Based on channel checks in November, the company has found "very strong sales" of the iPhone 5 at AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint, as well as in international markets. Given the checks, as well as Apple's strong plans for an iPhone 5 ramp to 240 carriers in 100 countries by year's end, including China, Canaccord has slightly increased its estimates for iPhone sales in the December quarter.
Canaccord now expects Apple to sell 47.5 million iPhones in the current quarter, up from its prior forecast for 45 million. However, it lowered its estimate for the March quarter slightly -- now expecting 46 million instead of 47.5 million -- as the earlier China launch should pull sales into December.
"Bolstered by the iPhone 5, we believe Apple's industry-leading software ecosystem and integrated hardware experience will lead to a strong multi-year product cycle," the company said.
As with previous launches, Apple experienced problems with its supply chain and had a tough time meeting demand. Customers ordering online had to wait several weeks before getting the device, and many stores were sold out. However, there has been a big improvement in ship times, and the iPhone 5 has more recently been in stock in stores.
In addition, Apple has been expanding the international reach of its device, with more than 50 countries scheduled to get the iPhone 5 in the coming weeks. The company today said the iPhone 5 will be available in South Korea on Friday and will arrive in China on December 14.