That estimate was provided to investors on Thursday by analyst Maynard Um of Wells Fargo, who noted that Verizon has accounted, on average, for 11 percent of Apple's total iPhone sales over the last six quarters.
If that average holds true again for concluded June quarter, Verizon's share would mean Apple sold nearly 35 million iPhones during the three-month period. That's well ahead of consensus Wall Street expectations for the quarter, which call for Apple to have shipped about 26.5 million iPhones.
The projected figure is also 8.7 million units higher than Um's own prediction of 26 million iPhone units sold in the June quarter. Market watchers in general have conservative expectations for the quarter, with the flagship iPhone 5 approaching one year of availability.
The conventional thinking is that iPhone sales will have inevitably weakened as consumers begin waiting for Apple's next model before they upgrade. But this year Apple may be seeing particularly strong sales of its legacy handsets, the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, Katy Huberty of Morgan Stanley suggested earlier this week.
For comparison, Apple shipped 26 million iPhones in the June quarter last year, helping the company earn $28.6 billion in revenue and net profit of $7.3 billion. iPhone sales in the third quarter of 2012 represented a 28 percent year-over-year increase from the same period in 2011.
Apple will reveal its results next Tuesday after markets in the U.S. close. Executives from the company will then participate in a conference call with investors and members of the press beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern, 2 p.m. Pacific. AppleInsider will have full, live coverage.