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Monday, December 27, 2010, 08:35 am PT (11:35 am ET)

Apple raises Q1 2011 iPhone shipments to 21 million

A new report claims that Apple has raised its first quarter 2011 iPhone shipment target to 20-21 million units, including 14-15 million WCDMA iPhones and 5-6 million CDMA units.

Taiwanese publication DigiTimes reported Monday that Apple is increasing its original goal of 19 million million units, citing Taiwan-based component suppliers. According to sources, a CDMA iPhone is set to launch in North America and Asia Pacific in the first quarter with a shipment goal of 5-6 million units in the first quarter.

Reports of a North America and Asia Pacific launch match rumors that the U.S. and China will be among the first countries to offer a CDMA-compatible iPhone. Though rumors of an iPhone on the Verizon network in the U.S. have persisted for years, an October report by The Wall Street Journal lent credence to rumors that Apple intends to introduce the iPhone on Verizon in early 2011.

JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz sees the anticipated launch of the iPhone on Verizon as potentially adding at least $1.25 incremental earnings per share annually.

China Telecom is also rumored to be in talks with Apple over a CDMA iPhone, in hopes of an early 2011 release as well. China Unicom, as the exclusive official carrier for the iPhone in China, continues to struggle to meet demand for the iPhone 4. According to Brian White of Ticonderoga Securities, China "remains in the early stages of catching 'Apple fever.'"

Digitimes' sources also suggested that fourth quarter 2010 shipments of Apple's smartphone are estimated at 15.5 million units, bringing the total units shipped in 2010 to 47 million. The sources reiterated earlier reports that Foxconn and Pegatron Technology will share the production volume for the CDMA version, while Foxconn will be the only maker of WCDMA iPhones.

In the October quarter, Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones, posting record revenue of $20.34 billion. Analysts expect the iPhone maker to sell as many as 16 million units in the December quarter.