With its revolutionary iPhone, Apple transformed the way mobile phones were used.
However, new research suggests the nation has switched its affections to rival devices, which have all the bells and whistles at a fraction of the cost.
A new survey reveals the iPhone has even dropped out of the list of top five of most sought after smartphones.
The news will be a blow to Apple, which has become rather comfortable, even arrogant, at the idea its devices are the most stylish and desired products available.
In fact, the U.S. giant, once the darling of techies, is suffering something of a consumer backlash.
The uSwitch.com Mobile Tracker, which ranks the nation’s favourite mobile handsets based on live searches and sales, shows HTC dominating the top three places.
By contrast, it said the iPhone has slipped down to an 'unsatisfying' sixth place.
HTC, formerly known as the High Tech Corporation, is based in Taiwan and has been in business since 1997 when it was launched as a notebook computer manufacturer.
The HTC Desire comes in at number one in the league table, ahead of the HTC Desire HD and the cheaper, less sophisticated, HTC Wildfire.
The touchscreen on the iPhone changed the way people use mobiles and has been widely copied by HTC and others.
All smartphones now offer hi-speed internet access and browsing, together with video, music and games.
Apple had an advantage because of the tens of thousands of Apps, including maps, games and other services that could be downloaded.
However, handsets using the Android operating system, which was developed by Google, can also access thousands of similar Apps.
uSwitch said: 'Launched in October 2010, the HTC Desire has been deemed a showcase of the best that the Android operating system has to offer.
'As well as providing access to thousands of Apps, consumers have been seduced by bespoke charms such as the ability to silence a call by simply turning the phone over.'
Perhaps the biggest advantage the Desire has over the iPhone is the price. It is possible to get the handset for free based on a contract charging £20 a month for 24 months.
By contrast, it would cost £69 to buy a 16GB iPhone 4 coupled with a contract charging £35 a month for 24 months.
The Desire has received a host of positive reviews from industy analysts.
Flora Graham, of CNET UK, said: 'HTC has packed every feature under the sun into the Desire, along with a slick user interface and plenty of processing power. The Desire is a smart phone that inspires lust.'
Hannah Bouckley of T3 said: 'It’s a strong contender for phone of the year, and sure to be number one with technophiles for the foreseeable future.'
Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch.com, said: 'The competition is taking a huge bite out of Apple’s market. And, with over 800,000 deals currently giving away a smartphone for free, it’s easy to see how consumers are being lured away from the iPhone.
'Many have to account for every penny spent, but at the same time do not want to miss out on owning the latest gadget. A free handset is a much more attractive proposition than shelling out for one – especially at iPhone prices.
'HTC has outsmarted the smartphone market by customising its handsets at a range of price points.
'It’s clever marketing. Google’s Android operating platform really cuts the mustard in terms of the thousands of applications available, especially on the gaming side.
'Android phones have well and truly pipped Apple to the post.'
Mr Doku stressed Apple is far from throwing in the towel. New versions of the iPhone and iPad are expected to be revealed by the summer.
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