Surprise! It turns out that the iPhone 4S is a pretty popular device.
American consumers gobbled up iPhones in November and December, according to the latest data from Nielsen, as Apple's ever-popular smartphone helped close the gap with rival mobile OS Android. Nielsen's latest consumer survey, conducted between October and December 2011, found that 44.5% of new smartphone buyers purchased an iPhone in December, while 46.9% purchased an Android device. In October, by contrast, just 25.1% of new smartphone buyers purchased an iPhone while 61.6% of new buyers purchased an Android device.
SLIDESHOW: First look: Apple iPhone 4S
The explanation for this iPhone surge over the span of two months is pretty simple, says Nielsen: It's all about the iPhone 4S. Nielsen found that 57% of new iPhone buyers in December reported buying an iPhone 4S, the newest version of the iPhone that came out this past fall. Among other things, the newest iPhone features Siri, the voice-enabled personal assistant, as well as access to Apple's iCloud online storage service.
In terms of overall U.S. smartphone market share, Nielsen found that Android maintained a comfortable lead at 46.3% of the market while Apple's iOS came in second with a 30% share of the market. In its previous survey released in September last year, Nielsen found that Android had a 39% share of the U.S. smartphone market while iOS had a 28% share.
Nielsen's survey also found that Research in Motion's share of the U.S. smartphone market has continued to deteriorate over the past three months. RIM's BlackBerry OS saw its market share drop to just less than 15% of U.S. smartphone users over the past quarter, down from 20% in Nielsen's previous survey. What's more, the percentage of new smartphone buyers who reported buying a BlackBerry plunged to just 4.5% in December this year, down from 6.4% in November and 7.7% in October.