Demand for Apple's iPhone 3G remains strong, which could be forcing Apple to ramp production beyond its original estimates.
TechCrunch is reporting that Apple has asked Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai, to increase production of the iPhone 3G to 800,000 units a week. That pace translates to about 40 million units a year, far greater than what most analysts had been expecting the company to sell in the iPhone 3G era.
A short-term bump in production capacity may not imply that Foxconn will keep up that pace; TechCrunch's report alludes to "some concerns about quality control" on the part of either Apple or Foxconn related to the increase. After six weeks with no iPhone sales, there was clearly pent-up demand going into the July 11 launch of the iPhone 3G that may not be sustainable over the rest of the year without causing problems.
But more countries are expected to join the official ranks of iPhone users in the next several months, and the holiday shopping season is usually the catalyst for all sorts of gadgets. A production increase could offset that demand while making it easier to get an iPhone 3G without waiting two weeks for an AT&T direct-fulfillment order or playing iPhone roulette at an Apple store.