Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s next iPhone launch could be a new record high, according to one analyst. He’s predicting that the company will sell 31 million iPhones during the current quarter, with 10 million of those being new iPhone 5S or 5C models.


Big expectations for Apple

All Things D reports on the latest projections from Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves. Like everyone else, he believes Tuesday’s event will bring us two new iPhones and that the low cost iPhone 5C will basically be the iPhone 5 with a different case. He thinks that the new iPhone models, plus the possibility for incremental iPhone distribution will not only push Apple’s unit volume higher but also stabilize its gross margin and accelerate its operating profit over the next few quarters.

He is predicting that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will sell 31 million iPhones during its fourth fiscal quarter, and he believes that at least 10 million of them will be the new models. That’s quite a few because there aren’t too many selling days left in the current quarter. But Hargreaves thinks the number of new iPhones sold this month could even go as high as 13 million. Either number would be a new record high for Apple’s iPhone launches.

Will Apple hit the record?

Tuesday’s unveiling of the new models likely signals that the company will make them available for purchase on Sept. 20. That leaves Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) with just nine days to meet the analyst’s projection. If the company sells 10 million new models in nine days, it would exceed last year’s nine-day total of 7 million.

For the December quarter, the analyst believes the company will ship 50 million iPhones. However, he thinks that number will go even higher if Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) does announce the distribution deal with NTT DoCoMo that the company was said yesterday to have signed. And it could go even higher if the company signs a deal with China Mobile, the biggest mobile carrier in the world’s biggest market.

China Mobile alone has 700 million subscribers, while NTT DoCoMo has 60 million. According to Hargreaves’ estimates, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will ship 15 million more iPhones annually if the company signed deal with both carriers. He estimates that 5 million of them will go to DoCoMo subscribers and the other 10 million to China Mobile subscribers. He said those numbers would be enough to add $3 per share in earnings next year.