Apple (AAPL) is now less than a month away from unveiling its sixth-generation iPhone, and analysts are tripping over themselves with excitement. That excitement is spilling over to investors of course, as shares of Apple stock hit an all-time high on Friday thanks to “iPhone 5” hype and rumors surrounding the “iPad mini” and Apple’s purported upcoming HDTV. Just how big is the next-generation iPhone going to be? According to FBR Capital analyst Craig Berger — and just about every other Apple analyst on the planet — really, really big.
“[The iPhone 5] has the potential to generate the most promising device upgrade cycle in Apple’s history,” Berger wrote in a recent research note. “We calculate that the device represents an opportunity to generate earnings of $50 per share throughout its life cycle.”
In terms of end-user sales, Berger wasn’t shy in dishing out a huge estimate. “We estimate that Apple should sell 250 million iPhone 5 units at an average ASP of $575, generating nearly $144 billion in revenue, $77 billion in gross profit, and $47 billion in net income,” the analyst wrote. He sees huge hype, big volume from smartphone buyers coming off contracts and a massive China Mobile launch in early 2013 as potential catalysts.
Apple’s next iPhone will be unveiled during a press conference on September 12th. The device is expected to become available for preorder that same day, and a report suggests it will go on sale the following week on September 21st. Rumored specs include a 4-inch display, 4G LTE, NFC and a new design that is just 7.6 millimeters thin.