Data Suggests Apple (AAPL) May Miss iPhone Sales Projections

January 8, 2013 9:38 AM EST
According to a release from AT&T (NYSE: T) earlier, the wireless giant sold 10 million smartphones in the quarter, largely led by Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG). What does that mean for iPhone sales?

Last quarter, Apple reported selling 26.91 million iPhone units and AT&T said it sold 4.7 million iPhone units. That means AT&T accounts for about 17.47 percent of total iPhone sales.

Also, the 4.7 million iPhones were about 77 percent of AT&T's total smartphone sales of 6.1 million units last quarter.

If AT&T still accounts for 17.47 percent (or so) of all iPhone sales, that means a best-case sales number of 7.7 million iPhones in the most recent quarter would equate to sales of just 44.1 million units for Apple.

That is a lot of smartphones, but it may not be enough for Apple. There are a few opinions, however.

Forbes contributor Chuck Jones said last month that if AT&T can sell 7.5 million iPhones, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) with 5.5 million, and Sprint (NYSE: S) at 2 million, it should be possible for other carriers to chip in 35 million and Apple to reach the magical 50 million unit number.

One of the more noted Apple bloggers, Horace Dediu of Asymco, sees iPhone unit sales of 55.5 million units, making today's guesstimate even worse.

This quarter won't be like previous ones for Apple, as manufacturing and distribution improved enough for a massive acceleration of offering the latest iPhone model in China about a month quicker than the previous model's introduction. Adding another 3 million units to our number still doesn't put Apple at 50 million, though.

Does this mean Apple will miss first quarter estimates when it reports on January 23rd? Hardly, the iPad mini is very hot and might put the quarter over the top. Second quarter guidance, however, is a big worry among investors.

Shares of Apple are up in early trading Tuesday.

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Jack tripper on 2013-01-08 23:57:32
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Worried about second quarter? Trying to understand why these investors continue to be on pins and needles every quarter. Apple actually beat on the top line last quarter and barely missed on eps. Google missed badly and it seems those investors are thinking more long term....

AT&T q4 iPhone sales
Tron on 2013-01-08 19:05:57
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AT&T said they sold 7.2 million IPhones which was more than 300% higher than Android phones. That is is like the Alabama-NDame game a good old fashion butt kicking .

stupid neg spin
Me on 2013-01-08 09:56:40
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and with more global rollouts this quarter, first time all 100 countries this quick, ATT will not be 17% of global sales. More like 15%. 55M iPhones looks like the better number to forecast.

AT&T said it sold MORE than 10m smart phones
Pete on 2013-01-08 09:49:07
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AT&T said it sold MORE than 10m smart phones. Also it said "This included best-ever quarterly sales of Android and Apple smartphones" At&t best every iPhone quarter was 4th qtr 2011 where it sold 7.6m iphones. this would bring the iphone sales to around 8-8.5 which would mean around 50-55m iphones.

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