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."
On 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.
A Taiwanese analyst with a pretty good track record expects a glut of new devices this fall.
FORTUNE -- We can't vouch for anything on the attached timeline -- even its provenance -- but according to AppleInsider and MacRumors it comes from KGI Research's Ming-Chi Kuo, a shadowy Apple (AAPL) analyst based in Taiwan with a track record that's better than most.Philip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 10, 2014 2:25 AM ET
Of 7,500 teens polled, 6% already wear a smartwatch, 61% own an iPhone, 40% own an iPad.
FORTUNE -- Before anyone gets too excited about the results of the teen survey Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster released Tuesday, the numbers need to be put in some kind of socioeconomic context.
For one thing, American teenagers tend to be richer -- a lot richer -- than teenagers in the rest of the world. For another, the sample of roughly MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 8, 2014 5:44 PM ET
New evidence in one of the most contentious issues in the Apple v. Samsung II patent trial.
FORTUNE -- AppleInsider's Daniel Eran Dilger and FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller have locked horns in a fierce debate over whether Samsung ought to be held liable for copying Apple's (AAPL) slide-to-unlock patent -- one of five patents at issue in the $2 billion infringement trial that began last week.
Dilger posted his piece on Saturday:
Apple unlocks MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 6, 2014 5:41 AM ET
Android or iOS? That may depend -- more than you know -- on where you live.
FORTUNE -- Do the rich tweet from iPhones and the poor from Androids?
That was Business Insider's takeaway from a graphic of Twitter usage that painted Manhattan island Apple (AAPL) red and Newark, N.J., Google (GOOG) Android green.
Patently Apple's Jack Purcher didn't buy it. And with series of maps like the one above, he made the case Friday that when MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 5, 2014 2:55 AM ET
It defies the laws of economics, writes Needham's Apple analyst. The iPhone, not so much.
FORTUNE -- Apple's (AAPL) computers cost more than its competitors' -- an average of $700, according to Needham's Charlie Wolf. Yet its market share, as indicated by Figure 1, has grown in 10 out of the last 11 years.
iPhones also cost more than the competition. Yet Apple's worldwide smartphone market share peaked at 23.8% in December 2011 and has been bouncing MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 1, 2014 7:17 PM ET
Jury selection for the second "patent trial of the century" starts Monday.
FORTUNE -- A multibillion dollar Apple (AAPL) patent infringement claim against Samsung -- its second in two years -- goes to trial Monday.
In the grand tradition of print journalism -- where your story had to hold up even as it was outpaced by events -- reporters planning to cover the proceedings filed their "walk-ups" over the weekend.
For a subject as arcane as U.S. patent law, a surprisingly wide range MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 31, 2014 11:03 AM ET
Makes Greg Christie, whose name is on the slide-to-unlock patent, available to the Journal.
FORTUNE -- Apple's (AAPL) rules for dealing with reporters are pretty simple: Say absolutely nothing on the record. And if you have to say something, craft a statement that gives nothing away, then repeat it as often as necessary.
So you know something is afoot when the company allows the Wall Street Journal -- whose reporters cover Apple like a blanket and MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 26, 2014 9:46 AM ET
How customers buy and use iPads affects the device's long-term prospects, says CIRP.
FORTUNE -- For Apple (AAPL), the iPhone is a sale that keeps on giving -- at least in the U.S. Once a customer has bought one, he or she is likely to come back for another, usually within two years, when that contract expires.
The iPad is a like a big iPhone in some respects. The two devices share MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 21, 2014 8:22 AM ET
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
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