iPhone launch: 2-3 million, says analyst

The release of the iPhone 4 next weekend is shaping up as one for the record books

Topping all estimates we've seen so far, Susquehanna Financial's Jeff Fidacaro issued a note to clients predicting that next weekend could be a "2 mln - 3 mln iPhone event" -- two to three times bigger than the launches of Apple's (aapl) iPhone 3G and 3GS in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

He cites both the size of Tuesday's pre-order (600,000 units) and what he expects to be strong upgrade demand, especially from owners of the iPhone 3G.

Consequently, he's raising his numbers across the board:

  • Q3 iPhone sales: to 9.4 million units from 7.8 million
  • 2010 iPhone sales: to 46.7 million from 36.8 million
  • Apple price target: to $335 from $325

Fidacaro is one of those analysts who hasn't given up hope for a Verizon iPhone before the end of the year -- a rumor given fresh life Thursday by yet another DigiTimes report. He estimates that given the pent-up demand among Verizon's (vz) 93 million subscribers, such a phone would raise Apple's EPS $1.80 to $3.00 a year.

Apple hit a new intraday record of $275.00, up $3.13 (1.15%) in mid-morning trading Friday.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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