[caption id="attachment_8991" align="aligncenter" width="515"] The bell's not exactly tolling for Apple.[/caption] For the past few months, pundits and analysts have suggested that Apple is a company on the decline, with its most innovative days long in the past. And yet the market numbers don’t reflect a downward trend for Apple, at least in the United States: according to research firm comScore, the company had 38.9 percent of all U.S. smartphone subscribers over the age of 13 using its products in February—a 3.9 percent rise from November 2012. Samsung, arguably Apple’s biggest rival in the smartphone space, also saw its market-share climb by 1 percent during that three-month period, to 21.3 percent; however, the market-share for the other major Android device manufacturers (namely HTC, Motorola and LG) fell by differing amounts. Overall, Android saw its total U.S. smartphone subscribers decline from 53.7 to 51.7 percent. BlackBerry also fell during the quarter, from 7.3 percent to 5.4 percent. Microsoft, which is battling BlackBerry for third place in the smartphone rankings, saw its share climb just a bit, from 3.0 percent to 3.2 percent. Apple reportedly has its next iPhone in production, according to a recent story in The Wall Street Journal. Should Apple stick with its pattern from previous years, this next device will closely resemble the current iPhone 5, only with upgraded components such as a faster processor and better camera. Apple usually reserves its biggest aesthetic and technological revamps to the iPhones that come out every other year, such as the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5. The Journal also hinted that Apple is working on a cheaper iPhone for release sometime in the second half of the year, a rumor that’s been circulating for quite some time. Apple is also reportedly hard at work on iOS 7, the upgrade to its mobile operating system, although Daring Fireball’s John Gruber reports (via his sources) that the development is running behind schedule. Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of industrial design, has taken charge of the iOS interface; it remains to be seen how he applies his lauded aesthetic sense to software. But if these devices hit the market and prove sizable hits, will that reverse at least some of the negative sentiment aimed at Apple over the past few months?   Image: comScore