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.

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