Sales of the Apple iPhone 5 could reach 170 million units by the end of 2013, say industry watchers.
According to projections by Asymco analyst Horace Dediu, sales of Apple's iPhone 5 and 4S will combine to reach 200 million by the end of next year - 170 million of those sales will be from the iPhone 5 alone.
Dediu said that his projections were based on a statement Apple's senior vice president of marketing Phil Schiller made during his testimony in the Apple v. Samsung patent infringement case.
"Each new generation [of the iPhone] sold approximately equal to all previous generations combined," Schiller said while taking the stand in court.
If Schiller's testimony holds true than Dediu says iPhone 5 sales will have to reach 263 million by the end of its shelf life. Dediu doesn't quite expect that goal met within the average two-year shelf life of the iPhone 5, predicted it would get close.
"If the iPhone 5 remains in production for at least as long as the 3GS then it might cross 200 million. There is also the question of whether the "mix" will begin to favour the older generations more. If that's the case, we might see version 5 meet its target," Dediu wrote in his findings.
"Underlying all this is the question of a change in strategy toward more penetration. That might allow for sustaining the 100 per cent historic growth rate. If so then Apple will easily sell 250 million iPhone 5s."
Dediu said that variables like life expectancy and market strategy play a big role in proving Schiller's hypothesis right.
His statistics point out that the 3GS's shelf-life ran from September 2009 to December 2011, which would have given it a year longer life than the average iPhone.
The iPhone 5's potential sales will also depend on how much of a difference the product is from its predecessors.
Rumours persist that the latest iPhone will release with a 4in screen which would prove larger than any previous models. 9to5 Mac recently received more proof for a taller screen when it was discovered that iOS 6 is scalable to a taller display.
By tweaking the iOS 6 simulator 9to5 Mac discovered that Apple's latest mobile OS can give users 5 rows of app icons on their home screen. The discovery lends more credence to rumours that the iPhone will get taller when it possibly drops this September.
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