Sales of iPhones jump, giving Apple last laugh, say analysts

Last year's gloomy predictions about sales of flagship handset are about to be proved wrong

LAST UPDATED AT 14:42 ON Wed 22 Jan 2014

ALL the talk last year was that sales of Apple's iPhone would continue to fall, but it looks like the doom-mongers were wrong. The New York Times reports that the consensus among 44 analysts is that Apple sold an estimated 55.3 million iPhones during the final quarter of 2013 - up ten per cent on the previous year. 

The actual sales figures won't be released until  after the markets close next Monday but if the analysts -  27 professionals and 17 amateurs - are correct then Apple will have proved its critics wrong. During the final quarter of 2012 the company sold 47.8 million iPhones so the 2013 figures would represent a healthy increase and a riposte to the gadget's detractors.

Last year there was a groundswell of opinion that forecast Apple iPhone sales would continue to drop. Asked why, the sceptics said the design of the company's new iPhone 5s and 5c wasn't different enough from previous models while, according to the NYT, others "predicted declines because of the iPhone's screen size, saying it was too small compared with all those XL and XXL Android smartphones".

Though the increase in sales will also lift Apple's spirits, it's not yet clear how this will translate into profits because last year they didn't grow at a fast enough rate to please Wall Street.  But the NYT says that now Apple is finally selling its flagship smartphone on China Mobile, the world's largest cellular operator, "sales of the iPhone are expected to grow".

That was certainly the belief expressed by Tim Cook,  the company's chief executive, who last week told reporters in Beijing that the deal struck with China Mobile (that took six years to negotiate) is "a very, very important geography for Apple…what this partnership does is, it allow us to take the iPhone to a different level in China." · 

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.