iPhone 5 to restore Apple as smartphone leader, says analyst

Apple surpassed the expectations for the iPhone 5, says a J.P. Morgan analyst, and should put the company on top of the smartphone heap.

Apple's new iPhone 5.
Apple's new iPhone 5. Apple

Apple should regain its spot as the smartphone leader courtesy of the iPhone 5, says J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz.

Unveiled yesterday at Apple's launch event, the new iPhone could surpass the sales of rival handsets such as Samsung's Galaxy S3 for a variety of reasons, according to the analyst.

The new phone is thinner, lighter, and faster than its predecessor, Moskowitz said in an investors note out today. It also throws in a 4-inch screen and support for 4G LTE. But the iPhone 5's design and battery should help it avoid certain problems faced by other large LTE smartphones.

"The longer form factor provides more real estate, helping preserve the battery performance," Moskowitz wrote. "Apple commented that the new device can provide up to 8 hours of talk time on 3G or 8 hours of data on LTE. We think that these specs augur well for Apple's competitive edge in the growing LTE market, where many of the smartphones so far have been hurt by the 'pocket hog' or 'battery hog' criticism."

Apple is also aiming to ramp up the new phone's global rollout.

The phone will debut in 9 countries on September 21, followed by 22 more on September 28. By December, the phone will be available in 100 different countries across 240 different carriers.

Having enough supply to meet demand is always a challenge. But Moskowitz believes the fast rollout is a sign that Apple can avoid delays in receiving the phone's new in-cell displays and the 28-nanometer chips used for the Qualcomm LTE modem. Slow production of those two components had been cited as a concern by some analysts in the months prior to the iPhone 5's debut yesterday.

"Following the product announcement, we are increasingly confident that Apple is on the brink of a 12-18 month product cycle with the iPhone 5, helping sustain its above-peer growth potential," the analyst added.

Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty sees the phone's new display, form factor, and LTE support as "significant" and also likely to drive a "strong product cycle." Huberty estimates iPhone 5 shipments of 180 million for the rest of 2012 and as many as 266 million for 2013.

 

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