Apple (s aapl) could be on track for a much stronger year than most analysts predict in 2012, if a recent Alphawise survey of consumers in the U.S. conducted for financial services firm Morgan Stanley (via Fortune) proves accurate. iPhones and iPads in particular appear to be so in demand that the devices will easily smash records next year.
In a note to clients, Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty shared the results of the Alphawise survey, comparing its results to Morgan Stanley’s existing estimates. Based on the survey, she suggests Apple could ship as many as 36 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2011, considerably higher than the 28 million predicted by Wall Street. Not only that, but she also says that according to survey data, the iPhone should do even better during the first quarter of 2011, selling as many as 41 million units worldwide.
The iPad stands to gain from the desire expressed by 27 percent of respondents to own a tablet in the near term, something that Huberty believes could put Apple on track to sell 81 million iPads globally in 2012, which is much higher than the 52 million Morgan Stanley was predicting independently of the survey. And if Apple wants to boost sales even further, Huberty estimates that a $100 price cut for the iPad could result in about 15 million more sales worldwide.
Of course, these predictions should be taken with a grain of salt. The Alphawise survey upon which they’re based depends on polling customers for their own opinions; stated intentions and plans about buying electronics at a future date don’t always pan out, and may also have been excessively optimistic since the survey took place immediately following the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, before the year-end cash crunch resulting from holiday shopping really makes its effects felt. Still, the numbers do show that Apple devices are well-positioned among consumers, and developments in the new year like the release of an iPad 3 could definitely propel sales to new lofty heights.