How many iPhones did Apple sell last quarter?

The analysts’ estimates range (narrowly) from 50.1 to 54 million. Average: 52.2 million.

It’s that time of the year again. Next Tuesday, May 2, Apple is scheduled to release its results for the second fiscal quarter of 2017. If history is any judge, investor will zero in first on the iPhone—the device that accounted last quarter for 69% of Apple’s total revenue.

Last year was an anomaly for Apple, a “growth” stock that racked up three consecutive quarters of negative revenue growth. Apple got back on the right side of the curve last Christmas, racking up record sales of 78.3 million iPhones.

According to the 20 analysts I’ve heard from so far—14 Wall Street professionals and 6 independents—the company looks to stay (barely) above the line.

Here’s what that looks like over time:

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Here are the average estimates in millions of iPhones:

Click to enlarge.

And here, in a new interactive table, are the individual analyst’s estimates—independents first, pros in the rear.

Not seeing the interactive table? Try the website. 

We’ll find out who was closest to the mark when Apple reports its Q2 2017 earnings, shortly after the markets close on May 2.

30 Comments

  1. Gregg Thurman said:

    Since the arrival of Luca Maestri as Apple’s CFO, I have almost entirely come to rely on management’s Guidance (when estimating Revenue and Net Income). Nothing has proven more accurate than management’s Guidance. It is far better than WS estimates.
    For all WS’s so called expertise, I’d like to point out that a unit spread of 3 Million units amounts to a Revenue spread of $2 Billion. That’s equal to management’s Guidance range ($51.5 Billion to $53.5 Billion).

    But Apple sells, in addition to the iPhone, Macs, iPads, Apple Watches, Airport Extremes, Apple TVs, Air Pods, and the fast growing Services segment. A $2 Billion iPhone revenue spread makes no allowance for growth in any of Apple’s other segments.

    With Maestri as CFO, Apple has exceeded the lower of Guidance range every quarter, doing so by an average of 2.68%. Low Revenue Guidance plus 2.68% equals FQ2/2017 Revenue of $52.880 Billion and doesn’t require headache inducing estimate models.

    Bottom line is that we don’t know what Apple knows, and for sure we don’t know if Apple’s Guidance is what it is, because of a surge (or drop) in demand for any of its segments.

    2
    April 24, 2017
    • Jonathan Mackenzie said:

      Apple also has a whole lot of tools to meet guidance and not much incentive to crush guidance especially on any earnings report that’s not in January.

      So even if they sold a bazillion Air Pods and were poised for a healthy beat, they could make sure some revenue from somewhere gets booked in the next quarter or some expenses are incurred to control the margin. In 2012 they reported a 42% margin it crushed them for 6 qtrs. I remember thinking at the time that Cook will never let that happen again.

      I agree, since Maestri has been CFO, we have very accurate, even managed, guidance.

      I think Apple will allow itself a healthy beat when the opportunity affords, but it will always take something off the table for a softer quarter. Just note how channel fill helped boost q1 2016 and YoY channel reductions in turn sucked some of the juice out of q1 2017 which had the extra week.

      This is a very smart team of numbers people. I’m glad I have put them in charge of so much of my retirement!

      1
      April 25, 2017
  2. Robert Paul Leitao said:

    In the March quarter one year ago, iPhone sell-through was about 51.65 million units versus the 51.20 million units reported as sold as management reduced channel supply by 450,000 units. This year, Apple entered the March quarter at the low end of the company’s desired 5 to 7 week target channel inventory range. Despite 14 weeks of production, Apple added only 1.2 million units to channel supply last quarter versus the 3.3 million units added in FQ1 2016.

    Strong demand for the iPhone 7 series handsets combined with Apple reaching the mid-range of desired channel supply in the quarter suggests the company may deliver in the range of 5% growth YOY in reported iPhone unit sales.

    2
    April 25, 2017

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