Top phones in the world

Apple retakes lead as world's top phone seller

Apple retook the lead in the fourth quarter as the world’s No. 1 smartphone seller, toppling Samsung for the first time since 2011 with the release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models, according to a research firm.

Apple sold 74.8 million iPhones during the most recent quarter as consumers seized on the bigger screens and thinner bodies of the new models, according to Gartner.

That was equal to more than one out of every five smartphones sold worldwide during the quarter, Gartner noted in a report.

Apple’s numbers edged out those of Samsung, which sold 73 million smartphones during the fourth quarter, sending its market share to just below 20 percent — a full 10 percentage points lower from a year earlier, Gartner said.

“Samsung’s share of profitable premium smartphone users has come under significant pressure, ” Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta said in the report.

Indeed, a report from Strategy Analytics last week found that the iPhone accounted for nearly 90 percent of all smartphone profits in the fourth quarter.

Last month, Apple reported a quarterly profit of $18 billion, the biggest in corporate history.

While Samsung’s high-priced Galaxy smartphones face increased pressure from the updated iPhone, the company’s lower-end offerings abroad are getting squeezed by rivals, including Lenovo, Motorola and China’s fast-growing Xiaomi brand, the report said.

Xiaomi sold 18.6 million phones during the quarter, tripling the year-ago figure and more than doubling its worldwide market share to 5.1 percent.

Despite losing ground in the fourth quarter, Samsung still held the biggest share of the mobile market for all of 2014, selling 392 million units. That was more than double the 191 million iPhones sold by Apple.

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