Apple could sell 175M iPhones in fiscal 2014 -- analyst

Analyst Michael Walkley's forecast is up from a prior estimate of 171 million. He cited two reasons for his rosier outlook.

Lance Whitney
Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
The 5S should see a surge in sales, says one Apple analyst.
The 5S should see a surge in sales, says one Apple analyst. Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple's iPhone 5S could see sales of 175 million for the current fiscal year and 193 million the following year, predicts Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley.

These latest estimates are an upgrade from the previous predictions of 171 million for fiscal 2014 -- which ends next September -- and 186 million for fiscal 2015. Why the bump? Walkley attributed the new forecast to two factors.

Surveys taken by Canaccord Genuity point to strong iPhone 5S sales, pegging it as the top-selling smartphone around the world and at all four of the major US carriers. A report out Thursday from Counterpoint Research tagged the 5S as the world's best-selling smartphone in October. The 5S' availability has improved as Apple and its suppliers have worked to meet the heavy demand.

A launch of the iPhone 5S through China Mobile is also "imminent," according to Walkley, who expects strong sales through China's largest carrier. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Apple had already reached a deal with China Mobile to offer the iPhone to its subscribers. Neither company has revealed any such agreement, but a preorder page posted Thursday on China Mobile's Web site clearly shows an image of the 5S.

Fiscal 2015 won't start for another year, so analyst estimates that far in advance should be taken with a grain of salt. From that point on, Apple's sales will depend largely on demand for the iPhone 6. But assuming a major upgrade and a launch by China Mobile and potentially other new carriers, iPhone sales for that year are certain to top those of 2014.