iPhone owns top 3 sales spots in hottest smartphone quarter in history

Not only did more smartphones sell this quarter than ever before, but Apple was responsible for all three of top sellers -- iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, and iPhone 3GS

IDC has released a new report showing overall smartphone shipments grew a staggering 54.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 thanks to overwhelming demand for the iPhone 4S. Rising popularity has helped push the iPhone 4S to become the number one selling smartphone in the world. Not only did Apple absolutely own the top selling spot, but they owned the top 3 spots as well. That's right, second only to the iPhone 4S in popularity was the iPhone 4, followed up by the iPhone 3GS according to NPD Group.

iPhone 4S now the number one handset as smartphone sales hit all-time high

Apple climbed back into the market leadership position with the launch of its iPhone 4S worldwide, and in the process it reached a new shipment volume record for itself and for the entire industry for a single quarter. Although the iPhone 4S disappointed some detractors by lacking 4G LTE connectivity or a different size screen, demand was high for the device. In addition, the combination of holiday seasonality, the delay in product launch from 3Q to 4Q, and the addition of multiple mobile operators helped drive volumes higher.

This comes after some voiced concern over setting expectations too high for the iPhone 4S, and many worried whether it was a significant enough upgrade to attract customers in large numbers. A better 8MP camera with a faster Apple A5 chip, a more reliable antenna, and Siri seem to have been more than enough to drive sales.

Something to watch for as well -- Vendors shipped a total of 157.8 million smartphones worldwide last quarter and one out of every 3 mobile phones shipped was a smartphone. This shows a continuation of the trend that should, in short order, lead to the day when all phones are smartphones.

How many iPhones will Apple be able to sell then?

Source: IDC, Fortune, NPD