Morgan Stanley estimates huge iPhone sales

The underwhelming response to Apple's new launches isn't expected to dampen demand.

By Benzinga Sep 18, 2013 2:44PM

copyright AppleBy Tim Parker

When Apple (AAPL) or just about any other tech company announces a new product, the Internet is flooded with reports about how disappointing it is.

Influential tech bloggers pick the product apart, noting details that may or may not matter to the average consumer, and inevitably, that spills over to the water cooler where we hear even more opinions about how companies like Apple have lost their edge.

What's worse, investors may make decisions based on that media noise. That has certainly happened in the case of Apple. After the announcement of the new iPhones, the stock sold off 11%, but the successful investors (love him or hate him), like Carl Icahn, know that the way to make decisions is by looking at real numbers.

Take Wednesday's research note ( from Morgan Stanley (MS). The firm has a proprietary method of analyzing web chatter in multiple countries using Google (GOOG) Trends called the AlphaWise Smartphone Tracker.

It estimates that in the 2013 calendar-year third quarter (Apple's fourth quarter), the company will likely sell 34.5 million iPhones -- 11% higher than Morgan's forecasted number of 31 million and 28% higher than the 26.9 million sold in the same quarter of 2012.

The note also addressed the speculation that Apple's lack of a press release announcing iPhone pre-order sales meant anything. The authors said that since the 5S wasn't available for pre-orders, a press release would essentially be meaningless.

"Importantly, our tracker shows a 15% Q/Q increase in iPhone shipments in C3Q13, in-line with the 16% Q/Q uptick in C3Q12 when iPhone 5 launched and representing healthy demand."

The latest AlphaWise report included data collected through Sept. 15 and includes the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, China and Japan. The iPhone event took place on Sept. 10 and pre-orders began on Sept. 13, meaning the latest data set does include the 5S and 5C sentiment.

The same research note found that the Samsung (SSNLF) Galaxy phones will likely come in well ahead of consensus also. AlphaWise suggests sales of 47 million units, compared to its prior consensus of 45 million units.

Of course, the Morgan Stanley note represents estimates and those, like much of the early reviews, should be considered cautiously, but the wise investors know that when you move away from short-term trades, investing is still a numbers game and it's hard to argue that Apple's numbers are not solid.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Tim Parker was long Apple.

More from Benzinga

Sep 19, 2013 9:21AM

Remember all the hype when the Pentium came out?  IT was only surpassed when the Pentium II came out.

Now, nobody cares when a new processor comes out, it is all about the software.  It is becoming the same with smartphones.  Hardware is becoming secondary to software.  IF you want a good investment, find yourself a good smartphone software developer because that is where the money is.

Sep 18, 2013 3:39PM
Hmmm the only folks sleeping outside the Apple stores last tuesday were homeless people. Nothing like the reception you are describing.  Morgan Stanley unloading some Apple share me thinks. I have had several smart phones all top of the line and nothing new to me is news.  And folks are making less dough and the cell phone bill will by necessity come under consumer spending pressure. JMHO
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