A cheaper price tag and greater international distribution should help Apple (AAPL) quadruple its September quarter iPhone sales, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster estimates.
Munster thinks Apple should easily sell 4.47 million iPhones this quarter, up 9% from his previous guess of 4.1 million, and up 299% from the 1.12 million it sold during the September quarter last year.
How’d he get there? Good, old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting, coupled with guesswork: His staff spent more than 25 hours watching people buy iPhones in Apple stores. Munster estimates Apple’s retail stores are each selling an average 95 iPhones per day, up from about 21 a day last August. (Caveat: Gene tried a similar version of this to predict the 3G phone’s opening weekend tally, and missed badly.)
Specifically, Munster expects Apple to sell 1.78 million iPhones in its stores this quarter, AT&T to sell another 0.9 million in its own stores, and Apple’s international distribution partners to sell 1.79 million phones.
Munster notes Apple’s new deal to sell iPhones at nearly 1,000 Best Buy (BBY) stores, beginning Sept. 7, as an “additional positive,” but doesn’t include Best Buy sales in his estimates. So it’s entirely possible Apple could sell even more iPhones this quarter — especially if they’ve already sold 3 million so far, as one consultant suggested on Monday.
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