Though Apple's impact on the mobile industry is undeniable, it has never been able to take the top spot from Nokia over the past four years since it launched the smartphone.
However, Nokia may now be slipping from its perch, suggests research from consulting firm Strategy Analytics.
Earlier, reports had pointed to Apple leading Nokia for the top slot in Q2 this year. Now Samsung too has edged past the Finnish handset maker in the quarter, forcing Nokia to third place in terms of units sold and market share.
Figures for Q2 2011 reveal that Apple has emerged as the largest smartphone maker in the world by volume of units sold (20.3 million) and market share (18.5 per cent).
Nokia grossed sales of 16.7 million units in Q2 and had a 15.2-per cent market share, while Samsung notched up sales of 19.2 million units with a 17.5 per cent share.
The latest news delivers another blow to the Finnish manufacturer, which is looking to its first Windows Phone device, expected to be launched later this year to turn the situation around in its favour.