Apple sold more iPhones during the holiday quarter than it has ever sold before. At 51 million units, Apple’s record iPhone sales helped push the company’s holiday-quarter profit to a whopping $13.1 billion. The March quarter that follows always sees a notable slowdown after the holiday shopping rush, of course, but one of the most respected Apple analysts out there believes Apple is going to surprise us next month and report fiscal second-quarter iPhone sales that top expectations by a huge margin.
In a research note delivered to clients on Wednesday morning, Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty said Apple will likely sell 42 million iPhones during its fiscal second quarter. That figure would represent somewhat modest but surprising growth over the same quarter last year, when Apple sold 37.4 million iPhones.
Wall Street expects iPhone sales to be flat in the March quarter, coming in at 38 million units.
Huberty’s prediction uses Morgan Stanley’s proprietary “Alphawise Smartphone Tracker” to monitor Web chatter and predict iPhone sales based on conversations and search trends. While it sounds dubious, Business Insider notes that Alphawise nailed iPhone sales last quarter with an estimate of 50.5 million units, which was just 500,000 off from the 51 million iPhones Apple actually sold between October and December last year.