Are you ready for 2012? Tighten your seat belts, here comes the start of chatter about an iPad update and iPhone 5 Part Deux. The 2011 iPhone 5 that morphed into the iPhone 4S, plus a wider range of iPads could set Apple up for either just a good 2013 or a spectacular 2013. Either way, don’t expect a repeat of the monster revenues predicted to end 2011.
Apple watcher Gene Munster, analyst with Piper Jaffray, believes a redesigned iPhone 5 could appear in mid-2012. The new handset could sport near-field communications, as well as potentially the LTE that was left out of the iPhone 4S. Apple could also expand its line of iPads to accomodate both a low-end entry-level model as well as a higher-end pro device.
But Apple’s actions (or inaction) in 2012 will set the stage for 2013 revenue, the analyst argues. Munster splits his 2013 revenue projections into a base model and a bull model. Whatever model comes to fruition, we won’t likely see the 56 percent revenue hike expected for 2011.
Instead, Munster projects Apple revenue in calendar 2013 will grow 14 percent — 28 percent if the “bull case” wins. For the iPhone, his base case projects Apple will sell 142 million handsets resulting in an 18 percent revenue increase. Munster’s more bullish model for 2013 sees the Cupertino, Calif. company selling 162 million iPhones through the year, raising revenue by 35 percent.
As for the iPad, Munster expects Apple will unveil just one updated iPad to replace the current-generation iPad 2. If the company goes further, introducing iPads for different consumer segments, perhaps lowering the price of the original iPad as was done with the iPhone 3GS, Apple’s tablet earnings could increase 30 percent over 2012, selling 77.5 million units. Otherwise, the analyst forecasts Apple will sell 66 million iPads in 2013, representing an 11 percent revenue rise compared to 2012.
Of course, both models could be wrong. Remember, Apple’s calendar year 2011 revenue is expected to jump by 56 percent — without any major hardware redesigns. Instead, much of Apple’s revenue came from expansion of markets and rejiggering its iPhone lineup. Along with making the iPhone 3GS free and dropping the iPhone 4 to $99, Apple added a number of other worldwide markets and has sped up the time between product unveiling and shipments. Those factors are increasingly becoming more important for Apple’s growth than constantly launching new products.