Whether or not a new iPhone will be introduced this year is largely irrelevant to sales of the device, according to Goldman Sachs analyst Bill Shope, quoted in a Wall Street Journal All Things Digital post today. That's primarily due to the continuing addition of new carriers throughout the world.
Apple officials noted that the company is now selling iPhones through 200 carriers, up from 186 at the beginning of April. This kind of continued expansion of sales of the iPhone 4 and 3GS all over the world means, according to Shope, "iPhone shipments can remain robust through this summer, even with a delayed product refresh."
Shope believes that Apple's iPhone carrier expansion may actually be accelerating, which will further fuel sales of the iconic smartphone. We'll have to wait until Apple's third-quarter figures are available in July to find out for sure, but iPhone 4 sales may also have been helped by the long-delayed release of the white model.