Apple could produce as many as 22 million iPhones in the next quarter, forecasts Rodman & Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar.
In an investor's note released yesterday, Kumar said the next iPhone, expected to launch in October, could account for almost 25 percent of the total volume in the fourth quarter, leaving the iPhone 4 to grab the lion's share of Apple smartphone customers over the rest of the year.
Rumors have run rampant as to whether the iPhone 5 would represent a major upgrade over the iPhone 4, or sport just a few changes but retain the same basic features as its predecessor. Some reports have suggested that Apple could even unveil two phones--one a new and improved iPhone 5; the other a lower-cost version of the iPhone 4.
Kumar's opinion is that the new iPhone would be an "upgrade and not a complete redesign," and that the iPhone 4 would then be sold as a less expensive device, starting in October. The analyst believes that Apple could then continue to sell the iPhone 4 until a completely redesigned iPhone hits the market sometime next year.
Although many Apple users have been eagerly awaiting the debut of the next iPhone, the iPhone 4 continues to see strong demand as the best-selling smartphone at both AT&T and Verizon Wireless, Kumar added.
Manufacturing 22 million iPhones certainly isn't out of reach, as long as the supply chain can handle it. Apple sold 18.65 million iPhones in its fiscal second quarter and 20.34 million iPhones in its fiscal third quarter, which ended June 25. Ironically, 22 million is also the number of iPads that investment analyst Jason Schwarz thinks Apple will sell in the fourth quarter.