Stop us if you've heard this one before: the launch of a flagship, brand-defining smartphone gives its creator a swift leap in market share immediately afterwards. There's no surprise that the iPhone 5 will have improved Apple's standing in the US, then, but Kantar Worldpanel's market share study suggests that the lift was more than some expected. The firm estimates that Apple climbed to 53.3 percent of American smartphone share in the three months leading up to late November. The figure is both Apple's highest ever for the country as well as its first venture past the 50 percent mark. Android in this climate held on to 41.9 percent of the market, hinting that many of those market-shifting iPhone sales came after October. Kantar expects a similar story this month, although it's not predicting how well the Cupertino crew will fare beyond that.
Lest anyone take the results out of context, Kantar points out that it's often a Google-friendly world. Android represents 61 percent of smartphone sales in the five largest European countries, while Apple's share in countries like Brazil and China is still small. There is an upside for Microsoft on this wider scale -- a year of Nokia Lumia sales and the early results of the Windows Phone 8 launch have reportedly pushed Redmond's platform back up to 4.7 percent in those five European nations. We're a long way from going beyond a two-horse race in the smartphone field, but there's at least hints of change on the horizon.