JP Morgan Expects iPhone 5 & iPhone 4-Plus in October

| Apple Stock Watch

The iPhone Crystal Ball
JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz told clients on Monday that Apple is poised to release two new iPhone models, a slimmer model Apple will call the iPhone 5 and an improved version of the iPhone 4 called iPhone 4-plus. The analyst expects the iPhone 5 to be a “world phone” device with GSM and CDMA support, while the iPhone 4-plus will target the midrange of the market, as well as China.

iPhone 4 & 5

“We now expect two new iPhones,” the analyst wrote, according to Forbes. “Our research indicates that there will be an iPhone 5 based on a lighter, thinner form factor that is GSM + CDMA capable, i.e., a “world-mode” smartphone. A second device (4-plus) based on the current iPhone 4 but with some minor improvements could target the midrange and focus on China. As for the current iPhone 4, we expect it to subsume 3GS as the lower-end offering.”

The rumors leading up to Apple’s expected iPhone refresh have been many and varied. Just last week, analyst Ming-chi Kuo said that he has found no evidence of a new design for an iPhone 5 in Apple’s supply chain. The rumors and leaks have almost alternated on this topic, with first one describing a new iPhone 5 design, while the next predicts an updated iPhone 4 form-factor with new processors and other innards.

JP Morgan’s Mark Moskowitz, however, believes that an updated iPhone 4 model will be particularly aimed at China, with new carriers in that market, while the iPhone 5 will replace the iPhone at the high end.

“Our research indicates Apple could release an iPhone 4-plus, targeting one or more China network carriers,” Mr. Moskowitz wrote. “While we think a China-focused iPhone could be in the works, it is not likely to be exclusive to the region.”

Carriers

Mr. Moskowitz said that Apple’s June record iPhone sales were due in part to the addition of 42 new carriers around the world, including the addition of Verizon in the U.S. He said that Apple wasn’t likely to add as many new carriers in future quarters, but said that some specific upcoming carriers could bring significant numbers of new customers.

China Mobile, China Telecom, Sprint, and T-Mobile in the U.S. collectively have almost 800 million customers and would represent significant increases in Apple’s available (and supported) customer pools.

“We believe that investors should start to prepare for more positive surprises related to the quarterly run rate of iPhones in the near- to mid-term,” he wrote. “In summary, we would expect such a big bang if Apple introduces two new iPhones this fall and penetrates the untapped U.S. and China carriers.”

iPad

He also noted that he doesn’t expect another iPad refresh in 2011, pointing out that, “The other tablet entrants have stumbled.” He added that, “Offerings by MMI and RIM have been the latest disappointments,” and said that he was unimpressed with an upcoming Sony tablet.

“Sony’s tablet lacks the refined, sleek feel of the iPad,” he wrote. “We felt that the sloping or bezel-like back of the Sony tablet feels more like petrified, folded-over pages than a 21st century consumer electronics device.”

JP Morgan maintained its $525 price target for AAPL and a “Buy” rating.

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