July 22, 2014
Apple is preparing a record number of units for its next-generation smartphone, according to The Wall Street Journal. Betting big on larger-screen handsets to compete against those made by Samsung and other smartphone makers, the company is reportedly asking its suppliers to manufacture between 70 million and 80 million units combined of its rumored 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch "iPhone 6" models by the end of the year. Citing "people familiar with the matter" as its sources, The Wall Street Journal reports:
[Apple's] forecast for what is commonly called the iPhone 6 is significantly larger than the initial order last year of between 50 million and 60 million versions of the iPhone 5S and 5C—which had a display measuring 4-inches diagonally, these people said. Both of the coming models are expected to feature metal cases similar to the iPhone 5S and likely come in multiple colors, these people said.Corroborating a research note released by KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo last week, these people said that the use of in-cell technology for the devices' screens could pose complications during production, particularly for the 5.5-inch model. The larger "iPhone 6" version could also face complications over its expected use of sapphire coating for its display. Apple has reportedly asked component makers to prepare for up to 120 million iPhone units by the end of the year in anticipation of a higher failure rate for the handsets' displays. To meet the high demand for the iPhone 6, Apple's two main iPhone assemblers, Foxconn and Pegatron, are on hiring sprees at their manufacturing facilities in China. A previous report by local media in Taiwan claimed that the 4.7-inch version and the 5.5-inch model of Apple’s next-generation smartphone would enter mass production during the third week of this month (this week) and the second week of next month, respectively. But according to The Wall Street Journal's sources, production of the 4.7-inch model will begin at Foxconn and Pegatron next month and that of the 5.5-inch model will be carried out exclusively at Foxconn beginning in September. Apple is expected to unveil the next-generation smartphone in September, with the 5.5-inch version rumored to be released later than the 4.7-inch version. In addition to larger screens, both models of the iPhone 6 are expected to feature thinner profiles and Apple’s faster "A8" processors.