How many iPhones did Apple sell last quarter?April 7, 2013: 5:46 AM ET
The forecasts range from 32.5 million to 42.5 million. Median estimate: 37 million.
FORTUNE -- iPhone sales were the big surprise this time last year.
Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T) had just turned in disappointing activation numbers and the talking heads on CNBC were predicting that Apple (AAPL) would totally miss its revenue and earnings targets -- forgetting, apparently, that most iPhone sales take place overseas.
When Apple reported last April that it sold 35.1 million iPhones in its second fiscal quarter -- up 88% from the year before and 15% above Wall Street's consensus, the stock leaped nearly $42 (7.4%) in after-hours trading.
Nobody's expecting that to happen this year.
We've polled the usual suspects and have heard so far from 48 analysts -- 30 Wall Street professionals and 18 amateurs.
Although 10 of the 48 believe Q2 iPhone sales this year will fall short of Q2 2012, the consensus is that Apple will beat last year's number, but not by much. The pros, on average, are looking for unit sales up 4% year over year; the indies for 8%. The median estimate -- 37 million -- would represent 5.5% growth.
Nobody is talking about an 88% jump this time around. Even the most bullish indie -- The Braeburn Group's Michel Contant -- is only looking for 21%.
But like this time last year, there are analysts once again predicting that Apple will surprise Wall Street in a bad way and fall short of even the company's new "realistic" guidance numbers.
One of them is BTIG's Walter Piecyk, who on Friday published a note suggesting that Apple may be planning to package the bad news of a revenue miss with the good news of a dividend increase.
We'll find out who's right and who's wrong when Apple reports its Q2 2013 earnings on April 23.
Below: The individual analyst's estimates -- pros in blue, independents in green. Thanks to Posts at Eventide's Robert Paul Leitao for pulling together the Braeburn numbers.