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Monday, December 14, 2009, 04:55 am PT (07:55 am ET)

Strong demand for parts forecasts 10M iPhone sales in Q4 2009

Demand for the iPhone 3GS has helped Taiwanese suppliers see a 31 percent increase in orders for components, as Apple's handset is projected to have a record quarter.

Citing a local firm, Taiwan-based industry publication DigiTimes noted that integrated circuit shipments in the third quarter of 2009 hit 116.97 million, up 30.9 percent. Leading that growth, and giving a boost to suppliers, has been the iPhone, which sold 7.4 million units globally last quarter. The report suggests that Apple could blow out its previous record when the December quarter concludes.

In the third quarter of 2009, sales of the Apple iPhone 3GS far exceeded expectations, and sales are expected to reach 10 million in the fourth quarter of 2009," the report said. "iPhone chip suppliers have benefited from this development. Furthermore, other terminal vendors made advance procurements to prepare for the peak season in the fourth quarter."

It goes on to note that Infineon, maker of baseband and radio frequency transceivers, TriQuint, manufacturer of power amplifiers, and Samsung, creator of application processors, are all due to benefit from increased demand for the iPhone.

Apple's continued strength in the smartphone market was also noted Monday by analyst Charlie Wolf with Needham & Co. In a new edition of his "Wolf Bytes," he called the iPhone the "gold standard" of the smartphone market. As competitors like the BlackBerry, Palm Pre, and Motorola Droid look to capture some of Apple's buzz, Wolf said he believes the iPhone will remain on top for the foreseeable future.

"No competitive smartphone has emerged as an iPhone killer just as no portable music player came close to becoming an iPod killer," he said. "That's because no one develops user-friendly software like Apple does."

Wolf Bytes


The highest market shares of the iPhone exist in the U.S. and Western Europe, where it commands 29.2 percent and 23.5 percent of the smartphone market, respectively.

Apple's successes have not been as strong in Asia, however, where the leader is Japan with a decent 9.2 percent market share. But the region's real prize is China, where a modest sales start was mostly attributed to a gray market of phones available for less money with Wi-Fi. Wolf said carrier China Unicom will need to lower its prices if it plans to compete with the gray market.