Apple’s iPhone sales are breaking expectations, with the latest guess-timates indicating eight million sales of the iPhone this year alone – meaning the company’s well on course to achieve its stated ten million sales target.

Fortune reports the claims, which emanate from a group of Apple investors (the Mac Observer Apple Finance Board) who have extrapolated iPhone sales this year from information concerning their IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) numbers. The investors requested IMEI info from iPhone buyers, analysis of those they did receive suggests eight million iPhone sales this year – 5.6 million of these of the iPhone 3G, the remaining 2.4 million being sales of the original iPhone. Apple’s manufacturing partners are building iPhone’s at 800,000 units every week.

Winners and losers

Apple’s success is not a victimless crime – iPhone 3G sales apparently "siphoned off sales from other smartphone vendors" in July, Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt wrote in a note to investors Tuesday – outselling the once most popular BlackBerry Curve smartphone.

McCourt believes Apple will sell 6.1 million iPhone 3Gs in the September quarter, half through AT&T stores and the other half sold internationally.

iCannibal?

All the focus on the iPhone comes as Apple’s expected next week to unleash a new range of iPods, prompting Needham & Co analyst, Charles Wolf to note: "It’s got to be new iPods. That’s 100 percent certain. The only question I cannot answer is whether they will also do new MacBooks."

American Technology Research analyst, Shaw Wu, expects Apple will reduce prices on its range in order to make it more competitive with the iPhone, and in response to economic imperatives. "Pricing needs to be adjusted downward toward market conditions," he told the IHT. "We are in a tougher economy. That’s what makes most sense."

Price cuts may not be enough. Analyst Douglas A McIntyre warns in an item this morning: "With over 150 million units already sold, the iPod is reaching a point of saturation…The iPod’s best years are behind it."

 

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