Apple hasn’t made an official prediction, and might never. But they do have to tell their suppliers how many phones to make. Between now and August 2009, the company plans to build 40 million to 45 million iPhones, according to BusinessWeek’s Peter Burrows.
That doesn’t exactly tell us how many phones Apple plans to sell during that period — or during calendar 2009. But that run rate roughly gels with Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster’s aggressive prediction that Apple will sell 45 million phones next year.
How will that happen? The most obvious way will be for Apple to make its phone available in more countries — which it’s already doing. Today, the company started selling the iPhone in 21 new countries, increasing its total addressable market by 290 million potential wireless subscribers — a 78% jump, according to Munster. Apple’s phone is now on sale in 43 countries with 560 million wireless subs; the company plans to sell its phone in 70 countries by the end of the year.
But will Apple also need to introduce more phones? Munster’s initial prediction of 45 million phones in 2009 was partially based on the idea that Apple will broaden the iPhone line to a family of 2-3 different models by next January.
Part of Munster’s reasoning behind that was lower pricing — down to $200-$300, he guessed in March — price points that Apple is already hitting via generous carrier subsidies. But there’s no doubt that an even cheaper iPhone — $99, or something along those lines — could drive even bigger sales. Is that part of the plan?
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