Vijay Rakesh

Apple churning out the iPhone 4s

September 15, 2010: 12:02 PM ET

Builds are up 5%-10% this quarter, by one report, and ramping up another 10%-15% the next.

Photo: Apple Inc.

While Google's (GOOG) Android and Nokia's (NOK) Symbian^3 phones have been grabbing the headlines lately, Apple (AAPL) quietly "continues to execute," as Sterne Agee's Vijay Rakesh put it in an understated note to clients issued Wednesday.

Apple is still posting a 3-week delay on all online iPhone 4 orders despite what Rakesh describes as a "modest" 5% to 10% increase recently in the device's production rate. Checks with his sources in the Apple supply chain suggest another 10% to 15% increase scheduled for calendar Q4 -- just in time for the holiday rush.

Meanwhile, Apple has been ramping down iPhone 3GS production rates to only 10% to 15% of total output, according to Rakesh, down from 60% to 70% last quarter -- "which goes to show the strength of iPhone 4 demand," he writes.

Rakesh estimates that total iPhone 4 builds for the quarter that ends Sept. 25 will be in the 9-10 million unit range -- roughly in line with other estimates that put total iPhone unit sales (including the old 3GS) at 11 million for the quarter.

Meanwhile, production capacity for the iPad, which finally caught up demand in late August, is scheduled to go up another 25% to 30% next  quarter, according to Rakesh, an indication, as he puts it of "good visibility."

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