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Analyst estimates for Apple's Dec. quarter iPhone sales range from 25M-36M

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
A poll of more than 30 professional and independent analyst covering Apple has revealed that estimates for Apple's iPhones sales for its first quarter of fiscal 2012 range from 25.16 million to 35.75 million units.

Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt compiled the list, noting an average of 29.74 million for professional analysts and and an average of 33.4 million among independent analysts.

Among 22 Wall Street analysts, the highest response came from BTIG's Walter PIecyk with a forecast of 35 million units. The low among professional analysts came from Gabelli's Hendi Susanto, who estimates Apple sold 25.2 million iPhones. The professional analysts' consensus would represent a year-over-year increase of 83 percent.

The 15 independents polled projected 106 percent growth from a year ago. Robert Paul Leitao offered the highest estimate of 35.75 million units, followed closely by Asymco's Horace Dediu with 35.70 million. Alexis Cabot of the Apple Finance Board offered the lowest independent estimate with 30.17 million iPhones. Also of note, Andy Zaky of Bullish Cross Research believes Apple will report 32 million units from the December quarter.

Though amateur analysts are usually more accurate in their predictions than their Wall Street counterparts, the sequential drop in sales in the September 2011 quarter as customers held off on buying the iPhone 4 in anticipation of the iPhone 4S caught bloggers by surprise. Apple sold 17 million iPhones in the third quarter of calendar 2011, down from its all-time high of 20.34 million units in the June 2011 quarter.

Credit: Fortune
Analysts were given an unusually candid prediction from Apple itself during last quarter's earnings conference call. CEO TIm Cook said he was "confident" that the company would break the record for most iPhones sold in a quarter during the holiday quarter. The iPhone maker is also guiding for record revenues of $37 billion during the period, driven largely by its best-selling handset. The results are aided by the fact that this particular quarter lasts 14 weeks rather than the usual 13 in order to align the fiscal period with the December calendar.

Last week's news that Verizon had doubled its iPhone sales from 2 million in the September quarter to 4.2 million during the most recent quarter was taken as an early indicator of a blowout quarter from Apple. UBS analyst Maynard Um kept his prediction of 30 million units, while noting that Verizon's sales figures could suggest strong potential for an upside if the mix of U.S. and international sales remains roughly the same as in years past.



Apple is set to announce its quarterly results on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Wall Street expects Apple to post profits of $9.83 billion on revenue of $38.16 billion. As usual, AppleInsider will have live, extensive coverage of the company's earnings report and conference call.
post #2 of 21
It has been said before, but when Apple sells 35,999,999 iPhones, their stock will go back to $370.

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post #3 of 21
Taking all bets. I think it's low by 2.75M but I'm going with Andy Zaky's 32M as my final answer.

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

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post #4 of 21
Given the fact that for Apple, the bottleneck is not demand, but production, I think the right approach would be to estimate the production capacities, which would give the best estimation ...
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by umrk_lab View Post

Given the fact that for Apple, the bottleneck is not demand, but production, I think the right approach would be to estimate the production capacities, which would give the best estimation ...

Good Luck!!

Production was ~200,000/day but has ramped up to ~400,000/day now, plus what were the inventory run-ups prior to the intro? I found it interesting when I asked a salesman what the lead time was on the 4S currently, same as it was in late October, week to two weeks. "We never have any on hand they sell out prior to us getting them, still!" They get shipments usually every week as well.

Intro on Oct 14 so 17 days at 300,000 = 5,100,000
Nov 30 days at 300,000 = 9,000,000
Dec 31 days at 300,000 = 9,300,000
That is roughly 23million
Assuming that production ramped quickly and supposing they had large inventories prior to the release making production closer to 400,000/day, also supported by the fact that wait times have been roughly at 1 to 2 weeks the entire time and Apple has introduced 4S in several countries during that same time period, again wait time didn't budge much if any, so that would make the total @ 400,000/day, Oct 17 days, Nov 30 days, Dec 31 days = 31,200,000 but that is Foxconn China rumored numbers only. If there are other iPhone 4S manufactures then that number could easily be much higher, also there is that plant in Brazil, don't know what they are producing, could be 4s as well as others, and that is just one other known plant that could produce the iPhone 4s. I have read that iPhone total production numbers could have reached 500,000/day easily prior to launch and could have ramped up from there. So I think I'm painting a moving target, here. I agree the prior estimates by Zaky are probably the best. Oh and the iPhone for sale in Brazil sans the import tax, that's nice! So 25mil to 36mil could be done easily. @500,000/day = 39M, just for reference.

Ty
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post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendon View Post

Good Luck!!

Ty

Well, I would not have accepted this challenge, but your reasoning is quite impressive. This gives (as far as we can tell about Apple production capacities, of course) a good estimate of what the upper limit can be ...
post #7 of 21
The most interesting statistic I have come across is that with big demand here in the US and the fact that sellers are selling out prior to receiving shipments all throughout the quarter and also during that time Apple has introduced the iPhone 4s in over 20 countries, but the wait time has remained about the same, 1 to 2 weeks. So all that says to me that Apple has done well at forecasting demand and, more importantly, apparently anticipating large demand and had extra production capacity, hence no slip in the wait times while demand was high and the product was launched in many other countries only increasing demand. My chat with the salesman only, kinda', confirmed that demand is still high here, but the wait time is the same. Food for thought.
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post #8 of 21
25 to 36Mio?

Looks like an educated guess to me.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by umrk_lab View Post

Well, I would not have accepted this challenge, but your reasoning is quite impressive. This gives (as far as we can tell about Apple production capacities, of course) a good estimate of what the upper limit can be ...

My numbers ran from ~23M to ~40M, to me that says the upper limit is still very difficult to nail down. @400,000 the 4s alone could represent 31M. My guess is that 4s production could be a bit higher than anticipated. I would assume that 4 is doing well-ish as well, lower price......... The whole thing is difficult to nail down, I mean it is just as easy to say it is possible that Apple had anticipated huge demand and (Tim Cook) decided it was best to pay for way more than enough production capacity prior and cancel down or ramp down if needed, something easy to do with Foxconn, so Apple may lose some more if the product is a flop but lack of supply is something Apple wanted to put behind them, I mean that is just giving customers to Android. So yeah I think Apple had in place the ability to ramp production down if needed, rather than ramp it up, which is why they kept right on rolling the introductions like it was no problem and no impact on delay. So could have the number been closer to 600,000/day? I don't know. Oh and Brazil was due to start ramping production in November if memory serves me. And ramping means that the products that are being produced are of high enough quality and in China that number usually starts at 100,000 to 150,000/day, again tough to nail down.
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post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blitz1 View Post

25 to 36Mio?

Looks like an educated guess to me.

'Educated' is being too charitable.
post #11 of 21
Another way of looking at it, is to take peak iPhone 4 production numbers and multiply by 1.5 to 2 and that would represent a good starting number. That would be something that Apple could have told Foxconn. That is based on the fact that smartphone demand is only growing and therefore demand for the new product should outstrip old product demand. So it appears that peak demand was in Q2 at 18.6Mil for iPhone 4, so that is 28Mil to 37Mil projected going into the 4s season. Again I think it is easier and most likely less expensive to shoot too high and ramp down than to shoot too low and ramp up if the ramp up target is too high. Either way best to aim high.
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post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blitz1 View Post

25 to 36Mio?

Looks like an educated guess to me.

No, sounds like NOT very educated guesses.

Interestingly, look where the most widely quoted 'analysts' are in the ranking. Shaw Wu and Gene Munster are both near the bottom of the historical accuracy chart.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brendon View Post

My numbers ran from ~23M to ~40M, to me that says the upper limit is still very difficult to nail down. @400,000 the 4s alone could represent 31M. My guess is that 4s production could be a bit higher than anticipated.

You talk like a man with THE info. Like you have a connection so you know the numbers. There was no "I'm guessing production was maybe", nope you said it firm like it was fact. So use those sources, what was production, what was sales. Give us the numbers Mr Connected.

Or set the record straight and clear that you have no facts and you're making guesses just like Shaw Wu and friends
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ARamm4500 View Post

Yet, I only know one more person other than me with an iPhone. Weird.

You're quite possibly the first person I've ever heard say that as opposed to its opposite.

Originally Posted by asdasd

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Originally Posted by asdasd

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post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

You're quite possibly the first person I've ever heard say that as opposed to its opposite.

Considering the troll's other posts, I wouldn't waste any time trying to figure it out.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Considering the troll's other posts, I wouldn't waste any time trying to figure it out.

Indeed, he has had multiple accounts here before (all banned).

Originally Posted by asdasd

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Originally Posted by asdasd

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post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blitz1 View Post

Looks like an educated guess to me.

Remember: Saying analysts are "professional" just mean they get paid, not that they're any good.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cincytee View Post

Remember: Saying analysts are "professional" just mean they get paid, not that they're any good.

So you think it's actually a science?
Please don't be insane.
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Please don't be insane.
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post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

You talk like a man with THE info. Like you have a connection so you know the numbers. There was no "I'm guessing production was maybe", nope you said it firm like it was fact. So use those sources, what was production, what was sales. Give us the numbers Mr Connected.

Or set the record straight and clear that you have no facts and you're making guesses just like Shaw Wu and friends

"what were the inventory run-ups prior to the intro? ", "Assuming that production", "supposing they had", "been roughly at", "China rumored numbers", "don't know what they are producing", "could be 4s", "that could produce", "numbers could have ", "painting a moving target", "numbers ran from ~23M to ~40M", "very difficult to nail down", "My guess is", "difficult to nail down", "just as easy to say", "yeah I think ", "600,000/day?", "I don't know.", " if memory serves me", "again tough to nail".

LOL if I had the numbers, why would I be having a conversation online? The point, which more than a few missed, is that "it is difficult to nail down with much precision". But the unspoken fact is that with investing it is better to be generally correct than exactly wrong. So exploring that train of thought: I predict Apple told Foxconn they would require a ButtLoad more of production for the iPhone 4s than they had for the iPhone 4. That is an easy prediction. I would say that if Apple did not predict well or if Foxconn was having production issues the wait time would modulate, that is 1day to 21days, up and down. What I have seen is a pretty steady wait time, that could be easily verified by asking a few resellers and checking the Apple store. I think word of mouth marketing has sold allot of 4s's I don't own one yet but everyone that I know that has one has said I need to get one.

Again look backward and then forward. If you were Apple and projecting demand for 4s, if I were them, and I'm not, I would say that demand could easily be 1.5 to 2.0 times that of iPhone 4 so I would take the quarter for the highest sales for iPhone 4 and multiply to predict a range of production requirements for iPhone 4s. Another factor is that the 4 and 4s are so similar that the production lines would have required little, if any adjustments to switch from one to the other. In short I bat it was easy to ramp production and I bet Apple required more production capacity for the 4s than the 4 if only because the market for smart phones is growing rapidly. Again this is Tim Cooks area of expertise, operations.

Ty
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post #20 of 21
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post #21 of 21
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