Apple tells suppliers to prep 80 million 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch handsets

Apple tells suppliers to prep 80 million 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch handsets

By Dianne Depra

It looks like Apple is gearing up for its biggest iPhone launch yet, ordering 80 million units of the iPhone 6 from company suppliers to be fulfilled at the end of the year.

Orders are split between the 4.7- and 5.5-inch variants of the iPhone 6 and are highly suggestive of the confidence Apple has with regards to the release of their newest smartphones. When the iPhone 5S and 5C launched last year, only 50 to 60 million units were ordered. It may also be that Apple simply wants to avoid problems with supply, much like what it had to deal with when a surge of orders came in for the iPhone 5S. And just to be sure that the full 80 million will be fulfilled, it is reported that Apple has placed orders on components enough for 120 million units, anticipating failures during production.

Apple suppliers Foxconn and Pegatron are also getting ready to begin production by adding employees, beefing up assembly departments with 100,000 and 10,000 new additions, respectively. It is expected that production of the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will begin in July while the 5.5-inch version will start in August or September. Foxconn and Pegatron will be in charge of building the 4.7-inch version while Hon Hai will be assigned the 5.5-inch model exclusively. With the 4.7-inch model starting production sooner, it is assumed that the model will launch earlier than its 5.5-inch counterpart.

In addition, analysts are expecting on seeing the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 later in the year because it is possible for Apple to run into complications during production, with this model requiring a more complex manufacturing process. This is because in-cell display technology calls for touch sensors to be directly integrated into the display instead of an extra layer of touch sensors simply being added. And when sapphire glass is used, it will further complicate the assembly process.

News of Apple’s order quantity for the iPhone 6 comes just before the company reports on its third quarter earnings. Historically, the iPhone has played a key role in this figure, consistently accounting for more than half of Apple’s revenues. For this quarter, analysts estimate that nearly 36 million iPhones have been sold, representing an increase of almost 15 percent for the same quarter last year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The most iPhones were sold during the last holiday season in which the recorded selling 51 million units. If Apple’s projections are correct, last year’s record will be eclipsed by this year’s.