iPhone Loses the Smartphone Throne to Samsung Galaxy S III

The bottom line of Q3 2012 puts Samsung ahead of Apple

According to the latest research from Strategy Analytics, Apple’s iPhone is no longer king of the smartphones. At least not in the third quarter of 2012, when Samsung shipped a total of 18 million Galaxy S III handsets, Strategy Analytics reports.

By comparison, Apple shipped 16.2 million iPhone 4S handsets, falling to the #2 spot in the respective quarter.

“Samsung’s Galaxy S3 smartphone model shipped 18.0 million units worldwide during the third quarter of 2012,” says Neil Shah, Strategy Analytics analyst.

“The Galaxy S3 captured an impressive 11 percent share of all smartphones shipped globally and it has become the world’s best-selling smartphone model for the first time ever.”

The analyst touts a number of key strong points for Samsung, such as the large touchscreen design of the SIII, generous operator subsidies, and extensive distribution across the world, as the “main causes of the Galaxy S3’s success.”

However, Shah is careful to point out that while Apple shipped an “estimated” 16.2 million iPhone 4S handsets, “consumers temporarily held off purchases in anticipation of a widely expected iPhone 5 upgrade at the end of the quarter.”

As such, “the Galaxy S3’s position as the world’s best-selling smartphone model is likely to be short-lived,” according to Shah’s colleague, Neil Mawtson.

“The Apple iPhone 5 has gotten off to a solid start already with an estimated 6 million units shipped globally during Q3 2012. We expect the new iPhone 5 to out-ship Samsung’s Galaxy S3 in the coming fourth quarter of 2012 and Apple should soon reclaim the title of the world’s most popular smartphone model,” Mawtson writes.

Considering Apple’s cited shipping times for the iPhone 5 (3-4 weeks), and Foxconn’s statement that they simply can’t make enough in time, the iPhone should be getting its crown back in no time.

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