Chip Analyst Predicts the ‘iPhone 5’ Could Sell 250 Million Units Over Its Life Cycle

Rumoured iPhone 5 backplate appearance

Could Apple’s next iPhone be the biggest hit of all time? In his coverage of the chip sector, FBR Capital analyst Craig Berger notes the upcoming ‘iPhone 5’ could sell over 250 million units over its life cycle and will be “one of the largest single product opportunities in Apple’s history.”

He notes carrier upgrades are determined by product rather than eligibility (which we saw happen in Canada when the iPhone 4 was announced). Other factors leading to his large number include the possibility of China Mobile getting the new iPhone in 2013.

“Together, we expect the two positive catalysts will help drive one of the largest and balanced product cycles in Apple’s history,”

Berger believes chip makers Broadcom, Avago, Skyworks, Triquint, Cirrus, TI and ON Semiconductor will be a part of the new iPhone just like they were with the iPhone 4S, with the biggest winners being Qualcomm and Fairchild Semiconductor.

Analyst predictions are one things, but numbers are another. According to iPhone sales numbers noted by Matt Richman:

In 2009, Apple sold more iPhones than it did in 2007 and 2008 combined. In 2010, Apple sold more iPhones than it did in 2007, 2008, and 2009 combined. Last year, Apple sold 93.1 million iPhones, slightly more than it did in in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 combined. The pattern continued.

Apple executive Phil Schiller, while on the stand at Apple versus Samsung in court noted what Apple believed was the metric for success of each iPhone model released:

Each new generation sold approximately equal to all previous generations combined.

Those numbers above seem to back up Schiller’s claims. As every other iPhone release now appears to be a complete redesign, those are the phones people deem worthy of upgrading to. With the upcoming iPhone 5, people who have resisted upgrading for years (think about all of your friends that still sport an iPhone 3GS) are ripe to jump off the deep end into ‘new iPhone’ goodness.

You couple in a brand new iPhone and the release of iOS 6, and the lust factor continues to grow. For Apple to sell 250 million units of the next iPhone over its life cycle? It doesn’t seem impossible considering iPhone sales are growing faster than earth’s population.

Are you going to jump on the ‘iPhone 5’? Or stay loyal to your BlackBerry ‘because of BBM?’

[via Forbes]