Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) rarely follows the crowd, and the latest Gartner data proves that can sometimes be a very good thing. In the second quarter of this year, smartphone sales growth was at its lowest point since 2013. Meanwhile, Apple's iPhone unit sales were up 36%.

Longtime rival Samsung (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF) continues to come up short in the high-end smartphone market, and Apple's dominance has spread into other markets where most smartphone makers are struggling, namely China. Click through the slideshow below to find out how Apple's leading the pack and how investors can benefit from its growth.