updated 11:00 am EST, Thu December 8, 2011
Estimates reach as high as 35 million
More analysts are predicting high iPhone sales this quarter in the wake of an AT&T announcement saying the carrier has already sold over 6 million smartphones during the period. RW Baird's William Power remarks that AT&T sold approximately 2 million non-Apple smartphones in the last quarter, which if held steady could mean over 7 million AT&T iPhones during the December quarter. Verizon and Sprint are together expected to contribute 14 million iPhones, and with international sales, Power suggests that Apple could hit 35 million units, although his official estimate is 31.2 million.
Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner cites supply chain evidence for similar numbers. "Our meetings in Taiwan suggest that Apple raised 4CQ11 iPhone orders to suppliers meaningfully just last week," he writes. "The new iPhone build plan is meaningfully above the low-30's million figure that we were hearing previously. Given such a significant order increase at this late stage in the quarter, it seems clear that Apple is headed for a meaningful upside surprise on iPhone shipments this quarter."
BTIG Research's Walter Piecyk is proposing 30 million iPhones. Ticonderoga Securities' Brian White is calling for 29.9 million, which he points out would be a quarter-to-quarter jump of 84 percent.
Both Power and Gardner have joined analysts cutting iPad forecasts. Power has lowered his from 15 million to 14 million for the quarter, based on "procurement checks" within the supply chain. Gardner claims that iPad build plans seem to have "stabilized" around 12 to 13 million, but could go up next quarter with a next-generation tablet.