How many iPhones did Apple sell last quarter?

“The most important metric for Apple (AAPL) in the quarter that ended eight days ago — likely to account for more than half of the company’s revenue for fiscal Q1 2012 — is the number of iPhones it sold from Sep. 25 to Dec. 31,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune.

“We’ve polled nearly 40 Apple analysts — professionals and independents — and for once they agree,” P.E.D. reports. “This was almost certainly a blow-out quarter, the scale of which is suggested by height of the rightmost two bars in the chart at right.”

P.E.D. reports, “The numbers from the 22 Wall Street analysts who have responded so far to our call for estimates… [average] 29.74 million, which would represent a year-over-year increase of 83%… The average among our panel of 15 independents — an assortment of bloggers, enthusiasts and individual investors — is 33.42 million iPhones, or an annual increase of nearly 106%.”

Read more in the full article, which includes all of the analysts’ individual estimates, here.

Related article:
Apple to webcast Q112 earnings release conference call on January 24 – January 4, 2012

24 Comments

  1. Please please please. Stop the speculating that drives up wall street expectations. AAPL will beat their guidance, let’s not drive the market to expec more than that or we’ll all be sorry.

    1. I understand your frustration. But these games are going to continue whether we like it or not. The first step is fixing the ongoing corruption with respect to put options. I would also appreciate a valiant attempt to slap some substantial penalties on the people responsible for the most egregious examples of stock manipulation (understanding that it can be a difficult charge to prosecute). The equity investments from individual investors are play toys for these greedy scum. Our only defense is to choose solid stocks and invest for the long term, riding out the induced volatility roller coaster.

      Apple is incredibly strong. Assuming that it continues to release new and compelling products, the stock manipulation games will eventually bite the players. Then, of course, they will come begging for a bailout…

      1. Understand and agree with you in regards to put options. Clearly much of the volatility we’ve seen is a result of manipulation.

        My specific gripe is the the casual investor who trades off information from the street. Case in point, last quarter. AAPL beat its guidance but not the trumped up expectations. My issue being that those expectations are regurgitated by some intern writing for MSNBC who doesn’t understand the stock or the market. Yet, the silly story they throw up on their home page has far greater impact.

    2. How many iPhones did Apple sell in the quarter? That’s easy. They sold one million less than Wall Street was expecting them to, no matter how many were sold. It’s a formula that’s used on Wall Street to estimate Apple product sales numbers.

      Investors don’t care if Apple beats their own guidance. That was never important because it’s expected. Apple has to beat Wall Street’s “whisper numbers” which will always be more than Apple can sell of any product. They only tell “whisper numbers” after the fact, to ensure that Apple can’t possibly beat them. Wall Street likes to publicly humiliate Apple and long investors, thereby driving share prices down to their discontent.

  2. The real gem is the article by David Alton Clark on Seeking Alpha that PED mentions in the first paragraph. Click through if you want a good laugh–the comments are hilarious. I think DAC was drunk. I hope so, as that would make it somewhat understandable.

    1. Checked it out, thanks. Remarkable that commenters bludgeon the author repeatedly yet he responds time after time, begging for more taps of the truncheon…I must give him credit (even if drunk) for absorbing the hits, as he is only trying to make a living.

  3. The problem with most anal….yst is that their numbers assume intimate people on earth. All growth should be at an in reading percentage ….. Forever.
    If you use a real function for an analogy and good growth, the numbers do not make for good yellow journalism.

      1. “in reading percentage” = “increasing percentage”

        “real function” = “reasonable” or “finite” function

        And of course, “intimate” = “infinite” (2ndmate lol)

        He’s saying that positing an impossible trajectory provides a better click bait headline…

        Right, en?

  4. Oh no no no. This drives me absolutely batsh*t.

    Company: “We expect an increase in revenue of 70%”
    Wall Street: “We predict an increase of 90%!”
    Company: “Terrific results! We had an increase of 80%!”
    Media: “HORRIFYING MISS BY COMPANY!! WILL COMPANY SURVIVE?!?”

    Why do we let Wall Street get away with this utter bullsh*t?

    ——RM

    1. Elementary my dear Watson… If you let companies set their own projections, they will ALWAYS shoot low. It’s in their best interest to shoot low and them alway beat them. Someone has to keep them honest… I agree with those that say analyst have their head up their Arse sometimes, but if you can find a better method, please do suggest it.

      1. Maybe Apple should not give guidance for upcoming quarters anymore and just post the results at the end? As you say, it’s in their interest to be low anyway.

    2. iPod sales are down YOY. Apple is doomed. AppleTV has shown minimal growth YOY. Apple is losing to GoogleTV.

      … but what about spectacular iPhone and iPad sales?

      Yeah, whatever. Sales of those products will be down next year for sure.

  5. The article is interesting. I recommend taking a look at the “see here for why link” embedded in that article. It makes a lot of sense, although I cannot reconcile that explanation with the current surge in Apple estimates by analysts. Perhaps they are tired of repeatedly looking foolish by being too conservative in their EPS estimates.

    As usual, the estimates of the independent analysts are higher than the pros (see here for why), but even the most pessimistic expect Apple to report record unit sales.

  6. Don’t matter.
    What was Apple’s guidance?
    If Apple misses their guidance, then let Wall Street do their shake and dance, but if not, this is just a lot of hype to get page hits and generate revenue off folks like you and I.

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