Apple’s iPhone 4S marked the biggest device launch in the company’s history. A number of industry watchers and news sites were expecting a completely redesigned handset, but despite the new model’s striking resemblance to the iPhone 4, it sold more than 4 million units in its debut weekend alone. According to Goldman Sachs analyst Bill Shope, Apple’s next smartphone launch will be even bigger. Read on for more.
“The iPhone 5 launch is likely to be one of the most important smartphone product cycles we’ve seen to date,” Shope wrote in a note to investors on Wednesday. Shope raised his price target on shares of Apple stock to $750 from $700, and said earlier concerns over the possibility that carriers might dial back iPhone subsidies are off base.
“We believe this concern is overblown,” Shope wrote. “While some carriers will attempt to reduce the subsidy burden and tighten upgrade policies, many more will likely hold steady to capture share from the latter camp. In the end, all carriers are attempting to migrate their installed bases from feature phones to data-centric smartphones, and amid this transition, we think the risk of losing market share in the iPhone sub-segment is likely to be too great to ignore.”
The analyst continued, “On a shorter-term basis, we believe the building rhetoric for lower subsidies and tighter upgrade policies is likely to fade to a whimper, as vendors prepare their marketing strategies for the iPhone 5 refresh later this year.”
BGR reported this past December that Apple will launch a redesigned iPhone in the fall with a unibody case and a new antenna system. A separate report on Wednesday claimed that Apple will utilize Liquidmetal alloys in the next-generation iPhone’s case.