Apple could produce up to 22 million iPhones in the fourth quarter, the majority of which would be the iPhone 4, or a comparable cheaper model, reports Rodman & Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar. He says that Apple will continue to produce the iPhone 4 in quantity, which fits with previous years when Apple continued selling ‘last years model’ at a lower price point even as they introduced a new one.
Kumar says that according to supply chain estimates, Apple could produce high volumes of the current iPhone 4, downgraded in price. This fits in with the persistent rumor that Apple is revamping the iPhone 4 to be cheaper to produce, perhaps even lowering the flash memory capacity to 8GB in order to serve the lower-end market.
Total iPhone volumes could be up high single digits sequentially to around 22 million units with the upgraded iPhone representing almost quarter of the volume. The “new” iPhone is expected to be a spec upgrade and not a complete redesign. It is likely that the existing iPhone 4 could be repositioned as a “lower” cost device and will continue to ship until the rollout of the completely redesigned iPhone sometime next year.
Kumar seems to think that both models of iPhone will look very similar as the ‘new’ iPhone, meaning the iPhone 5, would receive a bump in performance, with the addition of the A5 processor found in the iPad 2, but not a full redesign.
The estimates seem sound, if a bit conservative. Apple sold 20.3 million iPhones in Q3 of this year, after it had already been out for a year, and had only been available on Verizon for a couple of months. We see sales of the new iPhone, or iPhones, to exceed that by far as it will be available on more than one mobile carrier for the first time in US history. Of course, that depends on how many Apple is able to actually produce. Manufacturing of the iPad 2 only recently caught up to demand.
Rumors have also persisted of the iPhone coming to Sprint and T-Mobile, which would provide further sales boosts to whatever new device Apple offers in October. We’re still holding out hope for a redesigned iPhone 5 with a slimmer profile though, perhaps something like this concept.GigaOm