18m Galaxy S3s between July and September, versus iPhone 4S's 16.2m
In case the recent 30 million milestone didn't give it away, Samsung shipped rather a lot of Galaxy S3s this summer. So much so, that S3 shipments eclipsed those of Apple's iPhone 4S during the third quarter, according to the latest numbers from Strategy Analytics. The firm's statistics for the Q3 2012 indicate that the Galaxy S3 shifted 18 million units worldwide, compared to the iPhone 4S's 16.2 million and the iPhone 5's 6 million.
Of course, things aren't quite as one-sided as the numbers would suggest. There's a good reason people weren't buying as many iPhone 4Ss during that time -- the iPhone 5 was looming large, with new features for iOS users, including a larger screen and LTE support. What's more, Q3 saw the Galaxy S3 launch in several key territories, including North America and Samsung's native South Korea. Also note that these are units shipped, not necessarily phones in consumers' hands.
So it's highly likely that strong sales of the iPhone 5 will launch Apple back to the top spot in Q4. Nevertheless, Samsung will be pleased that in this instance at the very last, it was able to best Apple's numbers.