Samsung (005930) is still the world’s leader in smartphone, tablet and PC shipments, but two recent big-name product launches are helping Apple (AAPL) quickly close the gap. IDC’s latest data on “smart connected device” shipments — that is, total shipments for PCs, tablets and smartphones — show that Apple accounted for 20.3% of all shipments in the fourth quarter of 2012, just below Samsung’s 21.2% share of total shipments. IDC says that Apple’s surge resulted from a “combination of Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPad mini,” which shouldn’t be surprising given that most reports have shown both are selling very well. The big question is how long Apple will keep pace with Samsung once the company releases the Galaxy S 4 next month, especially since Samsung has reportedly set a lofty goal of selling 100 million units of its new flagship smartphone.
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