iPhone 5 Release Could Push Apple To 170 Million Units Sold Annually; Half Of Sales ?Already In The Bag,? Analyst Says

 @LisaEadicicco
on July 17 2012 4:02 PM

Once you go Apple, you never go back.

Apparently that's the attitude the majority of iPhone owners take, according to new data from an analyst at Piper Jaffray.

Gene Munster of the investment firm conducted a survey of 400 consumers, finding that 65 percent of Apple smartphone owners also expect their next phone to be an iPhone. Only 19 percent of those questioned expect their next mobile phone to be Android, Apple's strongest competitor in the market. The results also indicated that 6.5 percent answered with not a smartphone, 6 percent said I don't know, and 2.5 percent voted that they plan to purchase a Research in Motion BlackBerry.

According to Forbes, Munster mentioned that 52 percent of the survey group consisted of current iPhone owners. The same survey found that 51 percent of the consumers who plan to buy an iPhone as their next smartphone are waiting for the next-generation iPhone 5.

By 2015, the analyst predicts, Apple can boost their share of the smartphone market from the 20 percent range to the 30 percent range. The iPhone now accounts for more than 50 percent of Apple's revenue, Munster says, making the company heavily reliant on its smartphone product.

The survey also indicated that the average iPhone user values the device at $313, while Android users consider their smartphones to be worth $220. The price tag that owners put on their iPhones is more than $100 more than the subsidized price of the current generation iPhone 4S, as Apple Insider acknowledges. Contrastingly, the majority of BlackBerry owners voted that their handsets are worth $219.

Interestingly, both Android and BlackBerry platforms were voted at the same price, which was below the average cost determined in the survey at $258.

Based on these data, Munster believes that even if carriers were to decrease their subsidies, Apple consumers would be willing to pay at least some of difference in the added cost. The Piper Jaffray analyst added that 50 percent of iPhone unit sales that are forecast for the next-generation deice are already in the bag.

Apple will be reporting its annual quarterly earnings next Tuesday, and according to the report Munster believes that the company will report sales of between 28 million and 29 million iPhones for the month of June. Next year, the analyst predicts that the iPhone 5 could boost sales to 170 million units in the fiscal year for 2013.

Fan excitement and hype for Apple's next iPhone has been mounting, with production and release date rumors running amuck across the web. Last week it was reported that a Chinese e-commerce site had already begun accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 5, and a rumor quickly followed spreading an alleged Aug. 7 release date for the highly anticipated device.

Heightening the buzz, The Wall Street Journal confirmed on Tuesday that the iPhone 5 is currently being manufactured by Asian component makers, and the device will have a thinner screen than previous models.

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