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AAPL: Q4 2012 Smartphone Sales Leader IPhone 5

|About: Apple Inc. (AAPL), Includes: GOOG, SSNLF

The old adage "if you repeat a lie long enough, people will believe you" seems to be alive and well among smartphone enthusiasts -- and Wall Street investors, too.

In online communities and in investment groups it is spoken as if it's immutable truth that Samsung (OTC:SSNLF)'s S3 is outselling Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), a company whose sales -- as the story goes -- are dying because no one wants what they're selling anymore. Apple is old news. They've lost the mojo.

In Q3 of 2013, Samsung's S3 passed Apple iPhone sales to become the biggest selling smartphone in the market. It was the first time since Apple's groundbreaking smartphone appeared, that anything other than the iPhone wore the sales crown. It had to be a tough pill to swallow in Apple headquarters. A product they feel is an infringing product, stealing intellectual property -- and it sat at #1, wearing the sales crown.

How did the numbers sit for the 3rd Quarter of 2012?

  • Samsung Galaxy S3 -- 10% of Q3 2012 sales
  • Apple iPhone 4S -- 9.4% of Q3 2012 sales
  • Apple iPhone 5 -- 3.5% of Q3 2012 sales

But now, looking back at Q4 results, according to a recent ZDNet article which tallied sales and reported the results of Q4 2012 smartphone sales, not only did the iPhone 5 rebound and outsell the Galaxy S3, but in the same report, even the iPhone 4S outsold the S3 in Q4, taking honors as the second best selling smartphone for the fourth quarter of 2013. The Galaxy S3 slipped to third place for Q4.

ZDNet's article reports sales of:

  • Apple iPhone 5 -- 12.6% of Q4 2012 sales
  • Apple iPhone 4S -- 8% of Q4 2012 sales
  • Samsung Galaxy S3 -- 7.1% of Q4 2012 sales

As I write this, my Samsung Galaxy Note II sits to my left, a great device that I got about a month ago after years of using iPhones. Was I tired of iPhones? No, just curious what else was happening in the world of tech. I also use a Samsung Chromebook, a great bit of rig for just $249. In fairness, I'd give the vote for jaw-dropping-power to the Samsung Galaxy Note II but the elegant-and-well-thought-out vote goes to Apple's iOS and the iPhone. The market may agree with this verdict if Q4 sales and Apple's rebound to the Number One and Number Two positions for the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S, respectively, mean anything. I suspect they may.

Yes, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)'s Android is the largest selling smartphone platform on the planet, eclipsing the sales of Apple's iPhone. Among these Android sales, Samsung holds the largest share of any manufacturer supporting Android. But Apple found its iPhones still popular in Q4 2012, following Samsung's first-place finish in Q3 2012.

Will it stay that way? That remains to be seen. But there is more life in the iPhone than many in the market may be aware of or wish to admit to.

If Adam Smith was right that markets get it right most times, that may explain why Apple's share price has risen again after last Friday's big increase directly following the S4 roll-out event in New York. In the last two days since the S4 event, Apple's share price has risen from Thursday's closing share price of $432.50 to Friday's rise of $443.66 a share at close, then jumped again today, March 18, 2013, to $455.72 a share by the day's closing bell.

In the end, markets vote with their wallets and if the sales tallies for Q4 mean what they appear to indicate, the market seems to have more confidence in Apple Inc. than many may yet seem ready to cede.

Share price growth seems to bear that out, as well.

Disclosure: I am long AAPL, GOOG. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.