Apple's iPhone is the most shipped smartphone in the world, according to Strategy Analytics.

Global smartphone shipments grew to a record 110 million units in second quarter 2011.  Apple is the biggest player with 20.3 million units shipped, or 18 percent of the total shipments.

Samsung is second with 19.2 million units and Nokia, previously the market leader and the first to ship 100 million units per year, dropped to third with only 16.7 million units.

"Apple's growth remained strong as it expanded distribution worldwide, particularly in China and Asia," noted Alex Spektor, Senior Analyst at Strategy Analytics.

A separated report from International Data Corporation (IDC) stated that "Apple thrived in China thanks to strong iPhone 4 demand."

IDC also asserted that Apple is easily the fastest growing top five phone maker in the world even though its flagship iPhone 4 is more than a year old.

For the entire mobile phone market (which includes low-tech feature phones), Apple is ranked fourth behind Nokia, Samsung, and LG Electronics, according to IDC.

A recent report from Nielsen showed that the iPhone is the most popular U.S. smartphone and the iOS is the second most popular U.S. smartphone OS after Google's Android.

The love of Apple products goes beyond numbers and statistics.  Anecdotal stories of fans waiting overnight in lines and spending all their savings on iPhones are common.

The most extreme "Apple fanboyism" stories, however, arguably come from China.  For example, one Chinese teenager recently sold his kidney to buy an iPad and iPhone, according to Reuters.