updated 11:00 am EDT, Thu June 26, 2008
Analyst on 4G iPod nano
Apple is preparing significant changes to the iPod nano as it prepares a dramatic ramp-up in iPhone 3G shipments, according to a report by FBR Research analyst Craig Berger. The investment expert now anticipates an updated, lower-priced iPod nano in the near future on top of refreshes for both the iPod classic and iPod touch. Further details are unavailble, though Apple has traditionally increased capacities of the iPod in August or September as flash memory and hard drive technology improves; the company took the unusual step this year of doubling iPod touch capacity to 32GB just a few months after the product was introduced.
Apple is also now said to be increasing its iPod production to match and is estimated to be building 15 percent more of the media players than it did with Berger's previous check, although he adds that the shift is now more towards the iPod nano and classic rather than the iPod touch, which has regularly been Apple's second-strongest iPod in terms of online Apple Store sales since its debut. The move is reported to push Apple's profit margins down for the sake of maintaining or growing iPod sales share.
Equally important is a large boost to iPhone production, according to additional reports. The analyst says that his firm now sees Apple shipping about 15 million iPhone 3G units over the course of the summer and fall quarters, or more than the 11 million estimated just last month. Seven million of these are due to be made in the July-to-September period alone, he adds. The numbers don't include production of the now discontinued original iPhone, about two million of which were believed to have been made during 2008.
With the increased production, Apple is now expected to readily surpass the goal announced last year of shipping 10 million iPhones during 2008, which it estimated at the time would give it one percent of the world cellphone market. The increase is also believed to help the bottom lines of Broadcom and Marvell, both of whom have chipsets in the new handheld.
Berger also concludes that Mac shipments are also stepping up in anticipation of end-of-year demand, with production increasing between 10 to 20 percent. Apple is poised to "knock the cover off the ball" and not only recover its iPod share but essentially sidestep any American or European economic downturns in the process, the analyst says.