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Apple estimated to sell over 42 million iPhones this quarter

Investment bank UBS on Friday estimated that sales of Apple's iPhone will top 42.5M units worldwide, boosted by international iPhone 4S launches.

In a note issued to investors, analyst Maynard Um calls the firm's CY4Q forecast of 28 million worldwide iPhone sales conservative, estimating that upcoming international launches of the iPhone 4S could aid in more than doubling last quarter's 17 million sales.

Um notes, however, that international adoption of Apple's newest handset could be slow when compared to the U.S. given that Siri, the 4S-exclusive voice-recognition feature, only supports English, French and German. Despite the software's current limitation, the analyst believes the initial 28 million unit estimate to be conservative.

In CY3Q the U.S./international iPhone sales split was roughly 27.5% and 72.5% respectively. Um expects 11.7 million iPhones to be sold domestically in the upcoming quarter, and calculates that a split similar to last quarter's would imply about 42.5 million worldwide sales.

"While the timing of the 70 (of 105) country launches could have some impact on sales ahead of the launch, the split, and hence, our estimates look conservative," Um said.

The analyst writes that if Apple is able to manufacture and sell the estimated 42.5 million units, earnings per share of the company's stock would drive an incremental $3.09 to the estimated $9.47 for the December quarter. This equates to about $0.24 EPS for every 1 million units sold.

In their recent FY4Q earnings reports, both AT&T and Verizon corroborated Apple's claim that anticipation of the the iPhone 4S release slowed sales, causing the company to miss analysts' expectations for the last quarter of the 2011 fiscal year. However, given the new handset's record-breaking U.S rollout, incremental international launches and the addition of new partners like Sprint and regional carrier C-Spire, Um gives Apple a 12 month buy rating with a price target of $510.