“There’s this view on Wall Street that there are significant supply constraints even now and there are only 5 or 6 million units that they can produce by the end of the month,” the analyst said, adding a number above 6 million would put these concerns to rest.
Misek is even more optimistic. He expects Apple to sell 8 million units after the first weekend, including pre-orders. AT&T, Verizon Communications, and Sprint Nextel are the three U.S. carriers that will offer the iPhone 5.
Gaining subscribers in both China and Japan would also be important catalysts for the stock. In China, Apple may be able to secure a deal with China Mobile, China’s biggest mobile operator, in the first quarter, Misek said. But really it comes down to the Chinese government, since officials may want to balance out subscribers between the three big Chinese mobile carriers — China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom. “That’s really the challenge Apple is facing,” the analyst noted.
Misek said that investors also shouldn’t underestimate Japan’s NTT DoCoMo, which is bleeding subscribers because they don’t have an iPhone. They have big 4G LTEnetwork and are bigger than Verizon , which could provide a major subscriber boost for the iPhone, he said.
With such a big quarter coming, pullbacks may be hard to come by. “What I expect is going to happen is the Street will probably get ahead of its self in the November timeframe,” Misek said. “We might get a bit of consolidation in the stock, but that might be it for the year.”
—By CNBC.com’s Justin Menza
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Jeffries makes a market in Apple securities.