Last quarter was a transition quarter for Apple and its iPhone. Sales of the 18-month-old iPhone 4 fell slightly as the company prepared to introduce the iPhone 4S. This slowdown caused Apple to slip to fifth place in the global handset market and to the number two slot in the global smartphone market, according to Strategy Analytics.
Strategy Analytics's report examines global handset shipments and reveals that Apple now trails Nokia, Samsung, LG and ZTE. Chinese manufacturer ZTE shipped 18.5 million handsets last quarter and beat out Apple which shipped 17.1 million. Nokia held onto its first place position by shipping 106.6 million handsets, most of which are feature phones.
In the smartphone market, Samsung climbed past Apple with 27.8 million in quarterly smartphone shipments. In the June 2011 quarter, Apple had slid past Samsung to claim first position, but it's time at the top was short-lived due to several market factors.
Neil Mawston, Director at Strategy Analytics says, "We believe Apple's growth during the third quarter was affected by consumers and operators awaiting the launch of the new iPhone 4S in the fourth quarter, volatile economic conditions in several key countries, and tougher competition from Samsung's popular Galaxy S2 model."
Apple may be down this last quarter, but next quarter should be significantly better. During its quarterly earnings conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook assured analysts that the holiday quarter should see iPhone sales return to record-breaking levels. Early sales of the iPhone 4S have been brisk and these numbers are expected to climb now that Apple is rolling out the handset to additional countries.