2011 iPhone shipments will nearly double 2010

Apple is poised to show enormous growth in the number of iPhones it ships to market by the end of the calendar year.

According to a new report from industry tracking firm Digitimes, the number of iPhone shipments in 2011 is expected to reach 86.4 million. In 2010, that number was “only” about 47.5 million.

And yes, in case you were wondering, that will make Apple the #1 manufacturer of smartphones in the world. For the first time, it will usurp Nokia, a company that has held the title practically since the advent of the term “smartphone.”

In 2010, Nokia shipped more than 100 million smartphones. This year, it’ll be lucky to reach 75 million, according to Digitimes.

Apple isn’t the only one seeing growth as a result of Nokia’s decline, though. Samsung is expected to explode from its 23 million units in 2010 to 67 million this year. That cements its spot as third place in the smartphone war.

All in all, smartphone shipments around the world should hit 462 million when all is said and done for 2011. That’s a growth of 60% over last year.

In fact, even Research in Motion, the company behind the Blackberry brand, is predicted to have a moderate growth over 2010. Nokia is the only company Digitimes says will actually have a decrease in shipments.

Even though Apple will now become the leading smartphone manufacturer, Android still easily sits as the most prolific software platform, simply because almost every other manufacturer uses it.

2012 will be an even more interesting story, as Nokia will begin to sell Windows Phone-powered handsets and Samsung grows its Galaxy S brand. There’s still much to be seen in this always exciting mobile landscape.