Sources reportedly familiar with Apple’s plans say that the company’s suppliers are ready to start production of the iPhone 5 as early as July, contradicting reports that Cupertino-based company had not yet issued the production roadmap for its next-gen smartphones.
The most recent speculation and rumors centering around Apple’s iPhone 5 said production would begin in September, as Apple was struggling to rack up components not only for its new iPhone, but for the iPad 2 as well.
The lack of an iPhone 5 roadmap was seen as a clear indication that there were no immediate plans to manufacture the new phone, sources talking to Asian publication Digitimes indicated last week.
Around the same time, analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities told investors, “Apple is keeping its iPhone 5 cards extra close to the vest on this launch to avoid a falloff in iPhone 4 demand ahead of a refresh, especially given the February launch of the CDMA iPhone 4 with Verizon.”
While Reuters now reports that “Apple suppliers [are] to start production of [the] next-gen iPhone in July and Aug, with shipping estimated around September.”
A more extensive report from the agency specifically cited three unidentified people familiar with the matter as saying that the new handset will look pretty much the same as the current iPhone 4, though it will boast a faster processor.
That processor is, most likely, the A5 dual core chip with 9 times the graphical output power of its predecessor (A4) currently found in the iPhone 4, iPod touch 4th generation, and the original iPad.
The A5 debuted this year inside the iPad 2 and, just like last year, the iPhone refresh will most likely see some of the tablet’s inner workings ported over to the smartphone.
Vincent Chen, an analyst at Yuanta Securities, said that Apple sources many of its components from Taiwan-based suppliers, many of whom are expected to benefit from an uptick in sales as some of them rely on the U.S. company for about 20-40 percent of their business.
“For some suppliers, Apple is their cash cow, or their bread and butter,” Mr. Chen said. “With all these versions being launched so frequently, it will be the so-called low-margin suppliers, such as those that assemble the phones, who will benefit the most.”
Suppliers to the new iPhone 5 include camera module maker Largan Precision Co Ltd, touchscreen panel maker Wintek Corp and case maker Foxconn Technology Co Ltd, two of the people said.
The iPhone is Apple’s most successful product, with more than 16 million sold in the last quarter of 2010 and the product accounted for more than a third of the company’s sales in the quarter.
The current iPhone 4 was launched by Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs in June last year and began shipping the same month in 2010.