iPhone 5 Is World’s Best-Selling Smartphone — for Now

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During the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) shipped an estimated 27.4 million units of its iPhone 5 to world markets. The company also shipped 17.4 million units of the iPhone 4S, while Samsung sold 15.4 million of its Galaxy S III smartphones. In the previous quarter, Samsung sold 18 million units of the Galaxy S III, compared to 6 million iPhone 5 and 16.2 million iPhone 4S models.

The moral of the story could be: new is better. The Galaxy S III has been around for less than a year, but its shine is wearing off. A senior analyst at Strategy Analytics, which produced the report, noted:

Samsung’s Galaxy S3 has long proven wildly popular with consumers and operators across North America, Europe and Asia. However, global demand for the Galaxy S3 appears to have peaked and Samsung will surely be keen to introduce its rumored Galaxy S4 upgrade in the coming weeks to fight back against Apple’s popular iPhone range.

The word on the street is that the Galaxy S IV is set to be launched on March 14, with an availability date in the second half of April. Also rumored are whiz-bang new features like eye tracking and touchless gestures.

Whether a new model will vault Samsung back into the smartphone sales lead remains to be seen. But Samsung has been riding high lately, as its latest advertising campaign demonstrates. Turning that sales pitch into a decisive win over Apple is an altogether different matter.

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