Is Apple’s iOS Beating Android at This Game?

Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android may be the leading smartphone operating system globally, but in the United States, Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS maintains the lead, which appears to have given it a lead in mobile web traffic generation as well.

According to a note sent to us from Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, the company’s own analysis and third party data seem to indicate that Apple’s iOS is the leader when it comes to web traffic coming from mobile devices, and part of the reason might be that iPhone and iPad users “are generally more engaged with their mobile devices,” as the analyst wrote.

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An Investing Analytics analysis of 10 of the top 100 mobile websites also showed iOS as the leader, over Android. The 10 websites used were as follows: Answers.com, Tumblr, ChaCha, Examiner, LinkedIn, Bleacher Report, Hubpages, White Pages, Squidoo, and Dictionary.com. Just how the firm came to choose these websites as a demonstrative sample is unclear and could raise concerns about the validity of the analysis. For example, as an Android user, I don’t recall once visiting any of these websites.

Apple’s mobile traffic strength may even be growing in spite of the growth of Android and Samsung in the U.S. market place. According to Munster’s note, “mobile traffic generated by iOS was up 1.1 percentage points in March from February,” while Android actually lost some of its share of traffic in the same period…

Apple’s U.S. market share surely helps it win in this contest; its smartphones accounted for 80 percent and 60 percent of fourth quarter sales at AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ), respectively. Additionally, Munster suggested that iOS users might simply be “more engaged with their phone on a daily basis than Android users on average.”

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A significant boost to Apple’s share of the web traffic can likely be attributed to the iPad, which is the dominant tablet in the U.S. market and runs on iOS as well. Tablets are believes to generate more traffic than smartphones per device due to their size, a feature that makes them more convenient to use for such viewing purposes. Apple’s strength over Android in this section of the market would clearly put them at an advantage for driving mobile web traffic.

Here’s how Apple and Google both traded on Wednesday:

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