According to a new report from Strategy Analytics, Apple shipped 17.7 million mobile phones in the fourth quarter of 2012, good enough to topple South Korean titan Samsung, which has held the top spot in the US since way back in 2008. Moreover, Apple has posted an impressive year-over-year gain – it managed to unload almost five million more smartphones in Q4 of 2012 than it did in Q4 of 2011.
"Apple’s success has been driven by its popular ecosystem of iPhones and App Store, generous carrier subsidies, and extensive marketing around the new iPhone 5 model," reps for Strategy Analytics wrote in a blog post announcing the findings.
A couple things to note. First, by Strategy Analytics's estimates, Samsung shipped 16.8 million smartphones last quarter, so it's not like Apple has opened a huge lead – the two companies still remain very much neck and neck.
Second: The news for Apple has actually been pretty mixed in recent weeks. In January, for instance, The Wall Street Journal and Reuters separately reported that Apple had slashed orders of the LCD panels produced by LG, Sharp, and Japan Display for the iPhone. There was also word that Apple was reassessing orders for memory chips. Meanwhile, although the iPhone 5 was generally considered to be a success for Apple, it missed many analyst predictions.