Pending Apple iPhone 5 Release Date Poised to Be Biggest Ever for a Smartphone

**Editor’s note: Please click here for our latest roundup of iPhone 5 speculation or here for our list of July’s hottest selling smartphones to see how the iPhone stacked up against the competition.**

It’s a big prediction, but not necessarily a bold one.

The launch of the next-generation iPhone almost certain now to be in mid-to-late September, is said to be “the biggest handset launch in history.” That word comes in a new research note from Peter Misek, managing director at analyst firm Jefferies, according to eWeek.

The reason for Misek’s optimism beyond the fact that the iPhone 4S launch last year was monstrous, despite the lack of a major hardware overhaul lies in his estimates that 170 million subscribers around the world will be wrapping up their contract obligations in the second half of the year, with 450 million more cutting the chains loose next year. That’s a whole lot of potential customers who will be freed up to get a new iPhone.

Not only that, but the new iPhone is widely expected to have a different look than its predecessors. It’s anticipated that the sixth-generation device (whatever it will officially be called) will come with a four-inch display up from 3.3 inches. And it’s sure to be compatible with speedy LTE networks.

Misek believes Apple is still on track to announced an iPad mini a 7.85-inch version of its classic tablet at the same Sept. 12 event where the company is expected to introduce the new iPhone. The first day of sales is expected to be Sept. 21.

Less likely at that event, however, is the launch of iTV, which Misek now believes won’t happen until the first quarter of 2013. Buzz surrounding the new TV offering is that it will change the living room forever, but the analyst thinks a September announcement is now unlikely considering there will already be two new products to unveil.

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