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Morgan Stanley: Apple may sell 190 million iPhones next year

December 15, 2011: 6:53 AM ET

A proprietary survey finds demand for iPads and iPhones much stronger than expected

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The results of an AlphaWise survey of U.S. consumers conducted for Morgan Stanley the week after Thanksgiving was full of surprises, reports Katy Huberty in a note to clients issued late Wednesday.

  • iPhones are selling surprisingly briskly. Based on the survey and last week's comments from AT&T (T), Huberty estimates that Apple (AAPL) could ship anywhere from 31 to 36 million iPhones this quarter -- as much as 20% higher than the 30 million she's modeling and nearly 30% higher than the 28 million Wall Street is expecting.
  • iPhone demand is accelerating. "Surprisingly," she writes, "US consumers expect to buy more iPhones in C1Q12 than C4Q11" (emphasis hers). Even discounting the survey results 10%, that suggests Apple could sell 13 million iPhones in the U.S. and 41 million worldwide next quarter. Morgan Stanley's model has Apple selling 30 million iPhones in calendar Q1 2012.
  • "Perhaps most surprising," demand for tablets shows no sign of weakening. Only 8% of US consumers own a tablet today but 27% plan to buy one, according to the survey. If, as Huberty expects, Apple gives up "a modest" 4 points of market share to Amazon's (AMZN) Kindle Fire, Apple could sell 81 million iPads worldwide next year. Morgan Stanley is modeling only 52 millon iPads for 2012, roughly 20 million in the U.S. and 32 million overseas.
  • With a $100 price cut Apple could sell 15 million more iPads. Even after applying a 30% discount to the survey results (where does she get these numbers?), Huberty estimates that if Apple were to reduce the price of the cheapest iPad 2 to $399, it could sell 90 million iPads worldwide in 2012, roughly 10 million more than its suppliers have reportedly been asked to build.
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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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