How Many iPhones Did Apple Sell In The March Quarter?

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    Posted: 21 April 2012 03:49 AM #121

    Mav - 21 April 2012 06:40 AM

    Now, these are just statistics (obviously the China Telecom data is more generally useful), but I think it’s more than a little important to point out that not counting China “officially”, iPhone 4S starting in late December launched in countries (again, excluding China) with a combined population of over 1.4B people.

    Obviously, some markets are bigger than others, much bigger, given stuff like real economic differences and carrier availability/coverage.  Population is not remotely equal to addressable market population.  But there’s big markets there - Brazil, Russia, Indonesia for example.  (Yep, still leaving out China, don’t wanna get _too_ enthusiastic.  LOL)

    And THEN add China Unicom/Telecom/the non-sanctioned China Mobile users into the mix wink, and you ask yourself - “wait, most sales from these countries would be booked in fiscal Q2?”

    Not here to change anyone’s mind, but hey - food for thought!

    Brazil could be very interesting actually….

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    Posted: 21 April 2012 04:02 AM #122

    How so?

    Carnival?

    (No, seriously, whatcha mean?)

    [ Edited: 21 April 2012 04:15 AM by Mav ]

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    Posted: 21 April 2012 04:05 AM #123

    adamthompson32 - 21 April 2012 01:05 AM

    I think all this conjecture is fun but I think everyone needs to realize one simple fact and the WS analysts and talking heads on CNBC may not get it yet. Apple has essentially addressed all the subscribers in the U.S. with the iPhone 4S. Sure, there are regional carriers to add and T-Mobile doesn’t have the iPhone yet but surely Apple has addressed 90%+ of the U.S. smartphone market already. This means that the vast majority of iPhone growth is coming from overseas. Yes, there is growth domestically as dumb phone owners switch to smart phones and yes iPhone can take share from Fandroid phones domestically. But those benefits are also occurring internationally while Apple is also adding tons of international carriers at the same time. Going forward we are going to see international growth absolutely dwarf domestic unit growth for iPhone because there aren’t any big carriers left here to add, or at least not nearly as many as there are internationally. We are going to see the U.S. share of the iPhone market shrink every single quarter from here on out and I expect the drop to fairly steep.

    I think everyone here pretty much knows that Apple has never come close to meeting worldwide iPhone demand so all they have to do is keep adding production and carriers until they get there. I think that will happen in a couple years. If Apple has production setup for 40 million units (for example) but they see sales lagging their projections in any given market all they have to do is add some carriers elsewhere to sop up the “excess” production. I know this is simplifying things a bit and Apple has to do a lot of work to make these carrier agreements happen but it really is this easy when looking at the question from 50,000 feet.

    As DT has said for years, Apple will sell all the iPhones it can make. Now the question is whether you think Apple planned to make less iPhones this quarter than last. I don’t think they did.

    I agree with your assessment, thanks, and am really looking forward to Tuesday after the close . . .

         
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    Posted: 21 April 2012 04:05 AM #124

    (moved from previous page)

    Resetting the table a bit and organizing the later-stage iPhone 4S launch data:

    According to MacRumors, the iPhone 4S launched December 16, 2011 in Bahrain, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam.

    http://www.macrumors.com/2011/12/16/iphone-4s-debuts-in-over-20-new-countries-pricing-starts-as-high-as-1400/

    May be a partial list, but it’s representative I’m sure. wink

    Combined population per Wolfram Alpha:  986.7M.  A slightly different number than Cl4, but close enough to a billion people.

    ———————————-

    For the fourth-stage launch:

    On January 13, 2012, iPhone launched in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Cameroon, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, China, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Guam, Guinea Conakry, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Niger, Senegal, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos and Uganda.  Source - Apple - http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2012/01/04iPhone-4S-Arrives-in-China-on-January-13.html

    Excluding China, just for reference, the combined population of all of the remaining countries is approx. 226.6M per Wolfram Alpha

    ———————————-

    For the most recent launches:

    Indonesia and Costa Rica (launched 1/27/12):  Combined population of about 237.6M

    China Telecom launch (launched 3/9/12):  132.3M subscribers in March 2012, 3G population of about 41.1M
    Source - Reuters/China Telecom press release - http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/20/chinatelecom-idUSH9E8EE00C20120320

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    Posted: 21 April 2012 04:12 AM #125

    Blast from the past:

    First-stage iPhone 4S launch:  To countries with combined populations of about 700M

    http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/forums/viewthread/81618/P75/#590955

    Second-stage iPhone 4S launch:  To countries with combined populations of about 330M.

    http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/forums/viewreply/591602/

    Of course the 4S launched in a bunch of other countries between October 28, 2011 and December 16, 2011.  A decently-reliable-looking list is on Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPhone_4S

    [ Edited: 21 April 2012 04:14 AM by Mav ]

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    Posted: 21 April 2012 04:17 AM #126

    Well, I guess I better complete the picture and add the Wikipedia information: 

    November 11, 2011:  Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, El Salvador, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Malta, Montenegro, New Zealand, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Romania, South Korea, United States (non-contract)

    Combined populations excepting US: About 179.9M

    November 13, 2011:  Saudi Arabia (unofficial I guess?)

    November 25, 2011:  Colombia, Moldova, India

    Combined populations excepting India (1.21B people, very poor cellular/3G infrastructure as I understand it):  about 50M

    Notes:  Biggest launches would be Hong Kong (gateway market!), South Korea and India in no particular order.  Does not seem as significant a launch in terms of international market segments (India’s 3G user base was supposedly about 9 million at some point in 2011), though I would have to assume Apple launches in the sequence it does for well thought-out reasons beyond just stuff like regulatory approvals.

    [ Edited: 21 April 2012 04:36 AM by Mav ]

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    Posted: 21 April 2012 04:43 AM #127

    Prazan - 21 April 2012 03:01 AM

    How many brilliant Romanian Apple analysts are there, anyway? I’ve just finished poring over the link by Trainspotter to the article on SA by Nicu Mihalache. I don’t dare go that high in EPS, but he makes a convincing case by showing the reasoning behind each number, and in breaking down the numbers in some detail.

    Wow… I just read through Mihalache’s article.  $14 EPS for the quarter would be insane.  That, along with a $110B cash pile is going to start the presses again.  Analysts rethinking their price targets, just a few days after earnings are reported.  In all honesty, and considering that the market is now in a bullish upswing, I don’t see $800 as out of the question before OE for JAN13.  $1000 for sometime in 2014 is almost a given in that case.

         
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    Posted: 21 April 2012 04:58 AM #128

    I’m not sure I agree with the bottom line estimates, but I like the way he thinks. LOL

    He’s been on PED’s earnings surveys for some time now IIRC.

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  • Posted: 21 April 2012 09:44 AM #129

    mjuarez - 21 April 2012 07:43 AM
    Prazan - 21 April 2012 03:01 AM

    How many brilliant Romanian Apple analysts are there, anyway? I’ve just finished poring over the link by Trainspotter to the article on SA by Nicu Mihalache. I don’t dare go that high in EPS, but he makes a convincing case by showing the reasoning behind each number, and in breaking down the numbers in some detail.

    Wow… I just read through Mihalache’s article.  $14 EPS for the quarter would be insane.  That, along with a $110B cash pile is going to start the presses again.  Analysts rethinking their price targets, just a few days after earnings are reported.  In all honesty, and considering that the market is now in a bullish upswing, I don’t see $800 as out of the question before OE for JAN13.  $1000 for sometime in 2014 is almost a given in that case.

    If Robert’s FY 2012 earnings estimate of $56 a share is correct, I think AAPL will be closer to $900 sometime in October, 2012 - and then if earnings growth slows to 45% for FY 2013 (and I am not forecasting that), shares could be over $1,300 by the end of October, 2013.

         
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    Posted: 21 April 2012 02:59 PM #130

    sleepygeek - 20 April 2012 07:46 AM
    DawnTreader - 20 April 2012 04:10 AM

    I want to get back on track. Supply will govern sales. .

    Precisely. That’s how Apple runs the business. And the day they stop doing that is the day they begin to lose control. Control means knowing how many you will make, knowing the supply chain is able to make them, and knowing where they will be sold. And therefore being able to transition to a new product with terrifying (for competitors) speed and precision.

    FUD stories in the media can nearly always be discounted, even though they may be based on fact.  So bends in the road appear. Management will steer the company round them. For example, QCOM apparently hasn’t enough TSMC foundry capacity to fulfil sales. Who says Apple haven’t contracted direct with TSMC for capacity?

    ... And if Apple has supply not available to competitors (like they did in locking up holiday air deliveries), this info spun into FUD is actually the opposite.  What is the opposite of FUD anyway?  Confidence, Conviction and Certainty (CCC)?

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    Posted: 21 April 2012 03:06 PM #131

    Red Shirted Ensign - 20 April 2012 01:51 PM
    Prazan - 20 April 2012 12:47 PM

    Thanks Robert, Mav, Big Al, and others. Time has been too pressing the past few days to allow me to look seriously at the numbers, and the intraday thread generates more uncertainty and doubt than solace. The discussion here has been of great benefit.

    +1

    This is the type of probing analysis that makes this group shine.  Thanks to all.

    And Mav, it proves again you are not just a pretty face (avatar).

    +1… I think there is no better path to truth than to have the opportunity to hear the best minds in the business discuss their viewpoints.  I feel privileged to be a fly on the wall.

    Here is what I’ve heard in this thread that I believe: Apple can sell all the iPhones it can make.  From there we just have to determine how many Apple can make.  Last Quarter, Apple could make 2,645,714/week.  (37.04/14 weeks).

    Assuming Apple maintained the same production capacity, for the 13-week March quarter Apple’s iPhone number would be 34.4M.

    But Apple’s YOY production increase has been about 100%. Assuming increased production capability for the March quarter produces these numbers:

    [ Edited: 21 April 2012 04:31 PM by jjjz ]

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    Posted: 21 April 2012 04:14 PM #132

    So, if we assume that Apple can: 1) sell all the iPhones it can make and 2) Increase it’s production capacity by about 25%/quarter, we could conceivably see 43 million iPhones sold this quarter…

    But can we really translate a 100% YOY production capacity growth to 25% production capacity growth from December to March.  I don’t think so.  I’m going with a 15% multiple…  that brings my March iPhone forecast to 39,553,424.

    It’s hard for me to believe… But is there some reason not to assume some quarter-quarter boost in production capacity?

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    Posted: 21 April 2012 04:37 PM #133

    NONE WHATSOEVER.

    Except Apple deciding to slow down production.  Which makes so little sense.  Talk about what a selling event that would be!

    jjjz, you do need to recheck that methodology though.  Like iPad and all other new products at launch, Apple had a “flying start.”  Production was probably ongoing some weeks before and likely was not constant, but rather starting slower and ramping up through the quarter.  Supply/demand balance probably didn’t mostly occur until fiscal Q2.

    [ Edited: 21 April 2012 04:39 PM by Mav ]

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    Posted: 21 April 2012 05:12 PM #134

    Some random thoughts:

    Seeing the data - all those later-stage iPhone launch countries, some representing pretty significant markets, to say nothing of China, not getting most of their supply of iPhones until fiscal Q2 - makes me more convinced than ever that Apple is not about to hit the brakes on iPhone production.  Never mind that the very idea of slowing production rates of the hottest new product in Apple’s history in its first full quarter seems absurd.  But it helps to do even a tiny bit of research to recheck my conviction now and then.

    The other side to this, though, is that I’m more worried than ever if Apple, _despite_ this deliberate roll-out, despite the new markets that only really opened up in fiscal Q2, despite the existing markets not exactly gonna have a sequential cliff-drop in unit sales, despite holding all the cards, despite the signs and clues and statistics and past somewhat-instructive trends, does post a lower-than-expected iPhone number on Tuesday.  (Let’s just call that 35M for now.) 

    I’ll admit I’d probably be more worried than many of you, because my pet theory is that Apple grows the company in a “premeditated” fashion.  I mean sure there’s uncertainties and Apple adjusts the levers of production as it goes, but I’ve long believed Apple pretty clearly knows where it wants to be even before it gets there.  Yes, a lot of it is due to Apple’s “betting big” - Apple-speak for “a sustainable, fairly conservative (to us) production rate with room to grow” - and then, what a shock, they “didn’t bet high enough” (Tim Cook, fiscal Q1 2012 CC).  In a way it’s also a form of self-presentation/self-assertion - the warp-speed marathon runner, conditioned and trained enough to run said marathons back-to-back.  Few companies can pull off such high-level planning, but is it ever nice when you serve up some of the most popular products in the history of the world, to say nothing of the myriad other reasons why people love Apple stuff so much.

    “Why stop now?” can be a dangerous question to ask, particularly if you misjudge the peak, but by all accounts Apple is still just seeing the tip of the iceberg.  Sure existing demand in the other iPhone launch countries is cooling off in certain locales, but tons of other countries were added from January to March.  Just looking at Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, China…I can’t help but ask, “why stop now?”

    [ Edited: 21 April 2012 06:23 PM by Mav ]

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  • Posted: 21 April 2012 06:16 PM #135

    Three cheers for Mav!

    Excellent research on iPhone sales!