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Get ready for that 'super-cycle.'

By Don Reisinger
January 6, 2017

Apple’s next iPhone could deliver record-breaking smartphone sales for the company, one analyst says.

In a note to investors this week, Nomura analyst Jeffrey Kvaal writes that Apple’s next iPhone, which he calls the iPhone 8, will help Apple’s smartphones tally record-breaking sales of 86 million units during Apple’s fiscal first quarter (calendar fourth quarter 2017). Street consensus calls for 80 million iPhone units sold during the period, according to the analyst. He adds that the iPhone 8’s release and offering on store shelves later this year could create a “super-cycle” in which people around the globe are clamoring for an update.

Rumors have been swirling for the last several months about Apple’s AAPL plans for the next iPhone. Those rumors suggest Apple could release three iPhone versions. The first two, which are rumored to be called the iPhone 7s and iPhone 7s Plus, would represent minor upgrades over the the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus Apple released last year. Those updates would include power improvements and a slightly modified design, according to the rumors.

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Meanwhile, Apple is also reportedly working on a major update, which some have been calling the iPhone 8, that would deliver an all-new design featuring an all-glass enclosure. In addition, the handset could offer a curved screen similar to Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge, and might even support wire-free battery charging.

Apple has not commented on its future iPhone plans.

Whenever Apple offers major upgrades to the iPhone, sales typically spike. Kvaal is predicting that such a spike will again occur with the next iPhone.

However, Kvaal adds that the iPhone’s success at the end of 2017 might also be attributable to a larger customer base for Apple to tap into. He says in the note that the iPhone 8 will be offered to “a subscriber base that is 45-50% larger than the subscriber base the iPhone 6 launched into.” The number of customers Apple will attract with the next iPhone, in other words, is substantially larger. And sales will therefore grow accordingly.

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While Kvaal didn’t say in the note how many iPhone 8 units Apple will sell in the fourth quarter, he told Fortune on Friday that new iPhones typically account for approximately 70% of total iPhone sales in the fourth quarter. If the same ratio holds up this year, Apple’s iPhone 8 could generate nearly 60 million unit sales in the fourth quarter alone.

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