Apple will clear goal of 10 million iPhones sold in 2008 with ease

“Every now and then, I read something that makes me fall off my chair in shock,” Jason Snell writes for Macworld. “In this case, the text in question is in a New York Times article, ‘The Guessing Game Has Begun on the Next iPhone.'”

After almost a year of strong sales… the iPhone has settled down to a less-than-spectacular pace: roughly 600,000 units a month, according to the company. Apple… sold just 1.7 million phones in the first three months of this year, meaning it must sell more than 8 million phones to reach Mr. Jobs’s publicly stated goal of selling 10 million iPhones in 2008. “They’re going to have a difficult time” hitting that number, said Edward Snyder, an analyst at Charter Equity Research. He said that Nokia, the world’s largest maker of cellphones, sells more phones every week than Apple has sold since the iPhone’s introduction. – John Markoff, The New York Times, May 28, 2008

Snell writes, “I’ve stared at Apple’s iPhone sales figures repeatedly over the last few months, and I can’t see any reasonable way that the company can’t sell 10 million phones this year… In my back-of-the-envelope exercise, Apple sells 10.2 million iPhones in calendar year 2008. And I stress, these are extremely conservative numbers. If I had to place a bet, I’d probably say that Apple will sell… almost 12 million iPhones in calendar year 2008.”

Full article here.

Snell’s right, of course. Barring some unforeseen calamity (for example: an asteroid hits the planet), Apple should clear the 10 million mark for 2008** with ease.

Now, the amount of handsets Nokia moves in a week (most of them heavily-subsidized throwaways, not smartphones starting at US$399, BTW) is meaningless as to whether or not Apple can sell 10 million iPhones in 2008. We wondered why Nokia was even mentioned, so we checked: Charter Equity Research’s coverage list includes Nokia, but not Apple.


Therefore, we suggest:
• Charter Equity Research should first initiate coverage of Apple before they allow analysts to give meaningless quotes regarding Apple to The New York Times.
• The New York Times should clearly tell their readers that the analyst they’ve quoted discussing Apple and Nokia works for a firm that covers Nokia, but not Apple.

What’s the matter, Mr. Markoff, you couldn’t find a qualified analyst with actual experience and active coverage of Apple to quote? Or was it that all of the real analysts who are qualified to remark on Apple that you contacted did not deliver the quote you desired? Or was this simply precipitated by the usual misguided desire by mainstream media types to provide artificial “balance” to stories regardless of merit?* Or was it just an oversight? Or laziness? Or something else entirely?

Sheesh. It’s no wonder newspapers are dying.

*If The New York Times was around to report on Copernicus’ findings, they probably would have searched the world over for one of Edward Snyder’s distant relatives to opine that the Earth was the center of the universe in the name of “balance” or “equal time” or whatever they want to call it. Some stories don’t require contrary points-of-view from random crackpots. Contrived “balance” does not illuminate, it obfuscates.


• John Markoff

**Apple’s publicly-stated goal is 10 million iPhone units in 2008 alone. iPhone units sold in 2007 do not count towards the 10 million goal.

Apple’s goal has been consistent since it was first mentioned:
• Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in his Macworld Expo 2007 keynote address that Apple would set the goal of selling 10 million iPhone units in 2008, the first full year on the market. Jobs, while standing in front of a 20-foot tall slide, no less, that said, “1% market share = 10M units in 2008,” stated, “1% market share = 10 million units. This is exactly what we’re going to try to do in 2008, our first full year in the market, is grab 1% market share… We’re going to go for it and see if we can get 1% market share, 10 million units in 2008 and go from there.” (Macworld Expo 2007 iPhone Introduction: Jobs’ remarks on iPhone goals begin at 1:15:52 into the QuickTime video).
• On July 25, 2007, during Apple’s conference call discussing Q3 – 2007 financial results, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer reiterated Apple’s goal of selling 10 million iPhone units in 2008.
• On January 22, 2008, during Apple’s Q1 08 financial results conference call Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer again reiterated Apple’s goal of selling 10 million iPhone units in 2008.
• On February 27. 2008, Apple COO Tim Cook once again reiterated the goal and stated publicly that Apple is confident that the company is on track for hitting their goal of selling 10 million iPhone units in 2008.


  1. John Markoff is a known Apple critic. As for the cited comment, Snyder of Charter Equity Research, does not even cover Apple. Or, if he does, he’s never been on any of the conference calls, like the other analysts. In other words, he doesn’t know diddly, so why is Markoff getting quotes from him?

  2. Why is this so tough for the clueless asswipes at NYT to get?

    Guys, quit it. Turn that POS PC off and walk out of that office and never, ever come back … you too fscking stupid.

  3. MDN stop with the double standards.

    it doesn’t matter how many unit nokia moves but it does matter in how many units MSFT moves?

    When ever a zune article comes up we all make fun of the 2 million unit shipped compared to the number of unit apple ships monthly.

    It is fair to do the same to Nokia.

    Of course Apple isn’t trying to ship that many units a month apple only wants to sell 10 million units by 12/31/2008 So their expecations are different.

  4. Peragrin – the Nokia to Apple comparison isn’t fair unless you strip away all of the low-end, subsidized, non-smart phone crap that Nokia sells in a month. For disclosure, I have a Nokia e61, btw, and am just waiting for iPhone 2.0 to upgrade. The M$ Zune to iPod comparison is fair because they are similar products.

  5. “When ever a zune article comes up we all make fun of the 2 million unit shipped compared to the number of unit apple ships monthly.”

    Because the Zune tries to be a competitor to the iPod and fails.
    How many smartphones that are comparable to the iPhone does Nokia sell rather than just cheap, thin margin, commoditized cell phones?

  6. @peragrin,

    Nokia sells over AT LEAST 20 different cell phone models worldwide. Apple currently sells ONE phone in only six countries. It is therefore logical that Nokia will sell more phones than Apple, which is why making such a statement is totally ridiculous.

    MDN (rightfully so) ridicules Microsoft regarding the Zune because almost everyone in media who is anti-Apple was counting on Microsoft to remove Apple from the media player throne, and it didn’t happen; in fact quite the opposite is the case.

    Thanks for playing.

  7. @ Peragrin

    There is a difference, the Zune is equal to an iPod in it’s target goal and product line. Nokia number are based on all Nokia models sold. Most Nokia phones sold fall outside the smart phone category. So comparing all Nokia phone sells to iPhone’s sells is like comparing all Walmart sells to all Neiman Marcus sells, they are not the same thing at all.

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