On June 29 2007, Apple released the first iPhone, around six months after Steve Jobs introduced the product during a Macworld Expo. After a slow start in the year of its release, almost ten percent of globally shipped smartphones were made by Apple in 2008. As our chart based on data from IDC and Gartner as well as Statista calculations shows, five key events drove global shipment share growth over the last fifteen years.
The first, as already mentioned was the original iPhone, which helped propel Apple smartphones to a shipment share of around 15 percent. The second bigger boost was achieved with the iPhone 4 and 4S in 2010 and 2011, respectively. The device introduced the, according to the standards of the time, groundbreaking "Retina Display", a front-facing camera as well as a new form factor. The iPhone 4 stayed in circulation longer than most Apple smartphones despite recurring issues with signal strength and other hardware problems, being phased out in September 2013 with the advent of the iPhone 5.
After a slump in shipment shares, the iPhone brand received another leg-up in 2014 when Apple released the iPhone 6 and 6S. On its first weekend alone, Apple sold ten million units of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, setting a new company record which was toppled by the 6S and 6S Plus one year later. The most recent boost stems from the launch of the iPhone 12 range in 2020, which helped the tech company achieve a 17.4 percent share of global shipments this past year, second only to Samsung regarding big-name brands. According to data by Counterpoint, three iPhone 12 models were among the top 10 most sold smartphones worldwide in 2021, with the base iPhone 12 coming in first with three percent sales share.