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Apple's iPhone 5s remains 'by far the top selling smartphone'

Apple continues to dominate smartphone sales with their flagship iPhone 5s and mid-range iPhone 5c as the handsets took two of the top three sales slots at every major U.S. wireless carrier for the third month in a row.

Source: Canaccord Genuity

The Cupertino, Calif.-based company remained America's top smartphone vendor in November on the back of 'strong' iPhone 5s sales and 'steady' iPhone 5c sales, according to data cited by Canaccord Genuity analyst T. Michael Walkley in a Thursday note to investors. Samsung notched a second-place finish in an industry that has seen major sales consolidation throughout the fourth quarter.

Before the iPhone 5s and 5c's release, Apple, Samsung, HTC, Nokia, Sony, and Motorola all had handsets enjoying top-three sales at at least one of America's big four carriers. Apple's September announcement pushed all but Samsung out of the picture and relegated the South Korean conglomerate's Galaxy S4 to the runner-up position across the board.

Apple has maintained a significant edge outside of the U.S. as well, even before the long-anticipated launch of the company's devices on China Mobile, the world's largest wireless carrier. The iPhone 5s was "by far the top selling most channels where the smartphone launched globally," Walkley notes.

The sales data also points to a strong showing for Apple's iPad in November. Canaccord's surveys "indicated strong Black Friday weekend iPad Air and new iPad mini sales...essentially at all channels where the iPads were available," a finding corroborated by previous analytics data that showed a boost of more than 50 percent for the new 9.7-inch tablet.

Walkley raised the bank's price target on Apple shares from $580 to $600 and revised shipment estimates for the iPhone upward to 54 million units in the first quarter of the company's 2014 fiscal year and 186 million units for the entire year.