Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is selling more iPhones than expected, according to Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty. Huberty used the “Alphawise Smartphone Tracker” to determine how many smartphones were sold. According to the report, Apple is expected to announce 42 million iPhones shipped for the March quarter.
This counters expectations based on supply chain sources. Based on supply chain data, Huberty expects Apple to have shipped 38 million iPhones, which would be flat on a year-to-year basis. In the March quarter of last year, Apple sold 37.4 million iPhones.
The Alphawise tracker monitors web search analysis to determine an estimate. Alphawise has been reliable in the past. Last quarter, Alphawise predicted 50.5 million iPhones and Apple announced 51 million in actual sales.
So what is the deal with the supply chain predictions? It is possible that the supply chain worked in overdrive during the holidays to create extra product, but then scaled back in the March quarter. This causes an unreliable read on the sales.
Another couple of reasons why more iPhones are selling is because of policy changes and sales. Many U.S. carriers changed their policies this quarter to generate additional consumer demand, including T-Mobile’s “Uncarrier” plans. Best Buy and Walmart are also running sales for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. Below is a breakdown of the Alphawise Smartphone Tracker vs. actual shipments.