That's huge news, though there are caveats. For one, the iPhone 4S was already passe among smartphone buyers, as many were awaiting the release of the iPhone 5, which reached retail on Sept. 21. There are also those last 10 days of the quarter, Sept. 21 through Sept. 30, when sales of the iPhone 4S would have taken a back seat to the iPhone 5.
Still, a change of this magnitude would have been unheard of before the sea change that has taken place in mobile device sales, with Samsung becoming the dominant player globally. According to S.A.'s figures, Samsung shipped 18 million Galaxy S III units in Q3, while Apple shipped 16.2 million iPhone 4S devices.
That means that the Galaxy S III held a 10.7 percent market share globally while the iPhone 4S held 9.7 percent.
Samsung’s hold on that crown is expected to be short-lived, however. Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, said in today’s press release, “We expect the new iPhone 5 to out-ship Samsung’s Galaxy S3 in the coming fourth quarter of 2012 and Apple should soon reclaim the title of the world’s most popular smartphone model.”
Of course, Apple releases a new iPhone model annually, as does Samsung. We wouldn't be surprised to see the two companies flip-flop positions again when the Galaxy S IV releases.