Gartner analyst stokes 3G iPhone rumorsAn analyst for market research firm Gartner said Tuesday he believes Apple to have placed orders for 10 million 3G iPhones which would employ a more modern form of display screen that could pave the way for a slimmer handset with improved battery life.
Ken Dulaney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, made the comments in a phone interview with the iPodObserver following a revised recommendation from his firm blessing the current version of the Apple handset for use within the enterprise.
The order of 10 million 3G iPhones —a model that will take advantage of third-generation wireless networks and perform some Internet functions up to ten times as fast as the current 2.5G/EDGE-based model —is said to be in addition to the 10 million first-generation units Apple plans to sell by year's end.
Dulaney's prediction, which is admittedly based on "rumors" overheard in Asia, would appear to support a common theory that the Cupertino-based company will continue to market its first-generation iPhone at a greatly reduced cost once the 3G model hits the market.
On average, analysts on Wall Street are forecasting sales of just over 2 million iPhones for the first calendar quarter of 2008, which would leave Apple some catching up to do if it intends to meet or beat its self-imposed goal of selling 10 million units by year's end.
For its part, however, the company's management has frequently and earnestly reiterated confidence in besting that goal, suggesting a catalyst to spur demand —such as new models and price drops on old models —lay in the wings.
In speaking to the iPodObserver on Tuesday, Dulaney also speculated that that the "so-called 3G iPhone" will use an extremely pricey and cutting-edge Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) display, which could both improve battery life and lead to a slimmer phone.
Though not as widely proven as traditional LCD screens like those used in the current iPhone, OLED displays do not require a backlight to function. As a result, they draw far less power and, when powered from a battery, can operate longer on the same charge. The absence of a backlight also means that OLED displays can be much thinner than LCDs.