updated 09:20 am EDT, Wed September 22, 2010
Analyst learns 3m CDMA iPhones enroute
Susquehanna analyst Jeffrey Fidacaro today claimed in a research note that Apple will make three million CDMA iPhones in December. Checks with Asian suppliers led him to believe the company is queuing up the large amount in anticipation of a launch in early 2011. Combined with GSM models, as many as 21 million to 22 million iPhones could be produced in the last three months of the year.
Most expect the initial wave to go to Verizon in the US, where pent-up demand exists not just for existing customers but for AT&T customers ready to leave for Verizon as an oversaturated network or AT&T's reputation for service have them ready to switch once they can keep using an iPhone. Sprint is also a candidate. Production of three million units is unlikely to lead to a CDMA model in other parts of the world at first, although Apple could scale the phone to cover providers like China Telecom.
Fidacaro also cites reasons to be optimistic for the ongoing quarter. Apple is purportedly on track to have manufactured 18.2 million to 18.4 million GSM iPhones in the quarter ending with this month. Not all of those will sell, but the results would be much better than expected. The company is thought to have cleared up screen-related shortages with LG Display that had hampered early supply. Its specialized 960x640 Retina Display is widely thought to be difficult to make compared to a regular mobile LCD. Production of white iPhone 4 models is still struggling, the analyst said.
If accurate, the estimates could see Apple overtake RIM's 12.1 million BlackBerries with fall sales resulting from current production. They wouldn't necessarily prevent Android moving ahead but would close some of the perceived gap.
In iPads, Susquehanna expects 4.75 million of the tablets to have shipped in the summer and seven million to be built. Each would roughly grow Apple's production rates by half compared to the spring and have led Fidacaro to predict 13.4 million iPads being made through all of 2010.
MacBooks assembly is estimated to reach over three million of the portables, while it would make 12 million iPods. New Apple TV units would be modest at best, with just several hundred thousand for the launch and a million in December. Expectations are still low for the media hub even with the lower price and Netflix support, Fidacaro said.