How many iPods did Apple sell last quarter?


Philip Elmer-DeWitt is a senior editor at Fortune.

In this category, the pros are more bullish than the amateurs

iPod unit sales, despite seasonal spikes, have been drifting down since Christmas 2008, when they peaked at 22.7 million for the quarter (Apple's fiscal Q1 2009).

That quarter also represented the low point in iPod average selling price (ASP) per unit, $148. That's because Apple's (aapl) business model was shifting from selling dedicated music players to selling more expensive hand-held computers, like the iPhone and the iPod touch, that also play music. Apple reports iPhone sales separately, but you can trace the growth of iPod touch sales in the chart above, and in the iPod's rising ASP, which hit $176 in fiscal Q1 2011.

All this is by way of explaining an anomaly that surfaced when we polled 43 analysts -- professionals and amateurs -- for their iPod unit sales estimates for fiscal Q2 2011, the quarter that ended two weeks ago.

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In every other category -- from top to bottom line -- the amateurs' estimates are higher than the professionals'. But when it comes to iPod unit sales, the pros come in, on average, 1.66% higher. For once, the high estimate (11.32 million iPods) was offered by a professional, Gabelli's Hendi Susanto, and the low (8.5 million) by an amateur, Luke Kittell from The Mac Observer's Apple Finance Board.

It seems the amateurs, as a group, are betting that Apple will have sold fewer music players but more hand-held computers.

Below: The estimates for Q2, along with each analyst's ranking in the Q1 2011 earnings smackdown. We'll find out who was closest to the mark this quarter when Apple reports its earnings on April 20.

Analyst, affiliationiPodsDateQ1 rank
Hendi Susanto, Gabelli & Co.11.323/25/11NA
Alexis Cabot, Apple Finance Board10.783/30/113
T. Michael Walkley, Canaccord Genuity10.703/28/1129
Steven Fox, CLSA10.503/29/11NA
Scott Craig, Merrill Lynch10.343/21/1116
William Power, Baird10.341/19/1134
Patrick Smellie, Apple Finance Board10.343/25/111
William Fearnley, Janney Capital10.301/19/1126
Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray10.203/25/1133
Adam Thompson, Apple Finance Board10.143/22/11NA
Daniel Tello, Deagol's AAPL Model10.133/21/116
Chris Whitmore, Deutsche Bank10.124/5/1113
Bill Shope, Goldman Sachs10.103/25/1112
Ralph Schackart, William Blair10.091/19/11NA
Matthew Hoffman, Cowen & Co.10.071/19/1123
Robert Paul Leitao, Posts At Eventide10.003/30/117
Horace Dediu, Asymco10.003/27/1111
Shaw Wu, Sterne Agee10.003/30/1127
Maynard Um, UBS10.003/28/1137
Richard Gardner, Citigroup10.003/25/1118
Dennis Hildebrand, Apple's Gold9.983/26/118
Robert Cihra, Caris9.963/25/11NA
Rajesh Ghai, Think Equity9.923/25/1139
Andy Hargreaves, Pacific Crest9.893/30/11NA
Jeff Fosberg, Apple Finance Board9.803/27/119
Andy Zaky, Bullish Cross9.803/31/115
Tavis McCourt, Morgan Keegan9.803/25/1135
Toni Sacconaghi, Bernstein Research9.803/2/1130
Brian Marshall, Gleacher & Co.9.723/3/1119
Yair Reiner, Oppenheimer9.723/2/1110
Scott Sutherland, Wedbush9.723/3/11NA
Brian White, Ticonderoga9.723/28/1138
Chas McKenna, Apple Finance Board9.703/27/11NA
Peter Misek, Jeffries9.703/30/11NA
Kathryn Huberty, Morgan Stanley9.653/25/1136
Mark Moskowitz, J.P. Morgan9.643/25/1115
Turley Muller, Financial Alchemist9.603/23/112
Jeff Fidacaro, Susquehanna9.583/25/1131
Mark Beauch, Apple Finance Board9.503/29/1121
Daniel Ernst, Hudson Square9.501/19/1128
Nicolae Mihalache, Traderhood9.253/27/114
Charlie Wolf, Needham9.203/29/1141
Luke Kittell, Apple Finance Board8.503/29/11NA

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