Obviously, Apple's iPhone is doing very very well. Apple is now officially the biggest smartphone maker in the world coming in at 19% (WSJ). Apple basically leapfrogged the former leader, Nokia which still managed to ship 15.7%.
So when one analyst estimated that Apple may reach 30 million iPhones for this Christmas quarter, one has wonder if it's possible.
In the latest quarter, Apple managed to sell more than twenty million iPhones without a new model on the market. It's like that there was a lot of pinned up demand for the new iPhone.
New iPhone and Christmas - a very potent combination. On top of that, Apple will have Verizon Wireless' 90 million+ customers that could be waiting to get their hands on one. Also, Apple might bring the iPhone to a third carrier in the US, Sprint. Maybe even T-Mobile USA.
On top of that, with China being such an important market to Apple now, and Apple could bring the iPhone to Greater China sooner rather than later with future release. If Apple does release the new iPhone this September, there is plenty of time for Apple to also let some loose in China.
The only issue I see here that might prevent Apple from getting to 30 million iPhones this year is if its suppliers cannot ramp up fast enough. Seriously, consider this. 30 million iPhones in 92 or so days. The build-up will have to be quite significant to start for the US market to satisfy the demand and still have millions left for China.
Also consider this. Thirty million this fourth quarter but that is thinking small. Apple's 19% of the smartphone market is about 106 million iPhones. That's kinda smallish compared to the whole handset market. With each passing quarter, more and more people are letting go of their regular handset and moving onto a smartphone.
Apple has already indicated it will address the low-end of the mobile market. So the question isn't if but when Apple addresses it. With around 1.5 billion handsets sold this year and let's assume that one day everyone uses only smartphones, 30 million iPhones is going to look pretty ridiculous.
If Apple manages to maintain between 25-30% of the total mobile market, that's 375 to 450 million iPhones. Of course, that also means that if Android does somehow survive the Great Patent Wars of 2011-2012, Google's Open Handset Alliance will take 750 million handsets.
What? I like numbers...
Note: Just in case you're wondering, Samsung has also leaped past Nokia, coming in at 16.2% of the smartphone market.
Another Note: Nokia is bidding its time until its Mango smartphones hit the market later this year. Even wondering through the forest aimlessly, Nokia has more than 15% of the smartphone market. You don't want to come them out.