The numbers are in. Apple says it has sold 6.9 million of the newer 3G iPhone. When we add the last four quarters of sales of the original iPhone (which totalled 6.1 million, but 1.4 million of those were in the last two quarters of Apple Fiscal Year 2007) we get a total of 11.6 million iPhones sold in the past 12 months.
Good result, Apple. It fits well with our original forecast, and also fits with the assumptions we made right after the iPhone was announced, that Apple could only reach this level of sales with some severe cuts to the profitability of the iPhone. Obviously by cutting the price down by two thirds - Apple did resort to severe price cuts and thus cuts to its profitablity to reach this.
I noticed the early press were reporting that Apple says it has beat the "market leader RIM/Blackberry" this past quarter. That is very misleading Apple propaganda, however. RIM and the Blackberry are not the direct smartphone rival to the iPhone (except perhaps in the USA, which represents only 8% of the world's mobile phone market). First, for the past full year, RIM sold over 20 million Blackberries - so to celebrate their one new model, and its one good quarter of sales is certainly a misleading statement, when over the past year RIM has sold about twice as many smarthphones as Apple.
But the real rival to the iPhone is the Nokia N-Series (and E-Series) smartphones. They sold about 80 milloin units this past quarter. So Apple did not sell better than the market leader, in fact Nokia smartphones outsold Apple by a ratio of 12 to 1.. Sorry Apple, lets tell the truth next time, ok?
But yes, good result by the novice handset maker. Selling 11.6 million mobile phones in one year puts them around the ranking of about 10th to 12th largest maker in the world. Out of all mobile phones sold this year, it is of course less than one percent. But out of all smartphones, Apple has now about 6% market share, and that is a very impressive debut for the new smartphone maker. Lets see Apple now grow this strongly for the next year.
For those who want my more considered views, anticipating this level of sales over a week ago, you might want to read my longer blog putting the 10 million annual sales level in context.