How many iPhones did Apple sell last quarter?

April 7, 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.

Analyst, affiliationUnits (millions)Date of est.Q1 rank
Jeff Fidacaro, Susquehanna19.803/25/1131
Luke Kittell, Apple Finance Board19.403/29/11NA
Nicolae Mihalache, Traderhood19.083/27/114
Turley Muller, Financial Alchemist18.353/23/112
Patrick Smellie, Apple Finance Board18.303/25/111
Adam Thompson, Apple Finance Board18.303/22/11NA
Robert Paul Leitao, Posts At Eventide18.133/30/117
Toni Sacconaghi, Bernstein Research18.023/2/1130
Mark Beauch, Apple Finance Board17.703/29/11NA
Daniel Tello, Deagol’s AAPL Model17.653/21/116
Horace Dediu, Asymco17.503/27/1111
Tavis McCourt, Morgan Keegan17.503/25/1135
Jeff Fosberg, Apple Finance Board17.403/27/119
Dennis Hildebrand, Apple’s Gold17.363/26/118
Charlie Wolf, Needham17.253/29/1141
Maynard Um, UBS17.203/28/1137
Matthew Hoffman, Cowen & Co.16.901/19/1123
Andy Zaky, Bullish Cross16.753/31/115
Mark Moskowitz, J.P. Morgan16.643/25/1115
Andy Hargreaves, Pacific Crest16.633/30/11NA
Robert Cihra, Caris16.603/25/11NA
William Power, Baird16.511/19/11NA
Steven Fox, CLSA16.303/29/11NA
Brian Marshall, Gleacher & Co.16.243/3/1119
Scott Craig, Merrill Lynch16.243/21/1116
Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray16.193/25/1133
Alexis Cabot, Apple Finance Board16.113/30/113
T. Michael Walkley, Canaccord Genuity16.103/28/1129
Shaw Wu, Sterne Agee16.003/30/1127
Peter Misek, Jeffries16.003/30/11NA
Yair Reiner, Oppenheimer16.003/2/1110
Chris Whitmore, Deutsche Bank16.004/5/1113
Daniel Ernst, Hudson Square16.001/19/1128
Kathryn Huberty, Morgan Stanley16.003/25/1136
Scott Sutherland, Wedbush15.833/3/11NA
Brian White, Ticonderoga15.753/28/1138
Ben Reitzes, Barclays Capital15.604/5/1125
Rajesh Ghai, Think Equity15.593/25/1139
Ralph Schackart, William Blair15.501/19/11NA
William Fearnley, Janney Capital14.301/19/1126
Richard Gardner, Citigroup14.003/25/1118
Hendi Susanto, Gabelli & Co.13.573/25/11NA
Bill Shope, Goldman Sachs13.243/25/1112

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]