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Here's Why the Next 3 Months Will Be Huge for Apple

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The rest of 2012 is poised to be huge for Apple (AAPL - Get Report) and it's all due to one product: the iPhone 5.

The iPad Mini may be a hit product for the holiday season, but Credit Suisse analyst Kulbinder Garcha said he believes the iPhone 5 is what will really drive earnings in the all-important holiday quarter.

"With strong iPhone 5 shipments we expect upside to our GM [gross margin] estimates of 40.2%," Garcha wrote in a note. He rated Apple shares outperform with a $750 price target, and expects Apple to earn $44.43 a share in fiscal 2012, and $56.44 in fiscal year 2013.

Apple has never publicly stated how much it makes per iPhone, but there have been several attempts to crack the secret code.

The cost of the new iPhone 5 reportedly sets Apple back between $207 and $238, according to IHS, depending on whether the model is the 16 GB, the 32 GB, or the 64 GB version. At $649 for the 16 GB model, Apple is generating $442 per phone in profit, excluding outside expenses.

Apple noted that in the first weekend it was available 5 million iPhone 5s were sold, breaking the record set by the iPhone 4S.

Apple reports fourth-quarter earnings Oct. 25, and Garcha is looking for 24.8 million iPhones to be sold in the quarter. But then his estimate zooms for the first quarter to 49.5 million units, due in large part to the iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 was available in nine different countries on Sept 21, another 29 by end of month and 100 countries on 240 carriers by year-end.

Even though the iPhone is the material driver of revenue for Apple, the iPad is becoming increasingly important, especially as it cannibalizes Mac sales to some extent. Garcha believes Apple will sell 16 million iPads in the fourth quarter, and as many as 21.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2013, with the iPad Mini accounting for as many as 10 million units.

Apple is reportedly launching the iPad Mini as it seeks to stave off competition in the lower-end of the tablet market from companies such as Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) and Google (GOOG - Get Report), though the product has not been confirmed.
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