We haven’t heard from our friends at Foxconn for a little while, so it seems appropriate that we check in at the beginning of this month to see what Apple and company are up to. According to Total Telecom, Apple is prepping to build a new $100 million production plant for iPhones, while renting a temporary production line for 500 Foxconn employees during the factory’s construction.
Computerworld speculates that a new factory would make sense if Apple was to produce something like the Verizon iPhone, instead of iPhones in general.
What I guess I’m arguing is to ask if there’s a possibility the rented production line might be a skunk works project by Apple and its key manufacturing partner to begin development of production processes designed for a future model of iPhone. […] renting a production line offers flexibiliy, as well as security.
That’s because it enables the partners to test out new manufacturing processes and methods, bringing in whatever specialist equipment may be required, experimenting with production processes until the requirements of the final production line are identified.
Product development being what it is, the plant could conceivably be involved in developing processes for an iPhone equipped with NFC sensors, particularly given that AT&T and Verizon are planning a venture to replace credit and debit cards with smartphones, taking on Visa and MasterCard.
I agree that a new factory would indicate Apple would be preparing to develop something new rather than to simply ramp up production at the mercy of suppliers – I’d be interested in whether this would result in the fabled Verizon iPhone.