The iPhone 5 will be top dog in the 2013 smartphone arena, says J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz.
The new iPhone should debut this September, according to the analyst, with a rampup in production throughout the fourth quarter. Offering support for 4G LTE and other upgrades, the iPhone 5 will make a big splash this year, ensuring its dominance into 2013.
"We think that a combination of revolutionary hardware enhancements and software-driven services (i.e., Passbook, Maps, FaceTime over cellular) stand to reaffirm the iPhone as the leading smartphone in 2013," Moskowitz wrote in an investors note out today.
In the meantime, Apple may face a couple of bumps in the road.
J.P. Morgan has slightly trimmed its calendar-year second-quarter sales and earnings estimates for Apple based on "macroeconomic challenges," meaning tough times are expected for hardware vendors.
The firm has also lowered its projections for iPhone sales for the third quarter. But a slowdown in iPhone sales isn't unusual in the quarter before a new model is released.
Based on anticipated demand for the iPhone 5, J.P. Morgan has increased its fourth-quarter sales estimates for the new phone. And Apple may need to rely more on the iPhone if J.P. Morgan's lower sales expectations for the iPad and Mac prove accurate.
"Overall, our expectation of stronger iPhone unit sales and the related mix benefits partially counters our lower growth assumptions for the iPad and Mac businesses," Moskowitz added.
The iPhone. Despite several doubts about that initial phone, Apple sold a million of them in the first 74 days. The company has since managed to sell more than 218 million iPhones, .