Apple's Next iPhone: What We Think We Know

Updated from Sept. 2 to include additional information from Morgan Stanley on mobile payments in the eleventh paragraph.

SAN FRANCISCO (TheStreet) -- Apple's (AAPL) surging iPhone sales are a big reason why the Cupertino, Calif.-based company had better-than-expected fiscal-third-quarter earnings and the next iPhone model may be even more important to the future of Apple, particularly with the introduction of a larger phone and mobile payments.

It's widely expected that Apple's next iPhone, which may be called the iPhone 6 or the iPhone Air, will officially go on sale later this month. Last week, Apple sent out press invites to an event on Sept. 9, saying, "We wish we could say more." 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.

Read More: How Apple's iWatch Can Help Wearables

There has been renewed investor interest in Apple since its fiscal second-quarter, when it shipped 43.7 million iPhones. That's continued throughout the summer and following its fiscal third quarter as the launch of the next iPhone becomes closer to reality. Since April 23, shares of Apple have gained 29.5%, handily outpacing both the NASDAQ and the S&P 500, which have returned 10.3% and 6.5% over the same time frame, respectively.

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