With so many new iOS and OS X features being introduced in yesterday’s WWDC keynote, the numbers that kicked off the show perhaps didn’t get the attention they otherwise might have done.

While the Wall Street line is that the smartphone market is saturated and iPhone and iPad growth is done, Tim Cook clearly thinks otherwise. Business Insider highlighted Cook’s comment on the migration Apple is seeing from Android phones.

“Over 130 million customers who bought an iOS device in the past 12 months were buying their first Apple device,” said Cook before introducing iOS 8, the new software for the iPhone and iPad. “Many of these customers were switchers from Android. They had bought an Android phone — by mistake. Then had sought a better experience … And a better life. And decided to check out iPhone and iOS.”

He added, “Nearly half of our customers in China in the past six months switch from Android to iPhone. This is incredible.”

There are a couple of important riders here. “Incredible” is over-stating it for China when the China Mobile deal unleashed a lot of pent-up demand for iPhone in a short space of time. All the same, almost 50 percent switching from Android is impressive.

And that 130 million figure isn’t broken down. Some will be first-time smartphone buyers, switching from a featurephone, and the use of the word “many” rather than “most” or “almost half” tells us that it’s still a minority – but not a small one.

For iOS to be grabbing significant numbers of Android users already is encouraging – a phenomenon that is likely to get a substantial boost when Apple has a larger-screened iPhone with many Androidesque new features included in iOS 8.

The first weekend numbers following the launch of the iPhone 6 are going to make very interesting reading.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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