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March 8, 2013

Apple Takes the Biggest Share of the Pie in Mobile Phone Sales

Apple’s trifecta: the iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, and iPhone 4, belong to the five top selling mobile phones in the United States for the fourth quarter of 2012. The top honors belong to the newest of the bunch, the iPhone 5, while the iPhone 4s and iPhone 4 took third and fourth place, respectively. This proves that iPhone brand is still the most authoritative name in Smartphones, outpacing its closest rival from Samsung. Samsung’s flagship handset, the Galaxy S3 took second place in the rankings, while its older brother, the Galaxy S2, took the fifth place.

Apple still ahead despite pressure from competitors

The iPhone 5 is clearly a breakout model for Apple. The latest Smartphone from the Cupertino-based company fetched more than two million buyers just a day after it was released. It continued to sell strongly, shipping five million units in just three days. This strong performance is what placed the iPhone 5 at the top of list.

But first place is not a very secure position — the iPhone 5 is closely followed by Samsung’s foremost handset, the Galaxy S3. This larger handset proved to be a handful for Apple. It clearly blew away spectators with its powerful dual core Snapdragon processor and 4.8-inch screen real estate. The iPhone 5 represented the company’s step outside its comfort zone, as it marks the first time for Apple to release a four-inch screen on a handset. This is Apple redefining its design sensibilities — it previously denied the public a bigger phone just because it didn’t want to do develop one.

Apple’s diminishing lead

But even with Apple’s success in fielding three of its handsets in the top five, the current performance of iPhone could still lead to a grim future. In 2011, Apple’s overall performance in the fourth quarter was at an impressive 41 percent market share. Samsung on the other hand was at a meager 21 percent, followed by HTC, Motorola, and LG with 14 percent, eight percent, and five percent market share, respectively. But by the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple’s market share in the Smartphone industry was down to 39 percent, while Samsung’s rose to 30 percent. Samsung has eaten into the shares of other brands, with HTC, Motorola, and LG getting just six percent, seven percent, and six percent, respectively. Samsung was able to establish itself as a strong No. 2 and, with releases like the Galaxy Note 2 and a rumored Galaxy S4, it is poised to threaten the one on top.

More are joining the rumble

Blackberry recently released the Blackberry Z10, along with the mobile OS called Blackberry 10, in an attempt to resuscitate a dying brand. With the familiar design and user interface of the phone, it is easy to tell that Blackberry is following in the steps of iOS (Apple’s iPhone series) and Android (Samsung, and co.). Adding another player in an already congested Smartphone market means the competition gets more intense. If the iPhone is able to fend off the offensive launched by other mobile makers, it could find itself on top, as usual, but with less pressure from competitors.

The iPhone has already eclipsed Blackberry as the go-to business phone, but the rebranding and redesign could make the bottom-feeding fruit the “apple” of the consumers’ eyes, ironically. It is too early to tell how well these phones will perform in the first quarter of 2013. But again, Apple’s iPhone series has an immense following, and the hype is easily backed by its performance. It has taken Android (especially Samsung) years to chip into Apple’s market share, so it would take a miracle for Blackberry to come close to the top five.

Henry Conrad is a 29-year-old game developer from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Aside from gaming and being a tech junky, he also dabbles in creative writing, which allows him to create great storylines and backgrounds for his characters. Follow him on Twitter and Google +.