This story has been updated from 8:00 am ET to include a comment from Cantor Fitzgerald analyst in the eighth paragraph.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Apple's (AAPL) surging iPhone sales are a big reason why the Cupertino, Calif.-based company had better-than-expected fiscal-second quarter earnings and the next iPhone model may be even more important to the future of Apple, particularly with the introduction of iOS 8 and Continuity.
It's largely expected that Apple's next iPhone, which may be called the iPhone 6 or the iPhone Air, will be launched in the early fall, perhaps as soon as the second week of September. Intel (INTC), which partners with Apple on its Mac computers, is set to hold its Intel Developer Forum from Sept. 9 to Sept. 11, and historically, Intel has planned its developer forum within a few days of the new iPhone launch.
There's been speculation that Apple would move away from naming the next iPhone using a number, and instead, refer to it as the iPhone Air, following the successful launch of the iPad Air.
As Apple's revenue growth has slowed from the explosive days of the 2000s following the release of the iPod and the iPhone, it's increasingly looking to new products and ways to enhance existing products to boost growth.
In a research note earlier this year, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek believes the next iPhone cycle is going to be a "significant product cycle," with the next version of the iPhone being much larger than the current 4-inch screen on the iPhone 5s and 5c. In the past, Apple CEO Timothy D. Cook has said that the company would not rule out making a larger iPhone, but that it was not willing to make the trade off for a larger screen until the resolution quality was there.
Following its better-than-expected second quarter, in which Apple shipped 47.3 million iPhones, there's been renewed interest in the company, as well as the stock, reaching a fever pitch. Since April 23, shares of Apple have gained 20.9%, handily outpacing both the NASDAQ and the S&P 500, which have returned 4.9% and 4.4% over the same time frame, respectively.