The pronounced drop-off in sales during the third-quarter suggests that consumers were, in fact, waiting for the new iPhone 5, Moorhead said.
Several months before its launch, rumors about the new iPhone features, which include LTE connectivity and a bigger screen, began to leak. That spurred more consumers to wait for Apple's next iPhone launch, Moorhead said.
"Most people knew exactly what they were getting," Moorhead said. "If you know anything about technology, you are not going to buy anything until the iPhone 5 is ready...If you are waiting for the iPhone 5 you are not going to buy a Samsung S3."
Moorhead said he expectsApple to sell about 50 million iPhones in the fourth-quarter.
While the iPhone 5 has only been available for pre-order less than 24 hours, the technology behemoth certainly seems to be well on its way to hit that target.
Last year, Apple's iPhone 4S sold out of its pre-order launch day stock in 22 hours, but the iPhone 5 sold out of its launch day stock in just about an hour.
Brian White of Topeka Capital said in a note to clients that his firm expects for Apple to sell at least 1.3 million to 1.5 million during the pre-order phase, but noted that this outlook is conservative.
While global iPhone sales are peaking quicker than ever, White argues the trend could be misleading.
Apple is rolling out the iPhone 5 quicker than any other previous iPhone, with 100 countries and 240 carriers getting the new phone before the end of the year. Yet there's still the chance Apple could add a major carrier like China Mobile — the largest carrier in the world — and sales would continue to grow over several quarters.
"If they bring these guys on it's like bringing in multiple countries," he said. "It's the biggest in the world. It's the one that matters the most."
But White added, that if that is not the case, the iPhone sales are likely to peak just a few weeks earlier than last year.