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NEW YORK (
Apple's(AAPL - Get Report)big product launch in San Francisco this week, expected to mark the debut of the iPhone 5, could spell good news for a host of companies way beyond the boundaries of the tech giant's campus in Cupertino, Calif.
From Apple itself to the company's telecom partners and component makers, there's a whole host of firms set for an iPhone 5 boost.
Apple, obviously, is the biggest beneficiary of a new iPhone, and massive pent-up demand looks set to drive record sales of the device during the coming quarters.
"We anticipate that iPhone 5 will drive a significant product cycle and put a lot of pressure on competitors," noted Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee, in a recent note. "The previous update from iPhone 4 to iPhone 4S was arguably a relatively minor one with Siri being the biggest new feature. Despite that, a record number of iPhones were sold."
Wu said he expects Apple to sell a massive 45 million iPhones during the December quarter, well above its previous record of 37 million iPhones in the same quarter last year. "We believe this could turn out conservative, but believe a gating factor could be availability of new in-cell touchscreens," added Wu.
There has been plenty of talk about
in-cell touchscreens recently, with the thinner, lighter panel technology seen as a way for Apple to reduce the weight of its products. Last month, for example, Apple was
awarded a patent for "liquid-crystal display (LCD) touch screens that integrate the touch sensing elements with the display circuitry."
Overall, the probable new iPhone looks set to be an overwhelmingly positive catalyst for Apple's performance.
"Our assumption is that the iPhone 5 will be revolutionary in terms of form factor and software, driving a major upgrade cycle over the next 12 to 18 months," explained JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz, in a note. Boosted by a new iPhone and the widely anticipated launch of an iPad Mini sometime soon, the equity research firm recently hiked Apple's December 2013 price target to $770 from $675. JP Morgan also raised it fiscal 2013 iPhone and iPad estimates from 147.4 million and 79.1 million to 167.9 million and 91.2 million, respectively.
"We think that the new iPhone 5 will not be hampered by chip and display-related supply chain shortages as previously anticipated," noted Moskowitz.
Apple, of course, is also opting for an earlier launch of its latest iPhone hardware, compared to last year's iPhone 4S announcement on Oct. 4. The additional weeks of sales, coupled with
feverish anticipation from consumers, should significantly boost the gadget maker's top and bottom lines during the coming months.
"Because of the sooner timing, we believe guidance for the September quarter ($34 billion in revenue and $7.65 in EPS), as well as consensus estimates, could turn out conservative," wrote Sterne Agee's Wu.
Analysts surveyed by
Yahoo! Finance expect Apple to report revenue of $34.9 billion and earnings of $8.42 a share.
Key features of the new iPhone are expected to include a larger screen and 4G LTE capabilities, although Wu also expects advanced software features such as maps with turn-by-turn navigation and native integration with social networks including
Facebook(FB - Get Report) and
TheStreet will be live-blogging Apple's product launch on Wednesday: