DigiTimes reports that the information comes from Taiwan-based supply chain makers, who expect Apple to order parts to build 56 million iPhones for the rest of 2011. That's for all iPhone models currently being sold plus an expected iPhone 5, though Apple has reportedly lowered iPhone 5 orders for the third quarter and raised them for the fourth quarter. If the iPhone 5 is introduced in the fall, as we believe it will be, Apple may be expecting the international roll-out to happen a little slower than it originally anticipated.
The same sources say that Apple has ordered more than 20 million iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS models for the third quarter of the year, with orders dropping to 8 million in the fourth quarter. This tapering off suggests that Apple expects to keep offering the iPhone 4 in some areas, likely replacing the iPhone 3GS as a lower-priced iPhone option.
Apple has already sold 39 million iPhones so far this year, despite not releasing a new model in June as it has each year since 2007. If Apple can maintain the triple-digital growth in iPhone sales it has enjoyed for the past few quarters, though, that 56 million unit target shouldn't be hard to hit.