Apple is edging closer to Nokia and poised to assume the leadership position in the smartphone market, according to IHS iSuppli. In the first three months of 2011, Apple shipped 18.6 million iPhones globally, a 14.9 percent jump from the previous quarter. While Apple showed impressive gains, Nokia posted a significant decline. Q1 2011 shipments from the Finnish handset maker declined 14.5 percent from the 28.3 million handsets shipped in Q4 2010 to 24.2 million in Q1 of this year.
At the end of last quarter, a mere 5.6 million handsets separated the two companies. This gap could be narrowed in the current quarter by continued strong sales of the black iPhone 4 and the launch of the white iPhone 4. The long-awaited white handset sold out quickly in Asia and is expected to give iPhone sales a moderate boost. Nokia, on the other hand, is in a holding pattern while it sunsets its Symbian OS and preps for the debut of Windows Phone later this year.