iOS 9.3 is coming in the Spring and will introduce Night Shift as well as a number of other new features.
Apple Widens Lead Over Samsung in U.S. Smartphone Race in 2013
NPD's data, which is based on a survey of roughly 5,000 consumers, is in close alignment with recent data from comScore that showed Apple with 41.2 percent of the market and Samsung at 26.0 percent in the September-November period.
Both firms track installed user base rather than sales, offering a more realistic picture of real-world usage but which is slower to react to shifting market trends given typical handset lifespans. Apple has shown steady increases under these studies over the past several years, even as Android has experienced significant growth. One recent study of trends by Asymco's Horace Dediu has predicted that Apple's share of installed user base in the U.S. will peak at 68 percent in 2017 when the smartphone market hits a saturation point at 90 percent of the country's population.
While Apple's performance remains strong in the U.S. and several other countries, Android has had more success attracting customers in many other markets around the world. Data from Kantar Worldpanel for the August-October period pegged Apple's share of the market in many European countries and China in the 15-20 percent range, with iOS barely registering in some countries such as Spain.