Jefferies in one of its latest research report clarifies a key way this past weekend varied from prior Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone launches: sell-through did not match sell-in. Generally new iPhones have been completely sold out during the launch weekend. This time while the iPhone 5s is sold out, the iPhone 5c is not. Analysts at Jefferies est that of the 9M+ number, 4M were iPhone 5s and 5M were iPhone 5c with half of those going into inventory. While 6.5M sell-through is still solid (vs. St 6M and ~5M last year), it is not a huge amount of upside.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPhone Sales: Sell-Through vs. Sell-In

Apple revenue

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) recognizes revenue on sales into the channel, sales from retail stores, and online sales that have been delivered. Retail sales are ~12% of total. Sales through the channel (primarily through carriers) is the vast majority of revenues.

iPhone sale

According to the report, whatever was in the stores was generally sold out. While there was likely some in-transit inventory (Analysts estimate <10% of the weekend sales) They think that the 5M+ sales number for the iPhone 5 and the 4M+ for the iPhone 4s were equivalent to sell-through.

Analysts believe there are 2.5M of 5c units sitting on shelves in the launch countries. They think a more apples-to-apples comparison would be comparing their estimate of 6.5M to consensus expectations of ~6M and last year’s 5M+. While 6.5M is still better than expectations and likely reflects larger initial Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s iPhone 5s stockpile; China and NTT DoCoMo; and iPhone 4s upgraders, it is not the enormous upside that the headlines make it appear.

Jefferies’ analysts still see upside to CQ3 consensus estimates but risk to CQ4 consensus estimates.

Shares of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) are down $2.11 in pre-market trading to $486.99.