Apple could exit the holiday-shopping season with record sales of up to 62 million iPhones.
In an investors note released Monday, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster forecast iPhone sales for the October-through-December quarter of anywhere from 56.7 million to 62.7 million. That range compares with overall Wall Street estimates of 60 million and some investor expectations as high as 63 million. The last quarter of the year is Apple's first fiscal quarter, so these numbers actually mean Apple would start fiscal 2015 on a high note.
For the calendar fourth quarter of 2013, Apple sold 51 million iPhones, which at that point marked an all-time quarterly record. Assuming the range seen in Munster's crystal ball is on the money, that means unit sales of iPhones could jump this quarter by somewhere between 25 to 45 percent over the same quarter last year.
Apple released its latest smartphones, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, to much hoopla in mid-September. Preorders and first-weekend sales both broke Apple's records, so a record-breaking holiday-shopping season does not seem out of reach.
Munster also predicts the average retail selling price of the iPhone could rise to around $695 this quarter from the current $630 based on the more expensive iPhone 6 Plus and a shift to iPhones with more storage. Driven by those iPhone sales and their higher average selling prices, Apple could rake in revenue as high as $65 billion to $68 billion for the October-through-December quarter, up from a record $57.6 billion in revenue a year ago.
The analyst does expect China to play a major role in iPhone sales over the next two quarters. Based on a report from Chinese website Tencent,in advance of sales, which kicked off in China on Friday. Though there's some question as to the accuracy of those numbers and how many sales they may actually generate, Munster believes that "in general demand in China appears to be strong and should be a positive tailwind heading into December and March."
At its iPhone event last month, Apple also unveiled the Apple Watch, saying only that the device would launch early next year. Some reports suggest that the watch may reach consumers around Valentine's Day. What does Munster predict for Apple's new smartwatch?
"We continue to be conservative in our first year sales expectations with our 10 million first year units estimate and, if the Apple Watch is available for Valentine's Day, we believe that Apple could sell 2 million watches in the [January-through-March] quarter, which could add $1 billion in revenue at a $500 ASP (average selling price)."
Apple reports results for its July-through-September quarter later today. As Munster points out, Wall Street analysts are looking for iPhone sales of 37 million to 38 million, iPad sales of 12 million, and Macs sales of 4.6 million.