Apple now ranks #4 in global phone sales

Go out to the stores and tell me how many Apple phones you find compared to Samsung, Nokia, or LG. That’s right – 1. Despite having the leanest mobile phone repertoire in the business, Apple now ranks fourth in global sales.

That puts it ahead of Blackberry maker Research in Motion for the first time, as well as Sony Ericsson, which is no longer on the top-5 list.

The new list, from research group IDC, now looks something like this:

Nokia – 110.4 million

Samsung – 71.4 million

LG – 28.4 million phones

Apple – 14.1 million

RIM – 12.4 million

The numbers represent how many phones each company shipped during the last quarter. This is the first time Apple has appeared in IDC’s list of top five worldwide phone makers.

Nokia is still king, thanks to its untouchable dominance in virtually every part of the under-developed world. A vast majority of those 110 million phones are worth much less than an iPhone. In the US, Nokia’s presence has fallen considerably as the company struggles to fit in line with the new focus on smartphones and sexy operating systems.

The company’s proprietary Symbian platform has met the same difficulties facing RIM – it’s old, and the company has done nothing to truly reinvigorate it.

“The entrance of Apple to the top five vendor ranking underscores the increased importance of smartphones to the overall market. Moreover, the mobile phone makers that are delivering popular smartphone models are among the fastest growing firms,” said IDC senior research analyst Kevin Restivo in a statement.