Apple is poised to sell as many as 27 million iPhone smartphones in the third quarter and 40 million units in the fourth quarter following the launch of its next-generation iPhone handset. These recent estimates from Macquarie Securities Group would be sequential records for Apple, and would likely further secure the Cupertino-based company’s position as the world’s No. 1 smartphone vendor. Apple’s fifth-generation smartphone, referred to as the iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S for the time being, is expected to launch in early to mid-September. At that time, Apple will likely continue to sell the iPhone 4 at the customary $99 price point. In an effort to attack an entirely new segment of the market, however, Apple may continue to offer its iPhone 3GS smartphone as a low-cost third option that could be free on contract or as little as $350 for prepaid customers. Such a move has the potential to dramatically impact sales of entry-level Android handsets and other low-end smartphones, and it could see Apple’s record June-quarter shipments of 20.34 million iPhones doubled in the fourth quarter according to Macquarie. The firm also believes that the cost of Android smartphones will likely be driven up due to royalties Android vendors are forced to pay as a result of judgements on patent complaints. Macquarie says this cost increase will have a notable positive impact on Apple’s low-end iPhone handset sales moving forward.
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