Apple’s new iPhone 5 will be the “biggest handset launch in history.”

Investment firm Jefferies is forecasting that the launch of Apple’s new iPhone 5 will be the “biggest handset launch in history.”

With 170 million global smartphone subscribers expected to come out of their carrier contracts in the second half of 2012, and 450 million more to follow in 2013, Jefferies analyst Peter Misek wrote August 17 that his firm sees “significant and very fertile ground for the iPhone 5’s success.” We agree.