Change is good, especially for Apple. For the first time, according to Strategy Analytics, last quarter Apple shipped more units than RIM (Research in Motion), manufacturer of the BlackBerry.

For those who’d like a trip down memory lane: Apple’s first appearance on the mobile market was in 2007. The leaders of the smartphone market then were Nokia and RIM, respectively. Fast forward to 2010, third Quarter: Nokia is still first, because of its popularity in Asia and Europe, with 26.5 million devices shipped in the third quarter of 2010. However, Apple achieved second place with 15.4 million units shipped and RIM is in third place with 12.3 million units. In three short years, Apple has been able to surpass RIM in the smartphone world.

Lots more Apple products were also sold in 2010.¬†With a previous market share of 17% earlier in 2010, by year’s end Apple’s share grew to 18.3% in the smartphone market. A market that grew by 78% for 2010. So you could say that smartphones, and especially the iPhone, are here to stay.

Without a doubt, Apple is poised to stay a leader in the smartphone market. They will have to work a bit harder to pass Nokia (who outsold Apple by more than 10 million units), and not lose their lead to Google’s growing Android.

What do you think? Who will be the market’s top 3 in a 1/3/5 years?