Apple iPhone suppliers claim the company has increased its target iPhone 4 shipment numbers for Q1 2011.
With sales of the fourth generation of its popular iPhone smartphone
still going strong, computer maker Apple is taking steps to ensure supply meets
demand. The company raised its shipment goal for the first quarter of 2011 to
around 20 million iPhones, the technology blog DigiTimes reported.
The blog quoted unnamed component suppliers based in Taiwan
saying the first-quarter shipment goal for WCDMA iPhones has been adjusted from
13 million units to 14 million to 15 million units and soon-to-launch CDMA
iPhones have been set at 5 million to 6 million units.
Sources also provided numbers on fourth-quarter iPhone sales
worldwide, claiming sales of 15.5 million units, or 47 million iPhones sold in
2010. "Currently, Foxconn is the only maker of WCDMA iPhones, while
Foxconn and Pegatron Technology have equally shared the production volume for
the CDMA version, the sources noted," the article read.
The statements on CDMA phones are sure to add to the
speculation surrounding the rumored arrival of the iPhone on Verizon's mobile
network. Currently, network operator AT&T is the exclusive iPhone carrier.
The iPhone 4, with its new FaceTime video chat application,
multitasking and other new capabilities, sold 1.7 million units in its first
few days of launch in June. Largely on the strength of the iPhone 4 and iPad,
Apple for its fourth quarter posted revenues of $20.34 billion and a net
quarterly profit of $4.31 billion. Apple also sold 14.1 million iPhones in the
quarter, buoyed by sales of the iPhone 4.
As 2010 winds down, the sales successes of the iPhone and
Apple's iPad tablet computer, which currently claims more than 90 percent of
the tablet market, position Apple for a strong kickoff in 2011. The iPad
is expected to command a 53 percent market share through 2011, according to
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, with Google Android-powered devices
tallying 32.5 percent market share.
Last week, online retailer Alibaba.com issued silicon cases for an "iPad
2," sporting a larger space for the device's speaker as well as a space
for a camera on the back of the tablet. The cases, which are offered in several
pastel colors, prompted a blizzard of speculation on the Web as to the upcoming
features of the popular gadget.
The appearance of "iPad 2" sleeves added to
speculation first begun in early December, when Reuters posted an article
suggesting Apple is hard at work on a smaller version of the iPad with a
built-in camera. The news service cited manufacturers in Asia,
with one source claiming the revamped model would feature cameras on the front
and back of the device, enabling Apple's FaceTime video conferencing service.
Another source said it would be slimmer and lighter and have a better
resolution display than the first iPad.
While Apple is bound to lose market share in the tablet
market eventually (Android devices are arguably the company's most capable
challenger), investing in the company and its partners remains a safe bet,
financial analysts say. "Investing in Apple-related shares is going to be
a major theme for most of next year," Bevan Yeh, a fund manager at
Prudential Securities investment Trust, who manages about $230 million and owns
supplier shares, told Reuters. "Apple is still the main driver on most
technology products, and this will help push the earnings of its suppliers even
more in 2011."
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.