Apple iPhone 5 Set for Smartphone Dominance

Tickers in this article: RIMM SNE AAPL

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Samsung's Galaxy S III overtook the iPhone 4S to become the world's best-selling smartphone during the third quarter, according to research from Strategy Analytics, but the iPhone 5 looks set to re-assert Apple's(AAPL) dominance.

The Korean tech giant shipped 18 million Galaxy S III's during the third quarter, accounting for 10.7% of the global smartphone market. Apple shipped an estimated 16.2 million of the popular iPhone 4S, according to Strategy Analytics, making up 9.7% of the market.

Apple, however, still holds an enviable position in the smartphone battle thanks to its new iPhone 5, which was launched amid much fanfare in September.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm has already lauded the iPhone 5 as the fastest-selling phone in history. Despite appearing late in the quarter, Apple sold an impressive 6 million iPhone 5s during the period, Strategy Analytics reported.

The latest iPhone clinched 3.6% of the smartphone market during the third quarter, increasing the pressure on Samsung's Galaxy S III.

"The Galaxy S3's position as the world's best-selling smartphone model is likely to be short-lived," warned Neil Mawston, Strategy Analytics' executive director, in a statement. "The Apple iPhone 5 has gotten off to a solid start already with an estimated 6.0 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."

Strategy Analytics estimates that 167.8 million smartphones were sold worldwide during the third quarter, up from 152.8 million during the prior year's quarter.

A separate survey released early Thursday by Canalys reported that 173.7 smartphones were shipped into the channel during the quarter, up from 120.4 million in the same period last year.

Samsung remains the biggest player in the smartphone market, according to Canalys, with 55.5 million phones shipped, up from 27.3 million in last year's third quarter, clinching 32% of the market. Apple shipped 26.9 million smartphones, compared to 17.1 million in the prior year's period, and grabbed 15.5% market share.

Sony(SNE) rose to third place in the Canalys report, with 8.8 million smartphones shipped, boosted by its recent brand re-launch and a raft of new products. HTC and Research In Motion(RIMM) were in fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Canalys also found that the Asia-Pacific region made up more than 50% of the smartphone market for the first time since 2006.

Apple shares were down 1.48% to $549.75 in Thursday trading.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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