Apple iPhone 5s vs Samsung Galaxy S5
The iPhone 5S is outselling Samsung's Galaxy S5, even though Apple's latest is seven months older. Reuters

Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5s is outselling the Galaxy S5 from Samsung Electronic Co. (KRX:005930) globally, even though the Android handset is newer by seven months. According to a report released Tuesday from Counterpoint Research, Apple moved 7 million iPhones 5s smartphones in May compared with Samsung's 5 million Galaxy S5 smartphones in the same month.

This marks a change from last year, when the Samsung Galaxy S4 sold neck-and-neck with the iPhone 5s, with both averaging 7 million smartphones a month. Samsung’s high-end smartphone sales have declined in the fall in past years -- usually around the time new iPhone versions were released -- dimming the prospects for Samsung's S5 sales further.

Whereas Samsung usually begins selling its latest smartphone in the spring, Apple usually releases its latest iPhone in the fall, boosting sales around that time each year. As a result of its later release date, Samsung can usually supply its flagship smartphones with newer computing hardware than Apple can put in its iPhones.

Samsung faces sales pressure on its high-end devices from its competitor Apple, but it's now also losing traction in mid- to low-end smartphone sales as well. Earlier this month, it admitted to a buildup of less-expensive devices in its inventory as it faces competition from inexpensive Chinese phone makers like Xiaomi and Oppo.

Samsung’s sales could also be hurt by the decline in sales overall for the global smartphone market, which shows signs of cooling down, according to Strategy Analytics. The research firm forecasts shipments will drop to 21 percent from 41 percent last year.

Samsung is reportedly working on a new, high-end flagship smartphone called the Galaxy Alpha, which will be released later this year. The device, which reportedly sports an all-metal body, is aimed at the high-end market.