Sprint: iPhone 5 Watch
Much-maligned Sprint's ship may have -- or will have -- finally come in, if the company can add Apple's iPhone to its smartphone offerings, as speculated, this autumn. REUTERS

I cried all the way to the bank.

- Pianist, Performer Liberace, on how he responded to negative show biz industry reviews, despite sold-out performances.

Talk about comeback or turnaround stories: much-maligned Sprint's day may have arrived -- particularly if the company adds Apple's iPhone 5 this fall, in a much chattered-about Oct. 7 possible move.

For the new, potentially iPhone 5-featuring Sprint, just call it the revenge of the much-maligned, the underdog making a comeback, the all-but-forgotten getting a second chance -- all the clichés apply if the iPhone 5 joins the Sprint family. And the reason is obvious enough: the iPhone 5 would bolster several key metrics.

iPhone 5 Would Aid Top, Bottom Lines

First, undoubtedly, the iPhone 5 would lead to subscriber growth, with less attrition. Sprint boasted roughly 52.1 million wireless subscribers as of the second quarter.

Second, most likely Sprint's revenue, which totaled $32.3 billion in 2009 and $32.6 billion in 2010, with the iPhone 5 would rise more than the 2.9 percent to 3.2 percent revenue growth many analysts are projecting for the company in 2011. The two percent revenue growth for 2012 also would look a tad light.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expects Sprint to post 2011 revenue of $33.47 billion and 2012 revenue of $34.23 billion.

Sprint's shares fell 20 cents, to $3.54 on Friday -- a day when the Dow lost 253 points to close at 11,240.

Third, and equally significant, while the iPhone wouldn't eliminate Sprint's 67-cent loss for 2011 that Reuters estimates, it's likely to reduce the shortfall considerably.

iPhone 5: Cache Factor

The iPhone 5 will further shore-up Sprint's brand image. Hurt over the previous decade by a cell phone network that underperformed, to say the least, that reputation has stuck to Sprint, when, in reality Sprint's network has been improving over the past three years. So has its customer service, and its decent line of smartphones and related devices will only be enhanced if the iPhone 5 is successfully recruited -- something that would continue Sprint's operational momentum.

Finally, there's the cachet factor. Even if Sprint secures the iPhone 5, it can't tell institutional investors -- the big guns who help to determine share price values -- that it's going to match the operational and earnings performance of AT&T and Verizon in a year -- but it can say the company is getting to the point where it's a contender, again and that may encourage some investors to get ahead of the game and start loading up on shares.