APPLE is gearing up for its biggest-ever product launch, reports suggest, with preparations underway to build 90 million iPhone 6 handsets this year
An analyst at Citigroup Global Markets told the Commercial Times that Foxconn, Apple’s Chinese manufacturer, was “expected to land orders for 90 million units of the iPhone 6 from Apple in 2014”.
The analyst, Wei Chen, went on to say that the new handset is expected to outsell the current model.
“Buoyed by shipments of iPhone 6, Apple’s smartphone shipments are expected to rise 23 per cent in 2014 compared to 13 per cent growth posted a year earlier,” he said.
Most industry commentators had predicted that the iPhone 6 would go on sale in autumn this year, but these new figures hint at an earlier release date, according to technology news website BGR.
“Assuming the 90 million iPhone 6 order is accurate, it may mean that Apple may launch the 2014 iOS smartphones a lot earlier than anticipated,” it suggests.
Apple sold 50 million iPhone 5S handsets, launched in October 2013, before the end of the year. If it expects 90 million iPhone 6 sales by the end of 2014, it must either be planning for significantly higher demand, or an earlier release date.
The Wall Street Journal reported recently that Apple is planning to expand its engineering teams in Shanghai and Taipei as it seeks faster sales growth in China.
“The hiring push reflects Apple’s need for more engineers to work with Asian suppliers on developing components for iPhones and iPads as it plans for faster and more-frequent product releases,” the paper reports. “Apple also is increasing its number of supply-chain managers, following criticism over factory conditions at some of its suppliers.”
In the past Apple has sought to limit its product range to a few highly profitable devices that would be updated once a year or less. As it faces increasing competition at the top end of the smartphone market, it is responding with a wider range of products. Last year’s iPhone update included two models for the first time – the premium 5S and the slightly cheaper 5C – and some analysts are predicting that the iPhone 6 will come in two sizes.
Although Apple has not confirmed any details of the new handset, industry insiders have suggested that the new phone is likely to feature a larger, more scratch-resistant screen, vivid colour reproduction making use of “quantum dot” technology and a new operating system.
Apple has not commented on any of these reports.
What do you think? Will the iPhone 6 spark new life into Apple?