Jefferies analysts believe Apple has strong sales and bustling months ahead. After spending a weekend with the iPhone 5, analyst Peter Misek also believes Apple has created a smartphone that leaves the fast-selling Samsung Galaxy S III looking rather ridiculous.
"Comparing the [iPhone 5] to the Samsung Galaxy S3 is unfair as the latter seems like a phone made out of a hunk of plastic, comparatively," wrote Misek, the lead author on a Sept. 25 Jefferies research note.
Misek added that while the iPhone 5's screen height and size "feel natural" against the head, the Galaxy S III "feels like a waffle to your ear, in our view."
Additionally, while he was able to operate the iPhone 5 with one hand, doing the same with the Samsung "was difficult."
While the phone "flies" on a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network connection and with Apple's new A6 processor, and Siri is now honestly useful, the device isn't without its hiccups. There's Apple's Maps app, which he found "really awful" and incapable of locating his address, and then there's the matter of Apple again leaving out near-field communication (NFC) technology.
Despite noting that NFC allows for some fun and impressive features on the Galaxy S3, uses for the technology, he said, "remain limited."
Samsung wasn't the only Apple competitor the firm had bad news for. Misek noted that a family member and 10-year Research In Motion BlackBerry user made the switch to an iPhone 5 on Friday. What was "jarring," he wrote, was the ease of the transition.
This person found the apps, in number and quality, to be "fantastic," his or her monthly bill lowered by more than $10, the build quality of the iPhone to be "far superior" to that of the BlackBerry and the screen brightness impressive.
It took two hours to adjust to the iPhone 5's keyboard, and the only other bump in the transition was the loss of BBM, which Misek said this person would be willing to pay $2 to $5 per month to use—backing up Jefferies' repeated advice to RIM to open up the BBM app to iOS and Android.
"And just like that," Misek wrote, "RIM lost another user. Our suspicion is that the iPhone 5 will cause [many] holdouts to switch."
Apple began selling the iPhone 5 Sept. 21, and within an hour had depleted supplies. In the first three days the device was on sale, Apple sold more than 5 million units, breaking the records set by the iPhone 4S.
Jefferies now expects Apple to sell 26 million iPhones during the third calendar quarter, up from its earlier estimate of 23 million, assuming sales of 8 million to 10 million iPhone 5 handsets.
Further, the investment firm expects Apple to begin selling an iPad Mini in late October. Because of this, it has dialed back its iPad 2 and 3 forecasts—to 6 million and 12 million units, respectively, but expects the newest and smallest iPad to add 8 million units to Apple's fourth-quarter tablet tally, which it now expects will reach 26 million units, up from the earlier-projected 20.7 million.
After the holidays, Apple will keep revenue rising, added the firm, with the release of a long-rumored iTV, which it expects Apple to sell 10 million of them in 2013.
Offering Apple investors still more good news, Jefferies believes some iPhone 5 component bottlenecks have been alleviated now that Sharp, which had struggled to achieve desired yields, is back on track and Sony has been added to Apple's list of suppliers.
"We continue to believe that the iPhone 5 will be the best-selling consumer electronics gadget in history," wrote Misek. "Despite a few minor hiccups, we believe the iPhone 5 feels like tomorrow's phone today."