The iPhone Blasts Off Into Higher Orbit: 190M Handsets Expected Sold in 2012


Photo by Stuck in Customs -
Photo by Stuck in Customs -

The booster rockets have yet to stop for iPhone demand. That’s the word from one Wall Street analyst expecting sales of Apple’s handset to be 30 percent higher than predicted for the December quarter – and even more in 2012.

Morgan Stanley’s Kat Huberty reviewed the results of the firm’s AlphaWise survey, telling investors late Wednesday to expect big things from Apple. She believes the Cupertino, Calif. tech giant could ship up to 36 million iPhones during the fourth quarter of 2011 – much higher than the 28 million Wall Street projects. Indeed, in 2012, the iPhone continues its skyward trajectory, likely selling 41 million handsets worldwide.

The iPad isn’t a slouch, either. Huberty forecasts Apple will sell 81 million tablets next year, stomping all over the 52 million devices Morgan Stanley had earlier predicted. What’s fueling the hyper sales? Demand, of course. The survey found 27 percent of people asked plan to own a tablet soon. Apple could put some nitro in iPad sales by cutting the price by $100. The price drop could pile on an additional 15 million more iPad sales, Huberty writes. Such a move isn’t beyond the pale, either. We saw how iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 sales exploded after Apple dropped handset prices in October. The analyst appears to support talk that when Apple unveils the iPad 3 in 2012, it could cut the original iPad’s price, spurring sales even more.

Of course, this is just a survey, not actual sales. The survey was conducted just after the U.S. Thanksgiving, before the stone-cold sober Christmas shopping period when consumers weigh their desires against a limited budget. Still, such off-the-chart enthusiasm for the iPhone and iPad likely won’t totally vanish come the New Year.