30 Million iPhones Sold in Apple’s First Quarter? Try 35 Million.
Expect some big numbers from Apple when it next reports earnings, on Tuesday, Jan. 24. And some especially large iPhone numbers.
On Wednesday, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said Verizon Wireless sold 4.2 million iPhones in the fourth quarter — more than double the number it sold in the third quarter. And today, analysts are taking that to mean Apple probably sold quite a few more iPhones than they were expecting it to.
Back in December, for example, BTIG’s Walter Piecyk (registration required for link) predicted Apple would sell 30 million iPhones in the December quarter. Now he figures it will sell a record 35 million, thanks to the particularly strong demand in the U.S., showcased by the Verizon number Shammo disclosed yesterday. His rationale: If Verizon’s iPhone sales are that high, then so are AT&T’s and Sprint’s, as well.
“Yesterday, Verizon disclosed it had sold 4.2 million iPhones which is above our estimate of 3.75 million and in early December AT&T referenced strong iPhone sales at the UBS conference which we now estimate translates to sales of 7.0 million iPhones, which was above our estimate of 5.25 million,” Piecyk explains. “We are also raising our estimate for Sprint to over 2.0 million from our prior estimate of 1.75 million. This adds up to more than 13 million iPhones sold in the United States in calendar Q4 2011, up from our August estimate of 10 million.”
That’s a big number, one that means the U.S. will represent almost 40 percent of iPhone sales in the quarter, a big spike over the quarter prior, when the U.S. represented about 26 percent of iPhone sales.
And if it’s in the right ballpark, Piecyk says it means Apple could be on track to sell 125 million iPhones in calendar 2012 — 17 percent more than his earlier prediction of 107 million.