Production Delays May Cripple Apple 3G iPhone Sales (AAPL)

Counting on the 3G iPhone launch to drive Apple’s stock to the stars? (AAPL). Planning on grabbing the new unit 30 seconds after it goes on sale? Better hope the information fed to Barron’s this weekend (presumably by hedge funds who are short Apple) is wrong:

[W]hat the fanboys won’t tell you — as won’t many unabashed boosters in the press — is that the iPhone’s production rollout is behind schedule. That’s what a number of tech hedge-fund managers are saying, attributing their information to investigative research outfits that talk with engineers and supply-chain managers at the contract manufacturer and component suppliers in Asia.

These sources say that Apple has slashed its internal expectations for iPhone unit sales by up to 16%. They report that Apple had planned to ship 12 million 3G units by the end of the third quarter, but now expects to ship about 10 million to 10.5 million by the fourth quarter, owing to production delays…[P]eople have been stating that Apple has shipped hundreds of thousands of 3G iPhones, which are supposedly sitting on warehouse shelves. But hedge-fund sources say that Foxconn International Holdings, the contract manufacturer that assembles the devices, has shipped only several thousand…

Foxconn and component makers won’t crank up mass production until the middle of this month, although researchers say that they had been pressured by Apple to start doing so a few weeks ago. The reasons for the delays are unclear, but the most logical presumption is that Apple was too optimistic about how fast supplier Infineon Technologies (IFX) would introduce a new chipset for the phone. Infineon reduced its forecast for shipments this year, and analysts suspect that it’s Apple-related.

And to top it off, the “iPhone 2” allegedly comes in an ugly grey (Engadget says these photos are silly fakes). Breathlessly awaited for almost a year, it seems the 3G iPhone is not shaping up to be Steve Jobs’ greatest launch.

(This won’t make a lick of difference to Apple’s financial performance, of course–the iPhone is still irrelevant to the big Apple picture. iPhone glitches will likely punish sentiment, though, especially given the ordinary tendency to buy on the rumour, sell on the news.)

See Also:
3G iPhone Pix: Comes in Ugly grey With Video Chat

Where Are The New iPhones? Fremont, California

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