Last week, Brian Blair at Wedge Partners said Apple was having a terrible quarter.
Today, Katy Huberty at Morgan Stanley is telling a different tale. She says iPhone sales are actually going to be stronger than expected.
Using Morgan Stanley’s “Alphawise Smartphone Tracker,” Huberty estimates Apple will announce 42 million iPhones shipped for the March quarter.
Huberty says that supply chain data suggests Apple will ship 38 million iPhones, which would be about flat on a year-over-year basis. In the March quarter of 2013, Apple sold 37.4 million iPhones.
The Alphawise tracker uses web search analysis to determine an estimate. It sounds unreliable, but the results have been pretty good. For instance, last quarter it predicted 50.5 million iPhones shipped. And Apple announced 51 million.
Why is it ahead of what the supply chain is suggesting? And which do we trust?
Huberty says that the supply chain may work in overdrive during the holiday quarter to generate extra product, and then ease back in the March quarter, thus giving an unreliable read out on sales.
She also says that U.S. carriers have changed their policies a bunch this quarter, and that could generate consumer demand. Big retailers like Best Buy and Walmart are running sales on the iPhone 5S and 5C which could also produce more sales than expected.
As for trust, here’s a look at the Alphawise Tracker’s record against Wall Street analysts: