The heavy price tag attached to Apple’s iPhone series may actually save money in the long run. A new study shows that the prices for the top paid-for apps in the Android market are “dramatically” higher than those in Apple’s store.
Image Credit: Apple/Samsung/IBTimes UK Apple/Samsung/IBTimes UK

New research from the Nielsen Wire suggests that Apple's iPhone 4S has gained ground on Google's Android in the race for US smartphone sales supremacy.

According to Nielsen, the launch of its new flagship smartphone, the iPhone 4S, led to an enormous end of year sales increase for Apple. Nielsen went on to report that while the sales boom wasn't large enough to rob Google of its lead, it did markedly increase Apple's overall share of the US smartphone market.

Specifically Nielsen's research reported that of the consumers surveyed in December 2011, 44.5 percent responded saying they had chosen an iPhone over an Android handset. The figure showed a massive 19.4 percent increase over the figures recorded by Nielsen in October.

Despite the positive news for Apple, Nielsen analysts were quick to note that Android continued to hold the majority share of the US smartphone market. Nielsen reported Android as a accounting for 46.3 percent of the market.

The research's findings run in tandem to the sales figures currently being reported by Apple. While remaining shy of releasing the new iPhone's exact sales figures, Apple has confirmed that the device is its fastest selling smartphone to date.

Launched in the US and Europe in October 2011, the 4S already boasts record breaking opening sales. According to reports from Apple, in October 2011 after its release the iPhone 4S broke the company's previous pre-orders sales records, boasting one million pre-orders in its opening 24 hours before scaling up to break the three million mark by the end of its first week.

Following its strong pre-order sales Apple confirmed on Monday, 17 October that the 4S had sold over four million iPhone 4S units, just three days after release.

As noted by Nielsen, should Apple's good fortunes continue, it could gain yet more ground on Google. Nielsen predicted that the number of US smartphone users would exponentially increase in 2012, with 60 percent of those surveyed within the last three months reporting a preference for smartphones over feature phones - a marked increase on the 46 percent figure recorded by Nielsen in Q4 2011.

If true, then Apple could increase its iPhone user-base, with the growing number of "new" smartphone users representing a currently untapped market.