Android toppled iOS last year in terms of raw users, but Apple may soon take back its throne.
A new survey of 16,000 U.S. smartphone owners found that almost one quarter of Android users had no plans to upgrade to another Android phone.
The survey was conducted over the past 12 months by research firm Yankee Group, which determined that "Apple's 'black hole' ecosystem captures subscribers who never leave" and that "at the checkout counter, Apple continues to eat Samsung's lunch."
The group said that one out of every six Android customers will eventually switch to other systems, which should allow Apple phone ownership to leapfrog past Android by 2015.
Drops in a bucket
The survey found that over the last year 50 percent of the smartphone owners used Android, while 30 percent were on Apple's iOS.
The numbers are evenly split for those thinking about getting any kind of new phone in the next six months, with 42 percent saying they intend to get an Android device and another 42 percent planning to pick up an iPhone.
It's not the biggest drop, but it's worth pointing out that more phone owners plan on purchasing an iPhone than currently own one, while the exact opposite is true for Android.
Even more telling is that fact that 91 percent of iPhone users surveyed planned to buy another iPhone when the time came to upgrade, while 6 percent intended to switch to Android. When the same question was asked of Android users, only 76 percent planned to stay loyal to Android, while 18 percent expressed a desire to switch to iOS.
Yankee Group Vice President Carl Howe compared the two mobile operating systems to leaky buckets with customers dripping in and draining out; in his analogy, Android's bucket is leaking just a tad faster than Apple's.
It's clear that Apple inspires (or demands, depending how you look at it) a significant amount of loyalty from users, something that so far, Google's Android has been unable to match.
Article continues below