Apple Inc is launching its 3G version of the cell phone this summer to meet the initial order of 11 million iPhones to be built this year.
Analysts predict that the faster iPhone will ship in June, roughly a year after the original iPhone’s debut, as well as a limited initial supply of the cell phones in the fourth-quarter.
Bank of America analyst, Scott Craig, who put out a research note Friday dissecting the Apple production plans, says the potential order indicates a significant production increase. If true, this could provide a surprise boost to the company’s financial figures. BofA expects 8 million iPhones will get sold this year.
However, other analysts familiar with Apple’s order patterns says pending production reports are typically overestimated by the iPhone company, largely to keep component suppliers fully stocked should increase demand skyrocket. Apple will probably make about half of the 11 million iPhones the initial production plan calls for. It will probably have about one million 3G phones ready at launch and 4 to 5 million to follow later this year, according to one analyst.
The new phone will operate on AT&T’s faster network offering faster speeds to mobile Internet users and will include more features including GPS navigation. While the price is still in question, some analysts predict a high price, as much as $500 per unit.
Several cell phone makers are introducing touch screen phones directly aimed at the iPhone this year. Sony Ericsson unveiled its prototype of the Xperia phone, a touch screen design with a slide-open keyboard. Another prototype built is Garmin’s nuvifone, a GPS touch screen device with a phone built in.
There is also the new smart phone from Research in Motion (RIMM), 9000 BlackBerry, although there have been few little details known about its design.