Smartphone sales - driven by both Apple and Android - increased by a staggering 96% during the third quarter of 2010.
According to Gartner research VP Carolina Milanesi, Apple's share of the smartphone market surpassed Research In Motion (RIM) in North America to put it second behind Android.
"Apple delivered a stellar performance in the third quarter of 2010, selling 13.5 million units. It could have sold more but for its ongoing supply constraints and is now in fourth place worldwide," explained Milanesi.
"[The company] performed extremely well thanks to the iPhone 4. Relationships with multiple CSPs gave Apple wider channel reach internationally, and the strong ecosystem around iTunes and the App Store continued to help Apple dominate."
Indeed, Apple's share of the smartphone market surpassed RIM in North America, as iPhone sales doubled in Western Europe - making Apple the third-largest vendor behind Nokia and Samsung in the overall devices market.
Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 3Q10 (Thousands of Units)
3Q10 Market Share (%)
3Q09 Market Share (%)
Research In Motion
Microsoft Windows Mobile
Source: Gartner (November 2010)
"Apple's dramatic expansion of iOS with the iPad and the continuing success of the iPod Touch are important sales achievements in their own right. But more importantly they contribute to the strength of Apple's ecosystem and the iPhone in a way that smartphone-only manufacturers cannot compete," she said.
"To a developer, the iPod Touch and iPhone (and to a lesser extent the iPad) are effectively the same device and a single market opportunity. While Android is increasingly available on media tablets and media players like the Galaxy Player, it lags far behind iOS's multi-device presence. Apple claims it is activating around 275,000 iOS devices per day on average — and that's [certainly] a compelling market for any developer."