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iPhone outlook goosed to 21m for early 2011

With a hefty dollop of CDMA sauce

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The iPhone juggernaut shows no signs of slowing down, with Apple boosting production of its money-minting smartphone from a previously planned 19 million to a cool 20 to 21 million in the first calendar quarter of 2011.

That's the word from "Taiwan-based component suppliers", as reported by the market-watchers at DigiTimes on Monday. Of those 20-21 million units, the report contends that five to six million will be CDMA phones, set to launch in North America and Asia in that first quarter.

According to Apple's 2010 annual report, filed after the company's fourth fiscal quarter that ended on September 25, iPhone sales grew from 11.6 million in 2008 to 20.7 million in 2009, a 78 per cent increase, and then to 40 million in 2010, a 93 per cent jump.

During the conference call with reporters and analysts that accompanied Apple's announcement of its fourth-quarter successes, CEO Steve Jobs noted that iPhone sales had been particularly brisk in that quarter: "iPhone sales of 14.1 million were up 91 percent year-over-year," he boasted – and then he couldn't resist adding a dig at the competition: "handily beating the 12.1 million phones RIM sold in their most recent quarter."

According to DigiTimes, that 14.1 record is now being broken during 2010's fourth calendar quarter as worldwide iPhone shipments are estimated to total 15.5 million, resulting in total sales for calendar 2010 of 47 million Cupertinian handsets.

Although the competition for top smartphone is clearly heating up, what with Android phones taking a ever-growing bite out of the iPhone's market share, the total handset pie appears to be growing fast enough to feed all comers.

The DigiTimes report also adds another dash of credence to the oft-repeated rumors of a CMDA-savvy Verizon iPhone appearing in the US during first quarter of 2011. ®

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