Apple is shifting component makers for the iPhone 5, according to reports. Inevitable rumors about the next iPhone are already well underway.
While Apple's next-generation iPad seems to be drawing the
lion's share of speculation recently, rumors are also emerging about the
company's next iPhone.
Over the weekend, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News
reported that Apple had selected a handful of new companies as component builders for the iPhone 5, including Foxconn
Electronics and Foxlink. By shifting their manufacturing to Taiwanese and
Chinese vendors, in theory, Apple could
lower its iPhone fabrication costs.
"Foxconn will become the iPhone 5's new earphone supplier," DigiTimes reported
, paraphrasing the Economic Daily News' article. "Japan's Foster was
the previous supplier, but a strengthening yen has spurred Apple to look for
more cost-effective sources ... Foxlink will produce earphone jack sockets for
the iPhone 5."
Apple's traditional culture of secrecy, combined with the
popularity of its mobile products, usually results in a growing buzz ahead of each
new smartphone or tablet launch. Throughout the latter half of 2011, even as
Apple continued to focus on selling the iPhone 4, rumors began to circulate
about possible features of the iPhone 5.
In November, for example, the Financial Times
reported that the next
iPhone would not include a SIM card-contradicting earlier reports that Apple
was working with Gemalto, a SIM card manufacturer, to include just that very
thing. Meanwhile, blogs and analysts speculated that the iPhone 5 would include
from 3G-enabled FaceTime to an upgraded processor
The iPhone 4, launched in June 2010, fulfilled its buzz and
sales expectations. Despite some well-publicized issues with the smartphone's
exterior antenna rim, Apple executives suggested that early demand for the
device strained the company's manufacturing capacity. "My phone is ringing off
the hook for people who want more supply," COO Tim Cook told analysts and
investors listening to Apple's July 20 earnings call. "We're selling everything
we can make."
roadmap for the iPhone
-established over the past few years-generally
centers on a summer unveiling and launch for each successive version. But
Apple's recent unveiling of the CDMA-based
iPhone 4 on Verizon, breaking AT&T's exclusive hold on the device in the United States, could affect that roadmap; the
company could choose to upgrade both carriers' smartphones in June or else
stagger respective launches throughout the year.
Analysts generally seem to believe the Verizon deal will
massively benefit Apple; in a Jan. 11 note, research firm iSuppli forecast
shipments of some 12.1 million CDMA iPhones
through Verizon and other global CDMA wireless suppliers in 2011.