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Could a forecast of 263 million Apple iPhone 5 sales be too ambitious?

As the Apple v Samsung trial rumbles on, the senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple, Phil Schiller, let it slip that sales of the forthcoming iPhone 5 will be based on the performance of previous models.

According to analyst firm Asymco, this would mean that sales of the sixth-generation iPhone, referred to as the iPhone 5, should reach more than 263 million. This figure was reached by estimating the iPhone sales history of each generation before working out the totals of those models.

Although the figures show that each successive generation of iPhone has outpaced the sales of those that have come before it, Asymco argues that there may be some doubt as to whether the iPhone 5 can surpass the 200 million mark.

iPhone 5: Will it buck the sales trend?

Figures from Asymco’s analysis show that sales figures for the iPhone 3G were nearly four-fold compared to those for the original iPhone, while the iPhone 3GS sold 1.6 times more units in comparison to iPhone 3G.

According to Asymco, sales of the iPhone 4 have nearly reached the cumulative total of iPhone, the 3G and the 3GS.

However, the data also shows that sales of the iPhone 4S have just inched above those of the iPhone 4, and it is only halfway towards its targets of beating the total sales of the four models that have come before it.

Asymco have suggested that over 263 million units of the latest iPhone incarnation will probably be sold as a result of their conclusions. According to the report:

“Taking that forecast forward and assuming a 60 per cent growth rate, I currently have about 200 million iPhones over the next twelve months. If 85 per cent of those are the next generation, that yields about 170 million iPhone 5s through mid 2013,”

The analysts go on to argue that if the iPhone 5 goes on to sell after the seventh-generation model debuts, it is more than likely to reach its forecasted figures.

A recent survey highlighted that demand for the iPhone 5 is already higher than that recorded for the iPhone 4S. In 2011, 10% of the respondents said that they were very likely and 11.5% said that they were somewhat likely to purchase the iPhone 4S.

These figures are 14% and 17% respectively for the iPhone 5, demonstrating that the model is set to go from strength to strength upon launch.

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