Apple's iPhone 14 Pro Max was the world's top-selling high-end smartphone in Q1 2023

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Apple's iPhone 14 Pro Max was the world's top-selling high-end smartphone in Q1 2023
Samsung may have ultimately managed to edge out Apple for the top spot in global smartphone shipments during the first three months of 2023, but in many important ways, iPhones are the mobile industry's big winners for this year-opening quarter.

While the Cupertino-based tech giant hasn't been able to boost its Q1 handset sales numbers compared to the same period of last year either, its worldwide decline was by no means substantial, especially in contrast with the performance of other top vendors.

Apple also performed rather well in key markets like China and Western Europe, not to mention the global premium segment. Yes, the iPhone 14 Pro Max dominated the Q1 2023 chart as far as $500+ smartphones are concerned, followed by the iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14, and iPhone 13.

What a trifecta!


That's an absolutely remarkable stat shared by Canalys on Twitter, and it's made that much more impressive by the trend-defying growth of this high-end section of the smartphone industry. That's right, $500+ devices are on the rise around the world, gaining 4.7 percent in the first 90 days of the year compared to Q1 2022, unlike the $300 to $500, $200 - $299, $100 - $199, and sub-$100 brackets, all of which have faced reduced demand in the same timeframe.


Given that the "regular" iPhone 13 was 2022's overall best-selling smartphone, followed at a large distance by its Pro Max sibling, it's also remarkable to see both the iPhone 14 Pro Max and 14 Pro trump their "vanilla" brother.

If this is how the rest of the year will go, Apple is definitely looking at some record-breaking profit figures, further boosted by the presence of the iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 12, and iPhone SE 3 among the world's 15 most popular $500+ smartphones during Q1 2023.

The iPhone 14 Plus is clearly an improvement on the iPhone 13 mini, edging out the Galaxy S23 in today's battle while narrowly losing the fifth spot to the S23 Ultra. That's not exactly Samsung's greatest ever victory, although the company can be relatively content with seeing the S23 Plus, Z Flip 4, S22, and S21 FE 5G make this top 15 list as well.

One foldable, one Fan Edition, no Pixels or Motorolas


On the not so bright side of things for the world's largest handset manufacturer, there was no place for the Galaxy Z Fold 4 here once the Xiaomi 13 and Huawei Mate 50 were also counted in, and the Z Flip 4's position just ahead of the modest iPhone SE (2022) is probably not what Samsung hoped for.


Foldable devices sure seem to be in a bit of unforeseen trouble already, and it obviously remains to be seen if the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Z Fold 5 can change that with a massive cover screen and... some design refinements respectively. The Galaxy S23 family, meanwhile, will likely continue to struggle to match the success of the older iPhone 14 roster... until the iPhone 15 lineup will step into the arena and almost certainly also sell like hotcakes.

One interesting name on this list put together by Canalys analysts is the Galaxy S21 FE, which clearly doesn't appear to raise to the level of the S20 Fan Edition, nonetheless eclipsing the S22+ and S22 Ultra and thus absolutely warranting a sequel that Samsung has inexplicably delayed a bunch of times in the last year or so.

Some of the names missing from the $500+ chart are arguably as interesting as the ones included on it, with the aforementioned Galaxy S22 Ultra joined by Google's Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, as well as Motorola's Edge+ (2022) and all of Oppo and Vivo's high-enders outside of the top 15. Clearly, some of those brands are not strong enough in Europe and Asia just yet, while others are completely absent from the US market, leaving Apple and Samsung as the two big companies that (almost) have it all.

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