Next Week's Apple Q4 2013 Earnings Call - Let's Predict How Many iPhones Apple Sold

By Tony Rizzo January 22, 2014

How many iPhones did Apple sell last quarter? You know, the holiday buying season quarter, the quarter that separates the men from the boys and the women from the girls. We've long been on record that Q4 2013 is going to come in as yet another record-setting quarter for Apple, one that will prove itself explosive in terms of what Apple is able to accomplish. We certainly believe it will prove to have been an explosive quarter.

Apple's stock, meanwhile will likely sit around $550 a share and we will need to look at the other end of the decimal point (as in tenths of a point) on profit margins to see which way financial analysts will go. Will they begin more nonsensical hand-wringing on Apple profits being squeezed or will they jump for joy with irrational exuberance? We'll see, but our expectations are high. Meanwhile, just for comparison's sake, financial analysts continue to go crazy with Google, now suggesting it will be worth as much as $1,500 per share before 2014 is half over. Things are truly getting bubble-crazy on some fronts!

In any case, let's leave tech bubbles aside and take a slightly closer look at what we might expect from Apple. We've seen a wide range of estimates. From pessimistic lows of 50 million to as many as 60 million Q4 devices sold, the average prediction falls, surprise - right in the middle at 55.3 million - which is 16 percent higher than what we saw in Q4 2012.

There is of course a lot of speculation concerning the impact Apple's new China Mobile deal will have on iPhone sales. In truth the China Mobile deal is really something whose value will become manifest later in 2014 - it will have very little impact on Apple's Q4 2013 quarter. But here is the thing - if Q4 2013 is indeed a blowout, what might we expect once China Mobile really kicks in?

Thanks to Posts at Eventide's Robert Paul Leitao, we can post the following chart, which pulls together analyst predictions provided in turn by Braeburn Group. The analyst estimates provided come from two different groups consisting of 27 professionals (listed in blue below) and 17 non-pros who never the less post their opinions through a variety of channels.  As we noted above, the average estimate across both groups is 55.3 million iPhones sold.

Below is a chart showing iPhone sales since the device launched back in 2007. The chart includes both the pro and non-pro total estimates on the right.

Dare we add our own estimate here of just over 60 million devices sold? Sure, why not…predictions are cheap. We believe the holiday number is going to be very close to 60 million.

All of this begs the question: If Apple can still manage to deliver these sorts of numbers with a pair of premium-priced mobile devices that have  "woefully small" screen sizes, what might it accomplish if  the current crop of rumors are true and there are both a 4.8 and 6 inch set of iPhones coming down the road, probably in September? What if we add to this the possibility of a 12 inch "pro" iPad Air?

It's going to be a monster Q4 2013 quarter for Apple. If that does indeed prove itself the case, look for Apple to have an entire monster 2014 year in hand. We're not even factoring in China mobile here. And keep in mind that we haven't even begun to consider how things might pan out if Apple introduces wearable tech products.

Google at $1,500? That's a bubble number.

Apple to $750 - $800? That is a real market number we can hang a real hat on.




Edited by Cassandra Tucker

TechZone360 Senior Editor

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