Analysts disagree about Apple iPhone sales figures

Analysts disagree about Apple iPhone sales figures
On Monday morning, Apple announced that it had sold a record 9 million Apple iPhone 5s and Apple iPhone 5c units during the launch weekend and all was right with the world again. Apple CEO Tim Cook was once again branded a genius worthy of carrying Steve Jobs' jock and all of a sudden Samsung was relegated to the position of a pesky competitor to Apple. That is pesky like a fly that keeps buzzing around your head is pesky.

But not all Wall Street analysts quickly put any (excuse the pun) stock in the figures. Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster, no stranger to this site, believes that only 5.5 million units of the two new iPhone models were sold through to consumers while the rest were sold to carriers to help them fill inventory. In past years, those carrier bought models would have ended up sold anyway. But this year, the carriers are sitting with a ton of Apple iPhone 5c units in their inventory, unsold.

Jefferies' Peter Misek, whose clients are presumably going to have a nice tax writeoff with his poorly timed BlackBerry buy recommendation, and Chuck Jones at Forbes, both agree with Munster that a portion of the reported 9 million in sales were for carriers to re-stock. But both see only 2 million to 3 million iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c units actually sold to consumers over the weekend.

Only Apple knows the real story and they will pass it along to us when the next quarterly report is due.

source: TheVerge, BloombergTV

Related phones

iPhone 5s
  • Display 4.0" 640 x 1136 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A7, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 1570 mAh(10h 3G talk time)
iPhone 5c
  • Display 4.0" 640 x 1136 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A6, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 1507 mAh(10h 3G talk time)



1. Topcat488

Posts: 1416; Member since: Sep 29, 2012

Apple lying again... Cause 2-3 million is a lot different than 9 million. Sum of the story: "Just another marketing trick", by Apple.

3. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

More like an iGimmick by Apple.


Posts: 269; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

Don't listen to anal-ysts.

31. seret6

Posts: 279; Member since: Aug 14, 2013

is this another slap on apple's face?

33. darkkjedii

Posts: 31320; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

The Sammites hope this is true. Apple sold 9 million dude. That's that. Awesome phone BTW...

50. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

You are aware the Galaxy S III sold 9M on pre-order too when it was first announced...right?

60. Sauce unregistered

They are all in D E N I A L xD

64. johnbftl

Posts: 283; Member since: Jun 09, 2012

Just like when a musician's album goes Gold or Platinum, they are more than likely counting the amount of units sold to retailers and not to actual customers. An artist can sell one million records without ever actual selling anywhere near that. I don't believe Apple, or any other company for that matter should be able to count units sold at retail or as upgrades either. Only new activations.

58. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Except when they validate your position, eh? Then they are 'eXperts'....

65. glentomas123

Posts: 70; Member since: Jun 01, 2011

Maybe you should have listened to the report before commenting.

13. android_hitman unregistered

where is that apple fanboy?


Posts: 4851; Member since: Apr 13, 2012

3 of the shameless ones are here... ™

63. phil2n

Posts: 519; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

BOOM.. some good news today

17. msa1988

Posts: 418; Member since: Mar 30, 2010

This is probably true. As an Apple fan I was shocked to see such large sales numbers considering how disppointed I was in the phone itself. They can mark-to-market all they want now and boost their image in the short run but they can't run from Q3 numbers next month.

59. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Q4 sales will be the real telling metric. If they can't beat what they did last year, it will be a colossal FAIL.

19. AnTuTu

Posts: 1620; Member since: Oct 14, 2012

hahahahahahaha what a shame Fruit

21. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

I'll see if I can grab some numbers

24. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Alright, so Apple increased its 4th quarter outlook from the lower end of their estimates to the higher end (34 to 37 billion expect 36+ they say and expect higher margins than before as well around 37%). This coupled with "9 million" is amazing and magical as well. But not all is clear in Cupertino since last year they made sales of 36 billion with margins of 40%. But even with that last year they were derided for going downhill with their money making for once. So this year they should have expected to make just as much and then some but actually expected less? I doubt it, likely playing the under promise and over deliver game. But they are still under promising because this time they should be making more money on all their products. Cheaper to make iPhones in both regards (5c definitely and 5s is on a very mature process with a cheaper to produce chip (die shrink) and only fingerprint sensor (very cheap simple components) as new components). So expect them to release slightly better financials (unless something goes terribly wrong) and most analysts to forget for the most part that it is all just a numbers game.

51. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

All you said was right except one thing, smaller chips cost more to make vs bigger ones.

26. ScottSchneider

Posts: 336; Member since: Dec 06, 2011

Well... I think Apple paid PA to raise up the review and give the iPhoneys/iPuny a 9+ score to pick up sales... but that also didnt go well as planned... 9.3 and 9 for the iphone is kind of unusual from PA... iPhone 5 got only 8.5...

44. SellPhones82

Posts: 569; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

This is nothing new, every year their "sales" numbers are units shipped out of Foxcon, not units actually sold to end uses. To me that is a big difference, but what do I Know. Any company could make 10 million of an item and ship them somewhere but that to me does not constitute a "sale". They never take into consideration the number of unsold units that are still sitting in store or else where. Artificial #'s Inflation!

2. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Hahaha..What a iShame!!! Fooling around to iPhone users.

4. woodshop20

Posts: 459; Member since: Sep 14, 2013

Are we surprised about Apple's shady marketing tactics? All you iFans that swarmed on Samsung when they posted wrong sales figures, what you got now?

5. x7black7x

Posts: 118; Member since: Feb 19, 2012

hahahh now apple are being sarcastic!!! :P

6. Sniggly

Posts: 7305; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

Interesting. Of course, analysts aren't privy to the actual sales figures. Interesting that the iPhone 5c didn't sell nearly as many units as were in Apple's inventory. As for the 9 million sales potentially being false, I'm a little surprised. Apple is disingenuous about many things, but sales figures are one thing they've never really been dishonest about before. Of course, if their weekend sales really did collapse that badly, they would have every reason to lie.

9. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

"Of course, if their weekend sales really did collapse that badly, they would have every reason to lie." There are actually 2 stories about an Apple sales fail. The next story will be about the exchange of 5Cheap units for 5S stock. The 5Cheap phones won't be selling, and in about two months, the carriers are going to start the return process. If Apple is lucky, they will swap the 5Cheap returns for 5S stock.

25. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

There is no exchange with Apple, the carriers wish they could. Why did more lower end iPhone models sell last year you ask then the high end model every quarter? Well that is because carriers started to actively push the lower end to decrease inventory and lower orders for the high end 5. That is why all last year the stock kept dropping due to men results. That and they started to push droid phones because those make just as much money and can be returned or exchanged by the carriers.

42. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Then Apple screwed their partners yet again. What ever quantity of 5Cheap phones were sold to carriers will likely only be replaced as those units are sold. The problem with multiple colors is that certain colors are more popular than others. Not being able to exchange unpopular colors for more popular ones is going hurt sales. I expect there will be even more cannibalization of the iPhone sales than occurred last time around. No wonder Apples share price took a hit right after the 5Cheap was announced. Long term outlook doesn't look that good, either, especially if the 5S sales are soft.

15. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

I've always been suspicious about apple's sales figures. They never disclose how many new, used, restocked, refurbished, warranty, and insurance phones pass from them to (eventually) the customer. I will grant that iphones are popular, but their sales numbers and actual market share don't quite match. I'd be willing to believe the 2-5M sold, especially given production runs and timing (though there have been product leaks for months). 9M totally made and perhaps moved from china factories to the inventory supply chain (aka "shipped"), but unlikely 9M sold to customers.

22. Pdubb

Posts: 249; Member since: Aug 08, 2011

Technically they are not wrong. It said they sold to carriers, so they have been sold. Now lets see how the carriers numbers turn out. I did find the 9 million number a little high being that many people said they were waiting for the gold model and there were no pre orders and supply was short. Interesting to see how this plays out.

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