How many iPhones did Apple sell last quarter?

Updated: Apr 07, 2011 4:05 PM UTC

Analysts' estimates range from nearly 20 million to less than 13.25 million

Apple's second fiscal quarter, which ended March 26, was a tricky one for analysts trying to figure out how many iPhones the company sold.

Sales of cell phones and other electronic gadgets usually fall off after the holidays. But on February 10, smack in the middle of the quarter, Apple (aapl) launched the iPhone for Verizon (vz), which should have boosted sales.

The health of Apple's quarterly earnings -- and its stock price -- will depend heavily on how those two factors balanced out. The iPhone is the company's biggest money maker; in Q1 2011, it represented nearly 40% of total revenue.

The 43 analysts we polled -- professionals and amateurs -- were split on the question of whether iPhone sales rose or fell in Q2. Twenty five believe Apple sold more; 18 think it sold less. Their estimates ranged from a high of 19.8 million from Susquehanna's Jeff Fidacaro to a low of 13.24 million from Goldman Sachs' Bill Shope.

We've used the analysts' average estimate, 16.64 million, in the chart above. That would represent a 90% increase from the 8.75 million Apple sold in Q2 2010.

Below: The Q2 2011 iPhone unit sales estimates we've gathered so far. We've included each analyst's ranking from last quarter's earnings smackdown. The lower the number, the more accurate the analyst's Q1 estimates.

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We'll find out who was closest to the mark after the closing bell on April 20.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]