Apple’s iPhone Passes RIM’s BlackBerry for 2nd Place

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Despite all of the claims that were thrown back and forth between Apple and Research In Motion (RIM) concerning sales, Apple has come out on top. According to Strategy Analytics, 15.4 million iPhones were shipped by Apple, compared to only 12.3 million BlackBerrys by RIM. Of course Nokia, with its 26.5 million smartphones shipped in the same time period still reigns supreme globally, but even that number has started to slip.

The numbers from Strategy Analytics echo what Apple’s CEO—Steve Jobs—said about his company’s earnings report. Jobs claimed 14.1 million iPhones were sold compared to RIM’s 12.1 million BlackBerrys. (Note that these numbers reflect marketshare by manufacturer and are not a comparison of iOS and Android OS.)

Now that Apple has as comfortable 18.3% of the smartphone market globally with RIM now at 16.1%, where does it have its sights set? Nokia of course. Nokia is at 34.4% of the smartphone market worldwide right now. Remember 2007? In the fourth quarter of that year, Nokia had 52.9% of the smartphone market cornered and Apple had a mere 6.5% of the market. Oh how things have changed.

So what is Apple up to now that it has a firm grip in second place? Update, update and update obviously. Apple has built its success on releasing a single model at a time and a new one a year. It has shunned the usual strategy of building for different price points and feature levels. Instead, it relies on massive economies of scale to deliver the best experience possible for a competitive price.

The iPhone 5 is presumed to release around the middle of 2011 is rumored to be a world phone with both CDMA and GSM technology for travelers on the go. It will of course also be capable of running on practically any carrier network in the world and thus be compatible with Sprint, T-Mobile and others…though to do so might require jailbreaking and unlocking if Apple doesn’t make deals with those carriers.

Anyone else wonder if Nokia can fend off Apple in the smartphone market for another five years? You have to keep in mind that besides just the iPhone, the iPod touch and iPad also run Apple’s iOS. iOS has the potential to become the mobile platform eventually. The tablet market will be offering plenty of competition for iOS in the form of Android soon, but Apple has already thoroughly conquered the iPod market and is on the process of converting its entire lineup to run some version of iOS. Look at me, I just called an MP3 an iPod. Now that’s branding and market dominance for you.

Let me know what you’re thinking about the numbers.

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