Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, in a note to investors, has laid out his predictions for Apple's calendar year 2012. In it he expects a redesigned iPhone 5 to be released in midsummer and only one version of the iPad 3, despite other rumors that Apple could release an expanded lineup of iPad models.
Munster's note, reported by AppleInsider, suggests that Apple's "base case" scenario will see it selling 142 million iPhone units through 2013, which represents an 18 percent increase in revenue from the previous year. In a "bull case" scenario Apple could sell as many as 162 million units, bumping the revenue increase to 35 percent.
With Munster predicting only a single iPad model for 2012, his total revenue prediction for Apple remains conservative at 14 percent. However, many rumors have been circulating that Apple could release any number of iPad models, expanding its lineup considerably.
Should Apple release a 7-inch iPad or an iPad 2S, Munster's predictions could prove to be extremely low.
So what should we make of this? First of all, this is merely a prediction. It is entirely possible that Munster has an inside track on some production plans, but more than likely it's just his best, educated guess.
It remains to be seen whether Apple's delay on releasing the iPhone 4S until fall was a calculated shift in production scheduling or simply a product management decision that resulted in a later release date. I would put my money on the former and not expect an update to the iPhone lineup until next fall.
As for the iPad rumors, I'm with Munster (which is fun to say out loud by the way). While Apple could very well release an iPad 2S alongside an iPad 3, I think it is much more likely to remain on its current trajectory of a single model upgrade. It seems as though the Retina Display will certainly make its debut on the iPad this spring, but I doubt Apple is looking to have multiple models or sizes to choose from.
While I do not profess to be a financial analyst by any stretch, Apple has a habit of crushing earnings estimates (especially conservative ones), so if you've been considering putting some money on Apple, now's as good a time as any I would think.
Should Apple wait until fall to release the iPhone 5 or bring it out next summer? Should Apple have more than one model of iPad? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!