updated 11:30 am EST, Mon March 2, 2009
iPhone production surge
Production of the iPhone has seen a "recent uptick," according to research firm Wedge Partners. The surge is thought to be connected to increased global demand, and limited to the iPhone 3G, rather than shared with any new model scheduled for the summer. Three factors are believed to be driving demand, such as heavy advertising of the iTunes App Store, which is helping to negate the influence of rival stores belonging to Google and Nokia. The App Store also combines ease of use with a large variety of titles, Wedge notes.
Cellular carriers have meanwhile been engaged in aggressive promotions of their own, giving away iPhones for free, most typically when the device is only an 8GB model and/or it is associated with a company's most expensive plans. Spain's Telefonica and the United Kingdom's O2 are among the carriers involved, having recently been joined by Japan's SoftBank. All iPhone carriers are already engaged in subsidizing the device to various degrees.
Apple is lastly said to be pushing for lower data plan costs, which form the bulk of an iPhone's true price, particularly in places where no pre-paid plans are available. Cheaper data is said to increase smartphone sales as a rule, and Wedge suggests that Apple is in discussions with a number of carriers to create more affordable tiers. Discounts may be absolutely essential if the iPhone is to succeed in poorer countries, such as India.
Wedge separately comments that Mac production has been steady, and echoes rumors circulating elsewhere that updated desktop computers could be announced in late March or early April.