Should You Panic Over Apple's iPhone Trend?

The iPad may be rising, but the iPhone still sets the tone for Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) results.

The smartphone accounted for $17.1 billion of Cupertino's $36 billion revenue haul this quarter, or 47.5% of total sales. That's up from 46% a year ago, so it's not like the phone's relevance is fading.

You'll see a lot of squiggly charts today that present iPhone sales in a pretty dim light. There's this ungainly bump over the holidays last year, and the last two quarters haven't even been close to that level.

But that's hardly reason to panic, though -- it's just normal seasonality. I'm not the world's biggest Apple fan, but this quarter was yet another chapter in Cupertino's long success story.

Here's the same iPhone sales data presented in a different light. The golden hill shows total iPhone sales over the trailing 12 months, with the supposedly scary quarterly graph shaded in for perspective:

Source: Data taken from over 20 of Apple's quarterly reports.

When you smooth out the numbers this way to remove most of the seasonal effect, the chart doesn't look so scary anymore -- unless you work for Samsung, Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) , or Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) , of course, in which case the chart looks like an approaching battalion of tanks.

Samsung is fighting back with record-level smartphone sales of its own while the Finns and Canadians should be on the endangered animals list because Apple is killing them. Former CrackBerry addicts are now embarrassed to own a RIM handset and the Lumia series of Windows phones isn't lighting up Nokia's sales like it was supposed to. But the iPhone marches on.

So you can still measure Apple by its iPhone sales, and the company still comes out smelling like grandma's freshly baked pie. There's still plenty of ground left to cover in the smartphone market, and Apple remains a leader in the space.

The introduction of the iPhone 5 is an event Apple investors looked forward to for months. The stakes are high and the opportunity is huge, so to help investors understand this epic Apple event, we've just released an exclusive update dedicated to the iPhone 5 launch. By picking up a copy of our premium research report on Apple, you'll learn everything you need to know about the launch, and receive ongoing guidance as key news hits. Claim your copy today by clicking here now.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Check out Anders' bio and holdings, or follow him on Twitter and Google+. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (14)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 10:01 AM, champ9010 wrote:

    Please share a comparison graph with the Samsung sales.

    Thanks,

    Craig

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 10:44 AM, applefan1 wrote:

    I talked to a local T-Mobile sales rep about a week after the iPhone 5 started shipping and he said that S III sales dropped off when the iPhone 5 got announced. Samsung, then announced a 4 inch S III, but I don't know if that is selling well. I think when they calculate the S III sales and the iPhone 5 sales during the lifespan of the product, I think the iPhone 5 is going to out sell the S III (both models) by a factor of at least 2 or 3 times more units, maybe even higher. Samsung does sell more models of different phones (smart and non-smart) so that's where Samsung is going. But Samsung isn't really advancing their hardware as fast as Apple is..

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 1:07 PM, orth88 wrote:

    Anders also said on Thursday that Apple sold 33 million iphones last quarter. i would like to hear his response to the actual 26.9 million sold.....

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 5:04 PM, acebravo wrote:

    Not entirely true, Rim and Nok still have a lot of buyer base in the rest of the real world. With the sentiment over the US court ruling in favor of Apple (ahem american company), expect rise to the Samsung and others outside the US.

    remember, court ruling in favor of Apple was ONLY in the US.

  • Report this Comment On October 27, 2012, at 7:50 PM, robmxa wrote:

    No need to panic till initial sales figures for Nokia's 920 are in.

  • Report this Comment On October 28, 2012, at 8:43 AM, Arthur1111 wrote:

    Last week I made a comment that Apple had lost $75 Billion in a month time. Since then Apple lost additional $18Billion, a total loss of $93 billion in little over a month. So, why the #1 company in the world loses so much money in a month time? the answer is simple: "It is fake money". Apple is overvalued. Almost every "analyst" cheers" for it. But, the reality is that mobile technology requires continous innovation and Apple has not done much in the last 2 years. For now, Apple makes tons of cash on its name, next year will be very challenging especially when Blackberry 10 goes on the market in the Q1.

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