Apple Inc’s suppliers are preparing to produce components for up to 75 million new iPhones in the second half of this year, roughly the same number as a year earlier, people familiar with the matter said.
The volumes planned for the next iPhone launch cycle would signal steady demand for the company’s most important product, despite US-China trade tensions and a decline in the overall smartphone market.
The company’s Asian suppliers are gearing up to produce components for three new iPhone models to meet holiday-season demand, said the people, who asked not to be identified citing internal estimates.
The US company’s Asian partners could ramp production up to 80 million new iPhones if needed, one of the people said.
Main iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) has stepped up hiring in Shenzhen, China, and is offering staff about 10 percent more than a year ago to secure a peak-period workforce, another person familiar with the matter said.
Apple has announced new iPhones each September since 2012 and the new models typically go on sale in the final weeks of that month.
Jeff Pu (蒲得宇) at GF Securities (Hong Kong) Brokerage Ltd (廣發證券香港) estimated that shipments of newly released iPhones would rise to 74 million in the second half, up about 7 percent from his estimate of 69 million last year, while TF International Securities Group Co (天風國際證券) analyst Kuo Ming-chi (郭明錤) forecast that Apple would sell 75 million to 80 million new iPhones in the second half of last year.
This year’s volumes might signal stabilization after a year of uncertainty, although that is a far cry from the double-digit growth numbers of years past.
Of course, that Apple suppliers plan to produce parts for 75 million new iPhones does not necessarily mean the company will sell that many.
Apple would assess sales after launch and the total shipments might not reach that mark.
The company declined to comment.
Apple is struggling with soft smartphone demand as people take longer to replace their gadgets and Chinese rivals like Huawei Technologies Co (華為) grab market share.
The US-China trade dispute is also denting Chinese economic growth while souring consumers there on US brands.
Analysts have been betting on a 13.3 percent drop in iPhone shipments to roughly 189 million in this fiscal year, average projections compiled by Bloomberg showed.
The major attraction in this year’s models lies in enhanced cameras: The two high-end models to replace the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are reportedly to include three back cameras, up from two, and a successor to the iPhone XR is to include a second back camera.
The third camera would serve as an additional ultra-wide lens, Bloomberg News reported in January, allowing the smartphone to automatically repair parts of an image that might be initially chopped out of a frame. It would also enable a wider range of zoom.
All three new models are also to include faster A13 processors built by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), Bloomberg News reported in May.
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