Apple has been overtaken by the Chinese smartphone giant Huawei as the world’s second-biggest smartphone maker by sales, sending the iPhone maker into third place for the first time since Blackberry and Nokia ruled the market.
Huawei’s market share surpassed Apple’s in June and July, according to figures from Counterpoint Research. While the dip is likely to be temporary, with Apple announcement of a new range of iPhones next week likely to invigorate sales, breaking the duopoly enjoyed by Samsung and Apple that has existed for five years is a landmark moment.
Apple has held one of the top two spots in the market since 2010, when it surpassed BlackBerry maker Research in Motion before going on to dethrone Nokia.
The company has vied with Samsung for the greatest share of smartphone sales in recent years, although Apple takes almost all of the industry’s profits.
Huawei, a telecoms group that was largely unknown in the West until a few years ago, has struggled to compete against Apple and Samsung at the high end of the market, but its low-priced handsets have proved popular in China, South America and the Middle East.
“This is a significant milestone for Huawei, the largest Chinese smartphone brand with a growing global presence,” Counterpoint’s Peter Richardson said.
“While this streak could be temporary considering the annual iPhone refresh is just around the corner, it nevertheless underscores the rate at which Huawei has been growing.”
Apple’s breakneck growth has slowed down in recent years, with iPhone sales slipping in 2016 and only growing marginally this year.
Nonetheless, shares have traded at all-time highs in recent days with the company’s market value sitting at around $830bn (£635bn).
Expectations are high ahead of next Tuesday, when the company is expected to unveil an overhauled iPhone with a radically-new design that some analysts believe will kickstart growth.
The device is likely to feature a new glass design, a screen that takes up almost all of the handset, and new features such as wireless charging and facial recognition.