I listened to the interview yesterday and when Abdi was pushed on the excess inventory question I was perplexed as to why he answered that it was to get ahead of production for existing customers. He did say R&D was also up, so after sleeping on this, I feel the R&D is the code word for Apple and the fact that the inventory is for existing customers then that opens up production facilities to mass produce for the R&D customer when the orders start coming in at a later time.
As I explained in another post, the increased inventory seems to be mostly in wafers that can be used in different chips going forward. That's important versus finished product on a shelf waiting for a buyer. So yes, they are trying to get ahead of curve so customers can have a quicker turn around time getting new devices to market.
Yes, it is important to evaluate the type of inventory build up that is occurring. Work-in-progress build up can be a good thing, even if it ties up capital, while finished goods build up can be bad, as tech can go obsolete quickly, and might end up written off if it cannot be sold.