Can Apple Achieve These Stellar Sales Numbers?

With Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) finally providing some statistics from the record-breaking pre-orders it received for the iPhone 5, analysts are revising their sales estimates for the new device. Sterne Agee’s Shaw Wu is one of those who have had to raise their estimates from previous predictions, with the analyst now pegging Apple to sell as many as 46.5 million iPhone units this holiday shopping season. Wu raised his December quarter forecast for the iPhone by 500,000 units, telling investors in a note on Monday that he saw the product as a “significant update” that “will drive a powerful product cycle.”

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Wu added that those who have called Apple’s latest handset disappointing are underestimating the iPhone 5, simply because the company has made the changes it needed to capture customers who may have otherwise purchased a Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android or Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone with a larger screen or 4G LTE connectivity.

The analyst has also predicted Apple to sell a total of 27 million iPhones in the ongoing quarter, with sales being helped by the newest version. If December quarter sales do reach the 46.5 million mark predicted by Wu, it will be a new record for Apple in the holiday season. Its previous best came last year when it sold 37 million iPhone units.

Apple announced on Monday that a total of 2 million iPhone 5 pre-orders were placed in the first 24 hours of the device going on sale, making it the best debut ever for the company.

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