Apple’s iPhone 4S most-discussed smartphone for second half of 2011

Apple’s iPhone 4S (s aapl) is the smartphone on the tip of everyone’s tongue this holiday season, according to stats from Nielsen/McKinsey subsidiary NM Incite released Friday. The 4S captured 40 percent of online buzz around smartphones during the period between July and December 2011, despite not being introduced until October.

The iPhone 4S’s lead in terms of buzz is measured by the number of times it gets mentioned on blogs, message boards and groups, Twitter, Facebook and posts at online news sites. Nielsen (s nlsn) used a list of the top 20 recently acquired smartphones from the third quarter of 2011, and a few popular ones released late, including the Google (s goog) Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Nexus and iPhone 4S. The iPhone 4S grabbed 40 percent of all mentions in terms of devices on the list.

The 4S wasn’t the only iPhone mentioned in the list, however. The iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3GS also nabbed a lot of attention in online published items, resulting in Apple’s phones making up almost two-thirds of all mentions of smartphones in the six-month period covered by the NM Incite study. Combined Android phones, including the Galaxy Nexus and Droid Bionic (s mmi) were responsible for a quarter of the buzz, while BlackBerry devices (s rimm) came in third with a combined 10 percent.

This study shows that Apple’s iOS smartphones still command an impressive percentage of media and consumer mindshare when it comes to connected mobile devices, despite Android-based handsets pulling far ahead in terms of worldwide market share according to recent counts.