First, Apple is dominating the U.S. smartphone market, and second, international growth is slowing dramatically… iPhone sales at AT&T and Verizon were up 25% y/y combined to 14.8 million, while all other smartphone sales declined by 2% at these two carriers in 4Q12. From a market share basis, Apple took 74% share of smartphones at these two carriers in 4Q12 vs. 69% a year ago. Assuming modest success at Sprint, we can then back into an iPhone sell through estimate outside the U.S. of 29.2 million, which was up 35% y/y, a deceleration from 3Q.
This would be a strong result except for the fact that the comp was easy internationally for Apple as the iPhone 5 launches occurred far earlier this year in most countries than last year’s 4S launch. March will be a tougher comp internationally, and therefore we expect international sell through growth to slow to 15% y/y… in March and stay at that level (comps get much easier, which is why we don’t have growth declining more) unless new iPhone models are launched earlier this year. – Tavis McCourt, Raymond James
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MacDailyNews Take: In other words: Tim’s and Jony’s ‘iPhone plastic’ can’t launch on China Mobile soon enough.