Apple is preparing for the greatest-ever response to its introduction of a new iPhone.
The company—widely expected, in mid September, to introduce two sizes of a smartphone dubbed the iPhone 6 by the press—has placed orders with manufacturers for between 70 million and 80 million units, for delivery by year’s end, The Wall Street Journal reported July 22.
By contrast, Apple’s initial order for the iPhone 5S and 5C was between 50 million and 60 million units.
The Journal cited people familiar with the matter.
Earlier this month, investment firm Canaccord Genuity told investors that it also expects “record” sales of the iPhone 6.
Analyst T. Michael Walkley wrote in a July 10 research note that his team believes the response will be the result of the slowed pace of upgrades during the iPhone 5 and 5S product cycles, combined with the appeal of the larger displays.
Numerous reports, including Walkley’s, say the iPhone 6 will be offered with 4.7- and 5.5-inch display options.
“We believe there is strong pent-up demand for the new larger-screen iPhones,” wrote Walkley.
Apple could also be expecting a stronger response from consumers in China, where the Apple brand has tremendous cache but the 4-inch display on the iPhone 5S is out of sync with the trend.
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White, who has told investors to expect September to mark a new “year of innovation” for Apple, said the demand for large smartphone displays is far more pronounced in Asia than it is in the United States.
In Asia and especially the big cities in China, White told eWEEK, “If you don’t have a big display, you’re not even part of the game. Everyone has big phones. The iPhone sticks out like a sore thumb.”
In taking so long to grow the iPhone past 4 inches, White added, “They’ve really been at a disadvantage.”
During Apple’s July 22 earnings call, CFO Luca Maestri told analysts, “We are expecting a very busy fall, and we are excited about what we have in the pipeline.”
“Amazing that everyone knows a new iPhone is coming soon,” Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart Tweeted during the earnings call, “and Apple still sold over 35 million of them last quarter.”