Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is underestimated, according to some. But to be underestimated might mean finding out what the estimate of the largest tech brand in the world is right now. While apparently some writers, bloggers and tech “experts” are lamenting that the new iPhone 5 isn’t taking smartphones to a new level but is mainly a “minor” update to the iPhone 4S, the marketing machine that is Apple has been running full steam for weeks, and that has generated a lot of buzz among loyal Apple followers, consumers and those who maybe were looking to buy a new smartphone.
So when your company is perhaps the most recognizable in the world, how can one be “underestimated”? Hard to say from this perspective, but it would be tough to underestimate the furor over the iPhone 5, which sold out 2 million pre-orders in the first 24 hours of availability, which doubled the previous record set by the 4S last fall. And because of that initial frenzy, an analyst at Sterne Agee updated his sales estimate for the iPhone 5 to 46.5 million units by the end of the year, which would shatter the old record of 37 million iPhones sold last year.
The estimate included a best guess of 27 million units sold by the end of this current quarter (Sept. 30), though the iPhone 5 will only be available in five countries this week and 22 more next week – meaning that potentially a majority of those sales will happen in the final two weeks of the quarter, as some analysts have seen very slow sales numbers from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) in the last few weeks building toward the iPhone 5 launch. The analyst, however, said he is tempering his estimate because of information from those in the supply chain that may face some constraints on supply and thus, delays in production and delivery if the demand holds up to early returns.
When it comes to investors in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock, though, it’s not so much what reviewers or media say about the iPhone, it’s what come out in the sales numbers that matter – and those numbers may be huge for hedge-fund managers like Julian Robertson of Tiger Management.