Taiwan manufacturer gets order for Apple "iPhone" handset

Hon Hai, aka Foxconn Electronics, won't comment or confirm, but the cat seems to really be out of the bag now. This latest batch of iPhone reports feels like less of a rumor than previous iterations. According to this Forbes article, Hon Hai has "secured contracts from Apple Computer for 12 mln mobile handsets that also function as music players, the Commercial Times quoted industry sources as saying." Yes, that's 12 million. Also, that "Apple will launch the mobile handsets in the first half of next year."

Financial analysts everywhere are going to be speculating (or continuing to) on what this move could mean to AAPL. We happened upon the Bear Stearns IT Bytes newsletter from earlier today and they've done a bit of extrapolating. They say the "iPhone" (we really don't know if that's what these handsets will be called, but we'll continue to refer to them as iPhones to keep things simple) should/would be priced around $300 and sales could earn shareholders an EPS (earnings per share) of about $0.70 on $6 billion in incremental revenue. They are assuming between 20 million and 29 million handsets would ship during 2007, implying a potential market share of approximately 3% of the total mobile phone market. Furthermore, they guestimate that an iPhone would "cannibalize iPod (mostly nano) sales" and assumed that iPhone would eat into around 30% of existing overall iPod sales.

I'm an AAPL shareholder myself, but all those numbers and forward-looking statements make my head hurt, so I'll stop now. What was more interesting about the IT Bytes newsletter and other Bear emails I've seen is that Bear Stearns is aggressively promoting the iPod itself (and AAPL by association) by including a picture of the iPod in every single email they send (html + an attachment). The iPod is unmistakably a part of their BearCasts logo. It's not a generic digital audio player. It's a3rd4thgen an iPod, no doubt about it. The logo is all over their website as well. That strikes me as an endorsement. I'm just sayin'...

Thanks, Mike!