NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Apple (AAPL) iPhone demand could "surprise to the upside" in the back half of the year, according to UBS, as sales get a boost from the China Mobile (CHL) deal and following the release of the iPhone 6. Speculation of a new version of its popular iPhone comes to market is heating up, with one analyst expecting it late in the fiscal year.
UBS analyst Steven Milunovich expects the latest version, that the industry is dubbing the iPhone 6, to be released in August or September (Apple's fiscal fourth quarter), rather than June, fueling sales for the end of the year. Apple iPhone demand in the second half of the year could also surprise to the upside once the China Mobile deal starts to resonate with customers, he wrote.
"Our iPhone model is up just 10 million this year at 172 million vs. 162 million last year. China Mobile, which appears to be off to a slow start at about 1 million iPhones in February, could be sufficient to account for the entire change," he wrote in a note to clients. "The second calendar half may surprise to the upside if either China Mobile or the iPhone 6 gain traction."
"We continue to believe that two models -- a 4.7" and 5.5" with in-cell displays -- are in the works," the analyst penned in the note. "While the 4.7" seems certain, the 5.5" may or may not launch at the same time and could be of the same resolution (lower ppi), which would help app developers. iPhone 6 units are expected to exceed 5s sales year-over-year when it ships."