According to DigiTimes, which admittedly has quite a mixed record on Apple rumors, manufacturers in Apple’s supply chain have begun delivering parts and components for the next generation iPad. From this information, DigiTimes believes that the next iPad will be available in 3-4 months (aligning with March or April next year), with iPad 2 component supply beginning to wind down now.
OEM production of iPad 2 will remain high at 14-15 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011 but decline to 4-5 million units in the first quarter of 2012, paving the way for the launch of the new iPads, the sources noted.
Furthermore, the Chinese Commercial Times reports that Foxconn will begin production of the next-generation iPad in January, with production volume ramping up in February. It is expected that production of the next iPad will reach 9.5-9.8 million units in the first quarter of 2012.
DigiTimes is today reporting on claims from industry sources who say that Apple has signed a partnership agreement with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). The agreement will see TSMC produce the A6 chip as previously reported but also the A6’s successor, presumably dubbed the A7.
It now means that Samsung is no longer the exclusive manufacturer of chips for Apple’s iOS devices, which could be related to the current legal battles between the two companies. Sources have also told DigiTimes that TSMC has secured a favourable price, with little impact on TSMC’s profitability.
Apple and TSMC, however, have not yet talked about backend manufacturing, the sources said. It is likely that Apple will have TSMC and the other dedicated packaging and testing house split the orders due to TSMC’s limited available capacity for backend services, the sources speculated.
As the official announcement of the iPhone 5 inevitably creeps closer there has also been a flurry of activity in the past 24 hours with more rumors, supposed leaks and speculation from a wide variety of sources. Most recently, Nick Bilton of the New York Times wrote that a “fairly different” iPhone 5 with 8 MP camera is just weeks away.
Bilton’s suggestions are by-and-large consistent with most frequent of past rumors regarding the iPhone 5. Noting this, 9to5 Mac last night reported that they have heard that there will be two different iPhone models coming next month – a low-end, iPhone 4 look-alike and the new iPhone 5.
The iPhone 5 itself is a sight to behold, we’ve been told. It is impossibly light, yet much firmer than Samsung Galaxy phones which are backed in plastic. The camera rivals point and shoot cameras and will be a major marketing point for this device.
There isn’t anything inherently unique in their report either, claiming that Apple’s lower-end iPhone will be similar to the current iPhone 4 whilst the iPhone 5 will be tear-drop shaped, which has been claimed before. However they do say that this lower-end iPhone (the iPhone 4S if you will), is already being produced in high quantities, with 10 million expected on launch day. The iPhone 5 though, is apparently seeing “continued design and production delays, at least on one assembly line” with 9to5 Mac speculating there could be slight delays and shortages until 2012.
[Via 9to5 Mac]
A report in DigiTimes today claims to reveal new estimates of iPhone production for the rest of 2011. In their report, DigiTimes says that Apple has increased the number of orders for iPhones from 50 million units to 56 million units – roughly a 12% increase. Furthermore, they note that iPhone 5 production would represent roughly 26 million units for the rest of this year.
Looking more closely at iPhone 5 orders, DigiTimes says that Apple has revised down their third quarter (July, August and September) orders from 7 million units o 5.5-6 million units. The fourth quarter (October, November and December), however, has seen an increase in orders from 14 million to 20 million units. Production of the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 would also alter between the third and fourth quarters, reducing from 20 million units to just 8 million units in the fourth quarter.
Continued production of the iPhone 4 in the fourth quarter would suggest that Apple is interested in following its recent trend of making the ‘old’ iPhone a cheaper option for those looking to purchase an iPhone. If these suggested forecast figures become reality, it would mean that Apple produces, and likely sells, 95 million iPhones (any generation) over the course of the 2011 calendar year.
[Via DigiTimes, Image via MacRumors]
Last month a flurry of reports suggested that Apple might release a new model of the iPad that would be targeted at ‘Pro’ users and featuring a Retina display – many dubbed it the iPad HD. That suggestion (or at least the schedule) seems less reliable today with Taiwan Economic News citing sources within the chipmaking industry that claim the A6 processor won’t be available until at least the second quarter of next year with trials of the A6 only just beginning in earnest now.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (TSMC), the world’s largest semiconductor foundry by market shares now, has allegedly started trial production of the A6 processor in cooperation with Apple Inc., with the production design to be taped out in the first quarter of next year and scheduled to be publicly unveiled in the second quarter at the earliest, according to industry sources
As previous reports have noted, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) is producing the A6 chip, which would be the central component of the iPad ‘Pro’. The chip is said to be extremely-low powered whilst far exceeding the processing capabilities of the A4 and A5 chips because of a new 28-nanometer process and 3D stacking technologies. Darrell Etherington of GigaOm explains that this differs from the previous layered designs because “the 3D stacking tech will allow layers to be integrated vertically and horizontally into one single circuit”.
A report from Reuters is claiming that Apple has begun trialling production of an A6 processor with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) ahead of an expected 2012 launch. If true it would be a movement away from Samsung, which for the A4 and A5 processor, has been Apple’s sole manufacturing partner.
Such a move would presumably be in part be due to the current legal battle between Apple and Samsung that began earlier this year. As for what the A6 brings, analysts are expecting the processor could be a quad-core chip, a jump from the current dual-core A5 chip and single-core A4 chip.
A final decision has not yet been made on whether TSMC would produce the commercial, high-volume quantities, but TSMC is well prepared for that – they are the largest contract chip manufacturer in the world. CNet notes that analyst Gus Richard told them this month that Intel could be an option as they have been aggressively seeking more business with Apple
DigiTimes is today reporting that the supply chain for the iPhone 5 and iPad 3 is beginning to prepare materials for production of the two devices. According to DigiTimes’ sources, both devices are expected to make their debuts in September and launch to the market in October.
According to the sources, production of both the iPhone 5 and iPad 3 will begin in August with volume starting to pick up in September and October as they launch. The sources also note that roughly 6-7 million units of the iPhone 5 will be produced in the third quarter, in addition to continued production of the iPhone 4.
Upstream component makers including Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry), which is in charge of assembling the devices; Simplo Technologies and Dynapack International Technology, in charge of manufacturing batteries; TPK Holding and Wintek, in charge of touch panel modules; Catcher, in charge of chassis; and Largan Precision, in charge of webcams, are all expected to benefit from the orders.
Whilst this report affirms previous rumors and analyst expectations of an imminent start of iPhone 5 production, this reports claim of an iPad 3 in October is somewhat questionable. DigiTimes has somewhat of a hit-and-miss record of Apple related rumors, although it should be pointed out that the timeline of an iPad 3 release date is a bit murky. Earlier this year there were rumors of two iPad releases this year, but then more recently DigiTimes itself claimed Apple is beginning their component certification process with a 2012 release time frame for the iPad 3.
According to reports in today’s Economic Daily News, Apple has demanded cuts in supplier’s quotes for various components that are vital to the production of the iPhone and iPad. The paper has reported that Apple is putting significant pressure on the suppliers of PCBs, optical components, battery modules and touch panels to cut costs by 10% in the second quarter of 2011.
Apple is using the increased business it brings to the suppliers as a bargaining chip to get a 10% cut in costs. In particular the growing popularity of the iPad has meant that analysts are expecting a 70% growth in the second quarter, a significant windfall for Apple’s suppliers.
With a new iPhone expected sometime later this year and continued growth because of the iPad, Apple is expected to continue to demand cuts both in this quarter and on an ongoing basis.
Last week’s explosion at the Chengdu Foxconn plant may in fact lead to a loss in production of 500,000 iPads, despite contrary reports from yesterday. The figures come from IHS iSuppli, which did note the exact figure will depend on how long the plant remains closed.
Yesterday’s report, from China Times, reported that production would unlikely be impacted because the Shenzhen Foxconn plant would pick up any drop in production from the Chengdu plant. IHS however says that Shenzhen will struggle to make up for all of the lost output. It may even result in Apple missing the 7.4 million iPad 2 shipments that IHS iSuppli has forecast.
The Chengdu plant is said to produce 30% of all iPad 2s and some, including Mike Abramsky of RBC Capital Markets last week speculated that the impact could even be as large as a loss of production between 1.8 million and 2.8 million iPads. Whilst others such as Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee doesn’t believe the Chengdu shut down will have much of an impact at all on iPad 2 production, with other plants picking up the slack.
The explosion at the Chengdu Foxconn plant last week took 3 lives and injured 15 people, nine of which are still hospitalised. The exact cause of the explosion is still unknown but early signs point to inadequate venting leading to a build-up of highly explosive aluminium dust that combusted.
[Via Bloomberg Businessweek]