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The iPhone X Is Winning the Phone War (And It’s Not Even Close)

Sales of the iPhone X may have disappointed Wall Street, but it seems that Apple is crying all the way to the bank.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

That's the only conclusion you can reach after reading through a new report market analysis firm Counterpoint Research released today (April 17) that details smartphone profits for the fourth quarter of 2017. For the holiday quarter, Counterpoint concludes, the iPhone X generate 35 percent of the profits for the entire smartphone industry. Not bad for a phone that went on sale late in the year.

It gets better for Apple. Counterpoint says the company captured 86 percent of the total profits for the handset market when you take into account the different devices Apple sells. The iPhone X itself generated 500 times the profit of 600-plus Android device makers, according to Counterpoint's calculations.

Credit: Counterpoint Research

(Image credit: Counterpoint Research)

In fact, Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S8 Plus were the only two Android devices to crack the top 10 for profit share during the fourth quarter. For the rest of the top 10, it was all iPhone, all the time.

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While that's interesting news for investors, it also has some importance to smartphone buyers, as it suggests Apple is unlikely to change its approach to smartphones any time soon. When Apple announced its own holiday quarter figures back in February, it set records for quarterly sales and profits even though it sold fewer iPhones than it did the previous year. The reason? Higher prices on its phones drove up the average selling price for the iPhone.

That's probably why the iPhone rumors we've heard to date have Apple doubling down on last year's smartphone lineup. Apple is widely expected to come out with three phones this fall just like it did in 2017. This time around, analysts expect an iPhone X sequel along with a larger Plus version that will likely command an even higher asking price. The third phone, possibly an iPhone 9, is expected to adapt the iPhone X's look while using less expensive components like an LCD panel instead of OLED one.

Expect a more definitive look at the state of iPhone sales in two weeks, when Apple announces its fiscal second quarter results on May. 1.