Apple will likely bring out its next iPhone in late June, projects Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster.
Assuming that forecast comes true, Munster believes Apple will sell 4 million units of the new phone before the month and the quarter are over. That estimate compares with the 5 million iPhone 5 handsets sold during that model’s opening weekend.
The analyst expects Apple to sell 30 million iPhones over the June quarter, a 15 percent increase over the same quarter a year ago.
What will the iPhone 5S offer over its predecessor?
Like most analysts and Apple watchers, Munster expects the phone to include a faster processor, better camera, and new software features tied into the hardware. He thinks there’s an “outside chance” the 5S may come with an NFC (near-field communications) chip to open the door for mobile payments.
Apple’s purchase last year of security technology provider AuthenTec could lead to a biometric security feature, aka fingerprint reader, for the 5S. But the analyst thinks such a feature is more likely to debut with the iPhone 6.
A follow-up act from Apple will come in the September quarter when the analyst expects to see the launch of the much-rumored low-cost iPhone. Targeted for emerging markets, a budget iPhone would help Apple tap into a market for low-cost smartphones that would be valued at around $135 billion in total. Munster pegs the unlocked price of a low-cost iPhone at $250.
Finally, Apple could announce its new television sometime in the December quarter, according to Munster, ultimately followed by the announcement of a smartwatch.
The analyst doesn’t think either product would generate substantial revenue. But they would show that Apple is still capable of cooking up innovative products, something that would benefit the company and its stock price.
“We believe investors have wondered if Apple can put out new and innovating products without Steve Jobs,” Munster said in an investors note released today. “We believe that ultimately, if Apple is viewed as a company that can innovate, the multiple will improve.”