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Apple's components spending increasing dramatically


Statements made by Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer during the recent 3Q 2012 earnings call are beginning to make sense in light of news from AllThingsD's John Paczkowski that shows that Apple's prepayments for inventory components are ramping up in a big way.

The Apple executives had noted that the 4Q 2012 earnings guidance would be down due to a "product transition," basically a way of saying that they'd be spending more on building inventory for a new product coming down the pike. Cook and Oppenheimer also repeatedly referred to "confidence in the new product pipeline," meaning that something big is coming from the company. (Chris referenced this in passing in yesterday's Rumor Roundup.)

Paczkowski pointed out a chart in Apple's latest 10-Q filing (at the top of this post), which shows prepayment for inventory components in the June quarter rising US$1.15 billion over the previous quarter. That's a huge buildup, and Wells Fargo Securities analyst Maynard Um is cited as saying that "Historically, such increases have been followed by a solid ramp-up in revenue in the following 2-3 quarters. In our view, an increase in inventory component prepayment may suggest that Apple is securing supply for potential new product launches."

As reported by several sites yesterday, the anticipation is building for a rumored Apple event in mid-September. There's a good chance that one of those products is the next-generation iPhone, but perhaps we'll also see other products getting a refresh.

What updated or new Apple products do you want to see? I'm holding out for a new iMac, while several of the other TUAW bloggers want a new Mac mini. Tell us your wishes for new products in the comments.

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