Apple has been in the news lately for selling its latest iPhones – the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c – to China Mobile, which is the largest cell phone carrier on the planet.
It’s a big step for Apple, who has traditionally struggled in the Chinese market, even as thousands of iPhones are shipped unofficially to relatives in the country from outside its borders.
Still, as Apple preps to release its official sales numbers next week, analysts are taking turns trying to pin down just how many phones the company shipped, excluding the China Mobile figures – and it’s a doozy. Depending on who you talk to, analysts are guessing between 50 and 60 million iPhones have been shipped.
The numbers come from sources along fulfillment routes, tracking down sales figures within regions, and a little bit of extrapolation, math, and just plain guesswork.
Numbers like this push Apple neck and neck again with Samsung’s latest models, though the Korean company will likely have shipped more total phones for the year, given its large array of product offerings.
It would mean that Apple was up roughly 16% over a year prior, which isn’t too surprising given how many customers reportedly delayed purchasing new phones until the iPhone 5s arrived.
We’ll be back next week to see just how accurate these numbers are.