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iPhone 4S drives Apple into top sales spot

The battle in the smartphone market is raging on this week, as more figures show how the top tech manufacturers are fairing against each other.

It has been somewhat of a see-saw when it comes to smartphone sales: some reports say Apple isn’t as strong as it thinks it is, others say that it most definitely is.

You would be forgiven for thinking that, because it only releases one phone per year, Apple would struggle to compete with the prolific Samsung or Nokia.

But to think that is to grossly underestimate Apple, and the dedication of its customers. And let’s not forget, even though Apple only releases one phone a year, the older generation models sell strongly for an very long time.

iPhone 4S drives sales

Last year’s release was the iPhone 4S. And despite some bitter disappointment at the lack of an iPhone 5, and some criticism of the phone itself, the 4S sold incredibly strongly.

And the latest figures for the fourth quarter of 2011 reflect this, with Apple edging out Samsung to become the market leader.

The figures, released by research company IDC, show that Apple shipped 37 million smartphone devices in the fourth quarter, taking its market share to 23.5%.

Strong year for Apple

It rounds off what was a very impressive year for Apple, especially given that in the fourth quarter of 2010, Apple shipped 16.2 million smartphones and had a market share of just 15.9%.

But Samsung were not far behind in Q4, shipping just one million fewer phones and taking a market share of 22.8%.

But when it comes to the figures for the entire year, it seems there is virtually nothing between the two tech rivals.

If there has to be a winner, it is Samsung, with a 19.1% share of the market – compared to Apple’s 19%. Not exactly a big victory, but a victory nonetheless. The battle continues!