Apple is estimated to ship 250 million units of the as-yet unannounced iPhone 5, a new market research report has revealed.
Horace Dedieu, founder and auteur of Helsinki-based Asymco, forecasts some 200 million iPhones will be sold over the next 12 months, of which an impressive 170 million units could be the sixth-generation iPhone.
Dedieu said: “Bearing in mind that the [iPhone] 4S is likely to remain in production at least one more year means it has a potential to come close to the target of 162 million.
“This leaves us with the question of how many 'iPhone 5's will sell. As it stands today, the cumulative total would have to be greater than 263 million units (including assumptions for the current quarter).
He added: “Taking that forecast forward and assuming a 60 per cent growth rate, I currently have about 200 million iPhones over the next twelve months.
“If 85 per cent of those are the next generation, that yields about 170 million 'iPhone 5's through mid-2013.
“This is well short of a target of 265 million. But that’s only over the next four quarters. If the iPhone “5″ remains in production for at least as long as the 3GS then it might cross 200 million.”
However, there’s a strong chance the iPhone 5 will break the 250 million barrier. That’s if Apple opts for a change in its strategy to target market penetration over its current ‘skimming’ option, where it charges a premium rate for iPhones to maximise revenue rather than unit sales.
Apple is expected to lift the lid on the iPhone 5 on September 12th, with a release date rumoured on September 21st.
Features mooted to be on board include a larger, four-inch display, a taller and slimmer design, NFC support and an improved eight-megapixel camera.