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Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 05:05 am PT (08:05 am ET)

Suppliers say Apple will build first batch of CDMA iPhones in December

Apple is expected to build its first 3 million Verizon-compatible CDMA iPhones in December 2010, contacts in the company's overseas supply chain reportedly indicated.

Analyst Jeffrey Fidacaro with Susquehanna Financial Group said in a note to investors on Wednesday that checks with overseas suppliers indicated Apple is prepared to build 3 million CDMA iPhones in December, keeping the device on track for an early 2011 launch. That would put total GSM and CDMA iPhone production for the quarter at between 21 million and 22 million.

For the current quarter, suppliers reportedly said that Apple is set to build between 18.2 million and 18.4 million GSM-only iPhones. Fidacaro noted those numbers are "well above investor expectations," because display panel constraints with LG Display have been resolved.

Fidacaro expects Apple to sell a record 11.6 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of the company's fiscal 2010. That would be a 39 percent increase from the 8.4 million handsets the company sold in the third quarter of fiscal 2010.

"We expect the September 25 launch of iPhone in China and Apple's target of making the iPhone available in 88 countries by month end to aid results in 4QFY10," he wrote. "Our checks show that Apple is still struggling with yields on the mass production of the white iPhone 4."

As for the iPad, suppliers were said to have plans to build 7 million units for the current quarter, a 56 percent increase from the previous three-month frame. Fidacaro expects Apple to ship 4.75 million units int he current quarter, which would be 45 percent growth from last quarter, to reach a total of 13.4 million units in calendar 2010.

In addition, MacBook build rates are said to be at more than 3 million for the quarter, while production forecasts for the newly refreshed iPod lineup are at 12 million. Fidacaro also expects a "modest" start for the new Apple TV, with several hundred thousand units built at launch, ramping up to about a million units in December.

"While the lower price point, Netflix integration, and better streaming (AirPlay) functionality makes the product more compelling than the original device, expectations remain low, in our view," he said.

Susquehanna Financial Group has a positive rating for AAPL stock, and has maintained its $365 price target.

Earlier this year, before the iPad was announced, Fidacaro conducted an assumed component breakdown on the then-mythical device, projecting it to include a 4200RPM spinning hard drive and an Intel Atom mobile processor.