Lehman Brothers expects Apple to sell 12.1 million iPhone 3G units this year

“An agreement for Best Buy to start selling iPhones will help make already strong estimates for Apple’s device sales seem all too modest, according to an investment note from Lehman Brothers,” Aidan Malley reports for AppleInsider.

“Analyst Ben Reitzes determines that the large increase in the number of American distribution points that comes with the Best Buy initiative, combined with more than one million iPhones sold on the launch weekend alone, should result in Apple blowing past earlier predictions for the rest of calendar 2008,” Malley reports.

“‘We believe our estimate of 3.8 million iPhones sold in Apple’s [September quarter] is very conservative,’ Reitzes says. ‘Furthermore, we believe that initial demand overseas is very strong and will get much stronger; we estimate at least 8.3 million iPhones could be sold in [the December quarter],’ equating to 12.1 million of the new devices trading hands during the summer and fall combined,” Malley reports.

“The analyst notes that Apple has enjoyed the results of its rapidly expanding Best Buy presence with Macs and may be poised to expand the ‘halo’ effect with iPhones on sale at the third-party chain, as customers buying iPhones come back to buy other Apple products,” Malley reports.

Read more in the full article here.


  1. Can’t sell them if they’re not in stock. And supply continues to be an issue. Will Apple have 12.1 million to sell. If they do and it appears they have the retail channel in place to move them out they will go.

    Funny no predictions of stock price impact. I thought that is why these analysts do this sort of predicting.

  2. “Lehman Brothers expects Apple to sell 12.1 million iPhone 3G”

    And Vasic brothers (my brother and myself) expect Apple to sell 18 million 3G iphones. We decided that this number sets realistic expectations.

    We want everyone to iCal us on this one. Once we prove right, everyone should pay us as much as they would have paid the other brothers (the Lehman ones).

  3. To have enough stock to satisfy all comers, Apple would have to contract for a huge surge in production which would not be cost effective since after the surge there would be overcapacity in the production line. Here in Ottawa, VW dealers say they can have diesel Jetta wagons in stock by June 2009, and at present they are being delivered three months after the order is sent to the factory. These are made in Mexico. VW has lack of prodction capacity problem in producing sufficient diesel engines to meet demand, and will lose sales to other companies, as there are lots of alternatives in the marketplace. Whereas Apple has to attempt to have a level of production capacity to meet ongoing, not surge, demand. Also it lacks competition in the sense that there really are no equivalent products available. It doesn’t seem that people are having to wait for three months to get an iPhone either, so Apple’s production level is probably about right. Unless, of course, the demand for high end smart phones expands, as a new product creates a new market. That’s probably the case for the iPhone 3G. Roy Orbison said “It’s too soon to know.”

  4. Apple’s target is 10 million for calendar year 2008 (all iPhones combined)
    At Foxcomms production rate of iPhone 3Gs (600,000 to 800,000 per week) and Apple sales rate. (16 production weeks remaining in the year, at a run rate of 500,000 (lower then reported by Asian trade pubs) per week = 8,000,000 iPhone 3Gs produced by years end, we know Apple had about 1.5 to 2.5 Million units in the supply chain the day the 3G iPhone when on sale. with the 7+ million first gen iPhones already sold, 5+ million of them in 2008, and Apple announced it had sold 1 million units in the first 3 days of the iPhone 3G launch.
    So, estimates of 14 to 16 million iPhone sold in 2008 will be conservative. Estimates below 14 million should be considered ultra conservative as the math supports a much higher sales and production run rates.

    The actual number of iPhone sold in 2008 should be in the neighborhood of 20 million.

  5. @Spark,
    “I’d love to see one of the iPhone production lines. It must be amazing.”

    Actually its pretty boring. There are these 6 robots in a row with a moving belt with iPhone parts on it. In a blur of boring motion, the parts are picked up, put in their place and the part moves on to the next robot.

    And, hey, all the last robot does it put the thing in a box. LOL ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />


  6. From what I see, Apple’s supply has nearly caught-up with demand. This week, all the Apple Stores in Colorado had stocks of all models of iPhones and are resupplied before they run out. I believe they will have no problem selling 18 million units. So, why are RIMM and PALM stock price increases outpacing AAPL?

  7. MDN: Your title is wrong. The author did not say they would sell 12.1 million in a year. Rather, in 6 months.

    ” . . . equating to 12.1 million of the new devices trading hands during the summer and fall combined,” Malley reports.

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