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Friday, June 08, 2012, 05:15 am PT (08:15 am ET)

iPhone 4S drawdown ahead of Apple's next model is smaller than expected

Suppliers are said to be less concerned about Apple's expected decrease in production of the iPhone 4S ahead of a new iPhone model, as sales of the 2011 smartphone remain strong.

Analyst Brian White with Topeka Capital Markets met with suppliers this week during a trip to the Computex trade show in Taipei, Taiwan. He said he did not sense much concern from those suppliers regarding the ramp down of iPhone 4S production ahead of a next-generation iPhone launch.

"In fact, the overall tone was a bit better than we expected and one company even seemed to be experiencing upside from this program in (the second quarter of 2012)," White wrote in a note to investors on Friday.

He has maintained his projection of 30.9 million iPhones sold in the June quarter, which would represent a sequential decline of 12 percent White's discussions with suppliers convinced him to hold on his estimate, while other analysts on Wall Street are trimming theirs.

For example, analyst Robert Cihra with Evercore Partners announced this week that he has trimmed his June quarter iPhone estimate to 28.8 million units, down from his previous prediction of 31 million. He noted that sell-through of the iPhone 4S is "solid," but he expects sell-in of the device to begin cycling down ahead of a sixth-generation refresh.

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Cihra also said he has been unable to pin down whether Apple's next iPhone will launch in the month of September or October. He said he considers a September launch to be "more likely than most."

The analyst has forecast a monster, record shattering quarter for Apple in December, with the next iPhone pushing handset sales to 49 million in the three-month span. He said the potential upside is well over 50 million based on what he called "aggressive early build plans and massive demand anticipated for the adoption of LTE and new form-factor."