updated 01:28 pm EDT, Mon August 20, 2012
Could add $50 to Apple stock value
As many as 250 million units could be sold over the course of the next iPhone's lifecycle, according to a forecast by FBR Capital Markets' Craig Berger. The analyst also suggests that sales could push earnings per share up another $50, even though Apple stock is already valued at over $650. Apple suppliers are expected to win big by proxy, including firms like Qualcomm and Fairchild Semiconductor.
Berger does suggest that the upgrade status of subscribers could hurt Apple's US marketshare, but says the problem should be offset by people caring more about product launches than eligibility. At present the analyst estimates that carrier policies could reduce eligible upgrades by 3.9 percent in 2013. US carriers typically charge full price for upgrading a phone before a contract is finished, or early termination fees if a person decides to jump ship to another company.
If China Mobile gains access to the iPhone in early 2013, Berger says it could add 13 million units during the first half of the year. While most Chinese can't afford an iPhone, Mobile is the world's largest carrier with hundreds of millions of subscribers, of which just a fraction need to pay in to make the iPhone a success. The only official Chinese iPhone carriers at present are China Unicom and China Telecom.
Unusually, Berger also comments that he expects the new iPhone to "help the [wireless] industry migrate to a better balance between content provider and end-user revenue sources to support continued investment."