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Apple's First-Quarter Earnings Preview: Dissecting the Estimates

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This week, it's time to look at the numbers.

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Now let's attack the "tougher" segments.

1. iPhones: I have to go by the scarce information available -- initial sales after the iPhone 5 release in September (5MM units), the Chinese sales (2MM), the Brazilian sales (1.5MM with TIM alone); the US carriers and iPhone market shares; the US carriers and overall iOS market share; and the overall iOS market share.

I have to extrapolate sales by carrier -- for instance, AT&T (NYSE:T) guiding to sell 9.2MM total phones for Q4. But could the company be sandbagging its guidance? Could make that 10MM?

Add Verizon (NYSE:VZ), Sprint (NYSE:S), the iOS market share…

Then it's time to look at historical trends of sales by world region and to scan the Web for headlines on the launch of the iPhone 5 in Brazil, China, Indonesia, etc. (the fun part is to read about international carriers, like SingTel, TIM, KDDI, Telstra, Orange, and many more).

It is quite difficult to wrap one's head around all the numbers, but all news checks seem to point to a blowout iPhone 5 release coupled with steady iPhone 4S sales.

All in all, I believe we could see 35MM units in the US and EU, and Japan and South Korea had close to 1MM combined on release, China had 2MM units three days into the launch, while Brazil had 2.5MM units a week into the launch. Extrapolating sales from mid-December (the week of December 14-21 at about 7MM units for larger markets, so I will expand it to 11MM by year-end), and adding smaller countries (Australia, Chile, etc.), I am sticking to my figure of 51,800,000.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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