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IPhone Sales Slowdown? I Really Don't Think So

CNBC.com

I'm skeptical, to say the least, of a report originally in the Chinese language Economic Daily News, and now re-printed by Digitimesdetailing an iPhone shipment slowdown by Apple .

The story, quoting Apple's handset suppliers in Taiwan, says Apple has lowered its projected shipments of iPhones from 2 million units to around 1 million or 1.2 million for its fiscal second quarter ending march 2008. Sources go on to tell EDN that lower than expected sales in Europe pushed Apple to slash shipment projections.

The reason I'm skeptical is that the news comes just days after Apple released earnings; and that report indicated that Apple is selling 20,000 iPhones a day. If you do the math, that's a quarterly run-rate of 1.8 million iPhones. I mean, those numbers JUST came out two days ago. I find it hard to believe that sales would so suddenly fall off a cliff on a product that only seems to be gaining momentum.

Aside from Apple's own earnings, we heard from AT&T this morning that the company achieved a record increase in net wireless customersthanks largely to its partnership with Apple on iPhone. And that good news comes despite Apple's admission on the conference call that it's tracking a "significant" number of consumers who are buying the iPhone and then unlocking it so they can use it on a network other than AT&T's. Again, momentum.

Further, we already know that European sales have been taking off slower-than-expected so to attribute a steep fall-off in second quarter shipments because of problems in Europe seems like a red herring. We already knew sales there were soft. If sales were stronger, Apple would have shipped 3 million iPhones in the holiday shopping quarter instead of the pretty impressive 2.3 million the company announced.

Steve Jobs told me last week he's "thrilled" with iPhone's sales performance, selling 4 million units in just the first 200 days of is retail shelf-life. I'm sure EDN has great sources among Apple's manufacturing partners in Taiwan. It's just that the folks I'm talking to are telling a decidedly different story.

Questions? Comments? TechCheck@cnbc.com

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