Analyst: Apple Could Sell 9.5M iPhones for Third-Quarter



A day after record-breaking pre-orders for the iPhone 4 knocked both Apple and AT&T back on their heels, one prominent analyst says the Cupertino, Calif. company should prepare for record sales during the June fiscal quarter. Apple will sell 9.5 million iPhones for the period, predicts Gene Munster.

Munster, analyst with Piper Jaffray, told investors Wednesday a longer period between unveiling the new handset coupled with AT&T’s generous upgrade policy means Apple could report 9.5 million iPhone sold during the quarter, up from his previous estimate of 8.5 million.

In 2009, Apple sold over one million iPhone 3GS handsets in the first three days of availability. The Cupertino, Calif. company has twice that long between the June 24 general availability of the iPhone 4 and the last day of the June quarter, Munster wrote. Munster’s comment gains even more credibility after German Telekom announced demand for the iPhone 4 was 10 times above that of last year’s iPhone 3GS. Indeed, like AT&T in the U.S., German Telekom questions whether it will be able to get enough iPhone 4s to customers come June 24.

Munster also bases his increased expectations on an assumption most current AT&T customers who own a an iPhone will upgrade to the new device. Pointing to a Wall Street Journal survey suggesting 62 percent of iPhone owners say they’ll upgrade, Munster told investors the numbers “imply that 5.2 million AT&T (subscribers) could upgrade to iPhone 4.” Some 1.3 million iPhone 4 upgrades will happen during the June quarter, with 75 percent more occurring later, according to the analyst.

More than half of those iPhone owners planning to upgrade will chose the 16GB iPhone 4 version, one report said Wednesday. According to AppleInsider, tracked preorders suggest 45 percent of iPhone owners will opt for the 32 GB version.

Apple should earn $59.2 billion for fiscal 2010, according to Piper Jaffray.

[via AppleInsider and Fortune]