Analyst reiterates: Apple will sell 45 million iPhones in 2009

“Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster took a lot of heat back in June 2007 when he predicted, three weeks before Apple even began selling the iPhone, that the company would be shipping them at the rate of 45 million a year by 2009,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt blogs for Fortune.

“But Munster is sticking to his guns, and on Monday released a detailed report to clients in which he lays out the steps by which he expects Apple (AAPL) to hit his target — quadrupling 2008 sales,” Elmer-DeWitt writes.

• By introducing a 3G iPhone within the next 3 to 6 months
• By offering a family of 2 to 3 iPhones — including lower-priced models selling for $200 to $300 — by Jan 2009 at the latest
• By entering new countries, effectively doubling the addressable market every year for the next two years.
• By adding new features, such as games (Tiger Woods Golf, played by swinging the iPhone?) and remote purchases (Starbucks lattes without the wait?) starting in June.

Much more in the full article here.


  1. If I had to guess. I’d say the iPhone will follow a buying curve similar in shape to that of the iPod. But whatever inflates the stock price for a quick sell at $270 works for me! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  2. The single provider model limits iPhone penetration. By buying an unlocked iPhone, you lose one of it’s biggest and best features: Visual Voice Mail.

    Although, by limiting distribution, Apple doesn’t get stuck being seen as unable to keep up with demand.

    That said, Apple should release unlocked iPhones. And I want one. And I don’t want to have to jailbreak it in order to use it.

    I use T-Mobile and would prefer to stick with T-Mobile, since everyone in my family uses it and we all get free calls to each other as a result.

  3. Silverhawk…

    It’s only 4.5% of the current market for mobile phones and only 4.8% of the combined population of the US, Japan and European Union.

    On that basis, 45 million seems perfectly achievable to me although my personal opinion is that it will take another year (to 2010) for Apple to reach that level.

    90 million phones on an active contract will deliver around $6 billion (90 million by $6/month by 12) in network operator commissions to Apple every year: commissions that are almost 100% pure profit – call it 95% for arguments sake.

    In other words, by 2010, Apple’s phone business will be worth than the whole business is worth as we speak. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

  4. @MCCFR
    There is no doubt that there is room to grow domestically and abroad. However, with free phones out in abundance, you won’t get the majority to buy $300 to $400 iPhones, especially when the “choice” is solely AT & T. If Apple comes out with a CMDA phone for Japan they should make a deal with AT&T;to sell it to Verizon or Sprint. Cut the revenue stream so AT&T;can keep more and make up the difference with Sprint. This could all change as more apps come to the iPhone. It’s anybody’s guess.

  5. Apple is obligated to sell iPhone only with ATT through, what, 2010? Who’s to say that they can’t produce an iPhone Sliver, minus visual voice mail, that sells unlocked from any carrier? Does ATT have the rights to the complete franchise or the original model and its direct variations?

  6. My brother is a research analyst with Western Southern and he says that Gene Munster is THE Apple guru. He has consistently been right and is the only one that consistently “gets it”.

  7. Printing for the iPhone

    So that is 45 million phones that can’t print their Ticketmaster purchased tickets from them. What good is it to be able to buy your airplane ticket from your iPhone, if you have to go to your computer to print the boarding pass?

    C’mon Apple I don’t care if I have to buy from you the iPrinter because it is the only supported printer for the iPhone, just get that functionality working.

  8. @silverhawk & Spark:

    Apple has an EXCLUSIVE deal to use AT&T;as it’s only carrier for several years. I’m sure the contract very effectively locks out any ability to sell ANY phone produced by Apple through any other service provider.

    Even if Apple tried to use a loophole in the contract, AT&T;would have a lawsuit slapped on Apple so fast the logo would spin. The idea that simply removing Visual Voicemail as a feature would get around the contract is laughable. The contract won’t be tied to specific software features, it will be tied to sales of hardware and providing certain levels of mobile phone services.

    More importantly, the idea that Apple would break the exclusive carrier arrangement with AT&T;would send shockwaves through the rest of the world, and carriers in other countries would either not agree to Apple’s terms for exclusivity or would break the agreement themselves and stop paying Apple commissions.

    Apple has too much to lose by breaking its deal with AT&T;just so it can sell a few more iPhones via Verizon Wireless or Sprint. You won’t see a Verizon iPhone until the exclusive deal with AT&T;expires (including any possible extensions of the deal).

    AT&T;, since taking over Cingular, has been pumping significant amounts of money into beefing up its network. I suspect that will continue, and you’ll see more deals like AT&T;becoming Starbuck’s new carrier for Wi-Fi in the next year or so.

  9. Silverhawk…

    Can’t speak to the specifics of your market, as I’m a limey, however we have free and highly subsidised phones here as well.

    You are of course correct: you won’t get the majority of private consumers to buy a $400/£269 phone – people paying with their own money will have a a tendency to be penny-pinchers at the best of times and – let’s face it – these are not the best of times.

    However, there are two groups for whom such issues do not count: corporate buyers who will increasingly see the extensibility of the iPhone as a positive especially when combined with the enterprise essentials contained in 2.0. And the 18-25 year olds who don’t have a mortgage or a family to worry about.

    In any case, you still predicate your argument on a majority which is a lot more (actually a whole order of magnitude) than 4.5%. This is where the apparent lack of ambition of Apple comes into play – as with the PC market, they’re not looking for even 35% of the market (which is often cited as the threshold for de facto market dominance) because that sort of strategy inevitably brings in the people who understand the cost of everything, but have no comprehension of the value of anything (my thanks and apologies to the memory of Oscar Wilde).

    You should also note that my figures still exclude the populations of India and the PRC, both of which have a growing affluent middle class.

    In my personal idealised universe, Apple wouldn’t sell its products in China as a means of punishing them for their atrocious human rights record and for Tibet – however, Apple shareholders can rest easy in the fact that I will never have a position of any seniority at Apple unless a couple of billion people die in a flu pandemic and I (as a diabetic) aren’t one of them.

    Add in the rest of the so-called G20 and you could easily add another 500 million or so potential consumers, meaning that Apple only has to penetrate 3% or less of the overall market for phones in 2010. Given that the Macintosh currently has 3% of the worldwide market for personal computers, it hardly seems a stretch that the iPhone (which has the benefit of Windows compatibility) could achieve such a miniscule level of success.

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