Here Come Apple's Huge iPhone Sales Numbers

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Apple will deliver its quarterly earnings report for the end of 2012 on Wednesday, and with it should come the end of all that talk about the iPhone's fade — or so say some analysts who continue to believe in Apple's reigning mobile domination. Ever since major media organizations first mentioned the possibility of shrinking iPhone love, the skeptics have insisted that the reported cuts in demand don't actually have all that much to do with the phone's popularity. The moment of truth, however, will come tomorrow when Apple reveals how much money it made in the fourth quarter — and how many phones it sold around the holidays. And despite a falling stock price and the increase in Android popularity, the predictors believe Apple will prove the rumormongers wrong with massive sales figures.

You need look no further than Verizon's earnings report this morning to see an emerging trend. Although Verizon reported a bigger loss than usual, it didn't have much to do with the iPhone. In fact, a closer look shows that iPhone activations are as healthy as ever. The company sold 6.2 million iPhones, half of which were iPhone 5s, an increase from a year ago, as this chart via Horace Dediu at Asymco shows:

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Extrapolating Verizon's sales to other carriers means huge numbers for Apple, one analyst told Business Insider's Jay Yarow. Looking at past numbers, Verizon has made up 11 percent of all iPhone sales. If that holds true this time around, Apple will have sold something like 56 million smartphones, according to Topeka Capital analyst Brian White. That would come to over 20 million more phones than a year earlier. Even some the less enthusiastic folks on Wall Street suspect Apple sold somewhere in the 48 million range, Yarow reports, and that's a substantial increase from the previous year. 

Even if Apple reports huge iPhone sales, however, a picture of iPhone buzz on the relative decline is likely to linger. The company doesn't break down its numbers by device type. The secrecy alone might cause Apple's stock to drop, because a company that's more difficult to read gets investors less excited, as noted in The Wall Street Journal. But Apple could have sold older models of its phones, too — substantial discounts from carriers on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S might have led to these preparations for a sales bonanza. Only half of Verizon's iPhone sales, for example, came from the iPhone 5. The revenue and profits on those older versions are a lot smaller

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.