
Just as the smartphone has taken center stage among cell phones, Apple's iPhone has taken center stage among smartphones. Pew's poll found that fully 25 percent of cell phone owners said their device was an iPhone. That figure was up from 19 percent in February 2012 and 10 percent in May 2011.
Pew's figures largely align with other U.S. smartphone market figures. Those have found Apple with a large and growing share of the American smartphone market as well. As is the case with other analyses, Pew's study found that the iPhone's growth has largely come at the expense of second-tier platforms such as BlackBerry and, to an extent, Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system. Devices running Google's Android operating system accounted for 28 percent of American cell phones.
The study also found a number of demographic trends surrounding iPhone ownership. Owners of Apple's smartphone tended to be on the higher end of the income and education spectrum. Thirty-eight percent of respondents who had completed at least four years of college owned an iPhone, versus 29 percent for Android-powered phones.
With regard to income, Pew's study found that households bringing in more money tended to have more iPhone users. Twenty-five percent of respondents from households making between $50,000 and $75,000 said they were iPhone users, and 40 percent of respondents pulling in $75,000 or more owned iPhones. Nearly half (49 percent) of cell phone-owning respondents with a household income of $150,000 or more were iPhone users.