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Apple optimistic it will sell 10 million iPhones by year's end

Irish debut, announced today, will help

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Updated Apple is "really confident" it will sell 10m iPhones by the end of the year, the company's COO, Tim Cook, said yesterday. Today, O2 announced the phone's launch in Ireland.

Cook was speaking at a Goldman Sachs investment conference and his comments came on the day Apple invited analysts to a meeting to be held next week at which it will unveil its iPhone applications roadmap and the handset's software development kit.

Interestingly, the event's invite also indicates Apple will be discussing its plans to pitch the iPhone at big business, a sign it reckons it can take the fight to Windows Mobile and the BlackBerry. Push email, anyone?

Ramping sales to corporates isn't going to significantly impact Apple achieve its short-term aim of selling 10m iPhones by the end of December. O2's Irish launch, which will place on 14 March, should do. The carrier announced it will offer the 8GB handset for €399 and the 16GB version for €499, with the €45-100 monthly tarrif on top of that.

The Telefónica subsidiary won the UK iPhone contract in September 2007, and with its firm presence in Ireland, it was a strong candidate for the Irish roll-out too.

Market watchers have calculated that around a quarter of iPhones sold so far have been unlocked in order to be used with other carriers than the Apple-sanctioned ones. While that's not good for Apple's tariff revenue-sharing deals, it does at least mean that it's selling handsets that count toward that 10m total.

This week, Apple released version 1.1.4 of the iPhone OS.

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