FORTUNE -- In the analysts' notes to investors leading up to Apple's (AAPL) quarterly earnings report next week, the iPhone is topic No. 1.
And with good reason. iPhone sales remain the company's single biggest source of revenue -- 52.6% of total revenues, to be specific, at this time last year.
In a note issued Wednesday, Bernstein's Toni Sacconaghi rattled off a list of imponderables that are pulling his iPhone unit sales estimate (38.8 million) in several different directions:
"Combined," he writes, "these factors lead us to believe there is more downside risk than upside risk to our estimates."
One the other hand, Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty reported Thursday that her AlphaWise smartphone tracker, which gathers sell-through data by analyzing Web searches, indicates iPhone demand at 40.6 million units, well above her 38 million estimate. "Recent promotions," she writes, "like those at U.S. carriers and retailers, and product adjustments, notably the introduction of an 8GB iPhone 5c in some regions, may have stimulated demand more than expected."
It's certainly more than expected by most of the analysts we polled in our quarterly survey, now in its sixth year.
We've heard from 32 Apple analysts so far -- 20 Wall Street professionals and 12 amateurs. Their estimates range from a high of 42.5 million iPhones, from Needham's Charlie Wolf, to a low of 34.05 million from a pro who asked that his name and affiliation not be used. He's one of 10 analysts who believe Apple sold fewer iPhone last quarter than the 37.4 million it sold in the same quarter last year.
The average of all the estimates is 38.2 million, which would represent a 2% increase year over year. As usual, the amateurs are more bullish, with an average estimate of 38.8 million. But the pros are right behind them at 37.8 million.
We'll find out who was closest to the mark when Apple reports its fiscal Q2 2014 earnings after the markets close on Wednesday, April 23.
Below: The individual analyst's estimates -- pros in blue, indies in green. Thanks as always to Posts at Eventide's Robert Paul Leitao for pulling together the Braeburn Group numbers.
In February, the giant carrier added 1.34 million 4G users, most of them iPhone users.
FORTUNE -- The day after Apple (AAPL) announced that China Mobile (CHL) would begin selling iPhones to its 776 million customers in mid-January, nobody really knew how many extra sales that would mean. We asked some Apple analysts for their best guess and got answers that ranged from the ridiculous to the absurd. But the average MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 20, 2014 9:28 AM ET
Q: Where in the world does Apple sell its products? A: It's a moving target, headed east.
FORTUNE -- Tim Cook was happy Monday to talk about the nearly 30% increase in Apple's (AAPL) sales to Greater China last quarter -- boosted in part by early shipments of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C to China Unicom (CHU) and China Telecom (CHA) (before the China Mobile (CHL) deal took effect).
What he MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 29, 2014 10:35 AM ET
No endless lines. No unruly mobs of scalpers. But more that a few customers did show up.
FORTUNE -- Despite a surprise appearance of Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook at China Mobile's (CHL) flagship store in Beijing, the long-awaited launch of the iPhone on the world's largest cell phone network got a "weak" and "muted" response, according to the first report in the New York Times -- a story datelined Tokyo that managed MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 17, 2014 9:01 AM ET
Pre-orders for the iPhone at China Mobile are in the "millions," Xi tells the press.
FORTUNE -- After years of long-distance negotiations, the chairmen of Apple (AAPL) and China Mobile (CHL) staged their first joint press conference in Beijing Wednesday.
The meeting came two days before China Mobile was scheduled to begin selling iPhones to its 760 million subscribers.
CNBC reports that ahead of Friday's launch, China Unicom (CHU) and China Telecom (CHA), MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 15, 2014 7:51 AM ET
"It's like a refuge camp!" wrote Jason Ng, who tweeted this photo from Hong Kong.
FORTUNE -- No, these aren't customers lining up for the launch of the iPhone at China Mobile (CHL). That event is scheduled for Jan. 17, a week from now.
These are shoppers at Apple's (AAPL) Hong Kong store drawn by the discounts the company is offering for its second-annual Asian Red Friday sale.
This year, eligible countries include China, Hong Kong, MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 10, 2014 10:02 AM ET
Apple's shares opened up $18.86 (3.4%) on the news.
FORTUNE -- You might think that after six years worth of speculation, Apple (AAPL) analysts would have nothing left to say about the China Mobile (CHL) iPhone distribution deal announced Sunday.
You would be wrong.
Below: Excerpts from the notes we've seen so far. More as they come in.
Charlie Wolf, Needham: Waiting for Godot no more. "Apple announced that it had finally signed a MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 23, 2013 11:45 AM ET
Analyst's estimates of incremental unit sales in China next year range from 5 to 39 million.
FORTUNE -- With six years to think about the question, many Apple (AAPL) analysts have already placed their bets for how many extra iPhones Apple is likely to sell in China now that the deal with China Mobile (CHL) has been announced.
In theory, Apple just increased its addressable market in the world's largest cellphone marketplace by MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 23, 2013 10:14 AM ET
After six years of hard, protracted negotiations, the timing may work well for both parties.
FORTUNE -- We may never know what clinched the iPhone distribution deal that Apple (AAPL) and China Mobile (CHL) announced Sunday at 2 p.m. Cupertino time -- 6 a.m. Monday in Beijing.
The statements of their respective chairman gave nothing away.
China Mobile's Xi Guohua pronounced himself "delighted" to be carrying a device "very much loved by millions MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 22, 2013 7:28 PM ET
With this much smoke, could fire be far behind?
FORTUNE -- Despite denials from China Mobile (CHL) and nothing from Apple (AAPL), iPhone ads -- with live reservation forms -- have turned up on China Mobile websites all over the People's Republic.
See also: China Mobile: No iPhone deal with Apple today.
Thanks to reader Michal Dussault for pulling together the links.Philip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 21, 2013 10:23 AM ET
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