According to data released today by market research firm Strategy Analytics, Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) newest iPhone 5 has become the best-selling smartphone model in the world.

The firm estimates that Apple shipped 27.4 million units of the latest model during the fourth quarter of 2012. The previous-generation iPhone 4S model also sold well and was ranked the No. 2 model on Strategy Analytics' list, with 17.4 million in unit shipments in Q4.

Primary rival Samsung's flagship Galaxy S III Android smartphone moved down two notches to the No. 3 spot with 15.4 million units in Q4. That model had previously become the top-selling model in the third quarter, as the iPhone 5 launched at the very end of the quarter and iPhone 4S sales waned leading up to the iPhone 5 launch.

Strategy Analytics estimates that there were a total of 217 million smartphones sold globally in the fourth quarter, giving the iPhone 5 a roughly 13% share.


Fool contributor Evan Niu, CFA owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.