Apple did something different when the announced the iPhone 4S. Instead of terminating sales of the previous generation model, the iPhone 4, they continued selling it at a discounted price. They didn’t stop there though, they also kept on selling the now 30 month old iPhone 3GS. All that choice means the iPhone has all of a sudden become not just a device for the affluent, but for nearly everyone. With the holiday shopping season about to kick off, and the first quarter of Apple’s fiscal year about to end, it’s time for analysts to start estimating how many iPhones have the folks in Cupertino managed to sell over the past 3 months.
Maynard Um, from UBS, says that Apple is on track to sell over 30 million iPhones this quarter. That’s nearly double the 16.24 million Apple sold during fiscal Q1 2010. Horace Dediu, from Asymco, echos those thoughts in his predictions, saying that Apple will sell 35.7 million iPhones. We’re no pros, but we expect the real number to be right smack dab in the middle of those two estimates, somewhere around 32 million, simply because there’s a lot more credible competition out there in market this year. You’ve got all the variants of the Samsung Galaxy S II, cheap Windows Phones, and of course the insatiable demand for Android smartphones.
More important than the iPhone though is how big will the global smartphone market be compared to the feature phone market? During calendar year Q3 2011 there were 440.5 million mobile phones sold, of which 115.2 million were smartphones according to Gartner. In other words, 26% of all handsets sold were smartphones. We’re expecting that figure to rise dramatically in Q4 2011. It might even rise past 30% thanks to all the cheap smartphones that Huawei and ZTE are flooding the market with.
Anyway, expect Apple to report how many iPhones they’ve sold this quarter towards the end of January. We’ll be sure to update you with those numbers.