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Apple said to order 24 million iPhone 4Gs

Better display, more RAM, bigger battery

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Apple is betting big that its upcoming - and noticeably improved - iPhone 4G will be an instant worldwide hit, according to a report citing Taiwanese parts suppliers.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo at DigiTimes says that Cupertino has ordered 24 million units for this year alone from its Chinese assembler, Foxconn. Kuo also provided more details on the increasingly not-so-secret phone, expected to be revealed on the opening day of Apple's upcoming Worldwide Developer Conference, which runs from June 7 through 11.

Foxconn, according to the DigiTimes report, is front-loading the shipments with 4.5 million units to be delivered in the first half of the year, with the remaining 19.5 due during the following six months.

These numbers are aggressive, but not unreasonable. According to its most recent Form 10-Q filing (PDF) with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Apple sold 8.75 million iPhones worldwide in the quarter ending March 27, and 17.5 million for the six-month period ending that quarter.

When reporting those financial results, Apple COO Tim Cook emphasized the growth in international iPhone sales, citing a 474 per cent sales surge in the Asia-Pacific region, year-on-year, in that quarter. Add international growth to the pent-up demand for upgrades of earlier iPhones, and 24 million phones built by Foxconn is not out of the question. And remember, these are phones being delivered to Apple, not to end-users, so millions of them will carry over into the first quarter of 2011.

DigiTimes's Kuo also provided details on why the iPhone 4G might tempt existing iPhone 3G and 3GS users to hand their existing Cupertinian handsets down to their kids and move up to a new phone.

For example, Kuo said that the iPhone 4G's display will have a resolution of 960 by 640 pixels. A Motorola Droid, by comparison, has a resolution of 854 by 480; the Google Nexus One, 800 by 480; and the current iPhone 3GS, a measly 480-by-320.

Like the iPad, the new iPhone's display - if Kuo is correct - will be an in-plane switching (IPS) TFT-LCD to improve off-angle viewing. Interestingly, Kuo says that the display will also employ fringe-field switching - better known as advanced fringe-field switching (AFFS) - which is an upgraded version of IPS, not an addition to it. Perhaps DigiTimes merely needs more-attentive editors.

Kuo also claims that the iPhone 4G's display will be 33 per cent thinner than the one in the iPhone 3GS, which should allow for a larger battery.

Finally, Kuo notes that the phone will be powered by a single-core ARM Cortex A8, which is consistent with what iFixIt and Chipworks discovered in their Apple A4 dissection. The new A4/Cortex/however-you-want-to-brand-it will have 512MB of RAM aboard the processor package, twice that of the iPad and iPhone 3GS - meaning its multitasking capabilities when running iPhone OS 4.0 should be superior to that of the first-generation iPad.

Add these 24 million rumored iPhones 4Gs to the 10 million rumored CDMA iPhones that DigiTimes told us about last week, and the Apple juggernaut shows no signs of slowing down.

That is, of course, if any of these rumors are true. ®

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