updated 10:05 am EDT, Fri June 1, 2007
4M iPhones in 2007
Apple is preparing to sell far more iPhones than it originally anticipated, according to a new report by Merrill Lynch. The financial group estimates that while production will start modestly at between 200,000 and 300,000 phones per month, Apple will gradually step up its production to reach 1 million per month by the end of 2007, resulting in 4 million units just for the remaining portion of the year. If nothing changes, production should level off and result in 12 million iPhones shipped during 2008, the researchers say.
While the prediction may not meet the extreme level of anticipation from the market, according to the report, the production levels are far in excess of the initial sales figures announced at Macworld San Francisco in January. Apple's CEO Steve Jobs said at the event that he hoped to sell a total 10 million of the devices by the end of 2008 -- pointing to a 60 percent jump in production if Merill Lynch estimates prove accurate.
The large claim contradicts earlier warnings by Forbes, which said that the 10 million figure was already optimistic and that the carrier exclusivity as well as the pricing could block Apple from enjoying iPod-level success in its current form.