Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster on Monday said that he expects Apple to release the fabled "iPhone" sometime in the next four to six months, with the new product adding 6-10% to the companyis CY07 (calendar year 2007; Appleis 2007 fiscal year begins Oct. 1) EPS (earnings per share) if it ships in January. He cited such evidence as the 1999 registration of the iphone.org domain and the January 2006 trademarking of the phrase "Mobile Me" as reasons to believe that Apple is gearing up to introduce such a device.
The analyst added: "Also, given music enabled handsets are being introduced by potential handset maker competitors (ex: LG Chocolate), Apple will likely need to get in the game fairly soon to avoid missing the early adopters."
Assuming a January introduction, Mr. Munster sees Apple selling 8-12 million iPhones next year, with the most likely buyers "those who have previously owned a higher ASP (average sales price) HDD (hard disk drive) iPod. We estimate that by the end of the Dec-06 quarter, Apple will have shipped 34.5m HDD iPods at an average price of $323. Assuming 1.2 iPods per owner and assuming ~33% of these higher ASP iPod buyers buy an iPhone in CY07, we estimate approximately 10m iPhones could be sold."
The analyst retained his "Outperform" rating on Appleis stock, with a $99 price target. At 2:51 PM EST on Monday, the companyis shares were selling for $72.64, up 0.17% for the day.