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Apple to ship 30.3 million iPhones this quarter, says analyst

The new forecast for Apple's first fiscal quarter of 2012 is up from a prior estimate of 27.1 million, according to Susquehanna Financial Group.


Apple is expected to ship as many as 30.3 million iPhones this quarter, says investment firm Susquehanna.

That estimate is up from the firm's prior projection of 27.1 million. And for Apple's full fiscal 2012 year, which started in October, the company could ship as many as 111.4 million iPhones, up from Susquehanna's previous estimate of 104.4 million.

The changes to the forecast stem from the continued heavy demand for the iPhone 4S along with reports that some of the supply chain constraints seem to have been resolved. As a result, Apple has increased its iPhone build plans for both the current quarter and the first quarter of calendar year 2012, says Susquehanna.

"Demand appears solid as iPhone 4S continues to ship in one to two weeks online and stores are generally sold out for in-store reservation and pickup (still hoping Santa has a few left)," said Susquehanna analyst Jeffrey Fidacaro in an investor's note released yesterday. "These factors, combined with positive color from Best Buy and AT&T, led us to increase our iPhone shipment forecast for North America and modestly for Western Europe and Asia Pacific."

Among the different U.S. carriers, AT&T is expected to sell as many as 7.2 million iPhones in the current quarter, up from Susquehanna's previous estimate of 6 million. Verizon Wireless is now projected to sell 4.4 million phones this quarter, up from the prior projection of 3.6 million. But the forecast for Sprint remains unchanged at 1.75 million.

Looking ahead to next year, Susquehanna expects Apple to unveil the iPhone 5 sometime around June.