iPhone 5 production to hit 59 million this year, says analyst

Apple will produce enough units of the next-generation iPhone this year to meet or beat sales estimates from J.P. Morgan.

Apple

Apple will be able to ramp up enough units of the iPhone 5 to at least satisfy sales estimates, according to J.P. Morgan's Mark Moskowitz.

In a report out today, the analyst said his firm expects Apple to announce the new iPhone in September and then follow up with a volume rollout in October. Despite concerns over supply constraints for the phone's display and casing, J.P. Morgan's Asia Tech team doesn't see any "major limitation or hurdle" standing in the way of a strong year-end push for the iPhone 5.

Even assuming supply issues, Apple is expected to produce 20 million iPhone 5 units in the September quarter, followed by 39 million in the December quarter. And if production ramps up even further, J.P. Morgan sees Apple meeting or beating the current sales estimates of 39.5 million for the final quarter of 2012 and 37.8 million for the first quarter of 2013.

Overall, iPhone 5 units could account for 50 to 60 percent of all iPhone shipments during the last two quarters of 2012, and then scale higher starting next year.

J.P. Morgan also expects the iPhone 5 to be a "revolutionary refresh," with a thinner body, bigger screen, and LTE support. As such, it could offer consumers a promising alternative to the large, heavy 4G smartphones sold by other vendors.

"In our view, the screen stands to fill more of the black sidewalls present in the prior generations," Moskowitz said. "As is widely expected, the new smartphone stands to be 4G LTE capable, and given the prospect of a thinner body, we think that the iPhone 5 can avoid being classified as a 'pocket hog,' which has hurt other 4G LTE offerings in the marketplace."

And what of the iPad Mini?

J.P. Morgan originally pegged a launch date of next year for the smaller tablet.

But now the firm is picking up more signs in the supply chain that the iPad Mini could be launched later ths year. If so, Apple will boost its dominance in the tablet arena, especially in a market without a No. 2 player that could offer the company any real competition.

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