Apple didn’t release the iPhone 4S until closer to the end of 2011, and thanks to pent up demand for the company’s latest combo iPod and smartphone, sales are set to shoot even higher than they have been, according to UBS analyst Maynard Um. He expects U.S. cell service providers will activate some 11.7 million new iPhones this holiday season, and AT&T may be the big winner this season since it also offers the older iPhone 3GS for free on contract.
Mr. Um expects iPhone sales for the last three months of 2011 to climb from 1 million post-paid adds for the big carriers for the same period last year up to 1.3 million this year.
Since the iPhone 4S includes chips designed for better performance on AT&T’s HSPA wireless data network, customers can expect better performance compared to Version and Sprint’s comparatively slower CDMA data network, and that will help draw more customers to the original iPhone partner, too.
Mr. Um also said last week that despite a report from the Commercial Times that Apple has cut back on iPhone parts orders consumer demand is still high.
“We believe the Commercial Times report is without merit and believe iPhone 4S demand is not an issue,” Mr. Um said. “Our recent checks indicate that iPhone 4S is still selling out and experiencing 1-2 week waits for online orders with demand also driven by accelerated carrier/country launches.”
He added that current parts from component suppliers orders don’t support the notion that iPhone sales are dropping off.
Mr. Um is maintaining his “Buy” rating and US$510 target price for Apple’s stock. Apple is currently trading at $385, up 0.38 (0.10%).