updated 10:40 pm EST, Mon January 24, 2011
Pegatron already locked for iPhone 5 production
Pegatron has already earned enough trust from Apple to start manufacturing the iPhone 5, part makers said Monday night. The company is due to make at least 10 million to 12 million CDMA iPhone 4 units but has reportedly been picked for an initial iPhone 5 order of "at least" 10 million units. The time interval for making the new devices wasn't mentioned by Digitimes' insiders, but production might start in May.
The former ASUS manufacturing wing isn't expected to be alone in making the iPhone 5. Earlier talk since corroborated by the Verizon iPhone's appearance has suggested that Pegatron will share the manufacturing duties with Apple's longstanding manufacturer Foxconn and thus that the initial batch of iPhone 5 units could be much larger.
Pegatron's involvement supports notions that the 2011 iPhone redesign will support CDMA from the start, though it's not yet certain whether that involves a dual-mode chipset with GSM included.
In making the nearer term, CDMA-only iPhone, Pegatron may be taking extreme steps to meet Apple's order requests. Company chairman TH Tung has supposedly gone against tradition and won't stop for the Lunar New Year. Instead, employees due to work that period at the Shanghai factories making iPhones will be paid triple their usual rate. The demand is such that plants in Suzhou normally reserved for notebooks should handle some of the extra workload.
Neither Apple nor Pegatron is expected to confirm any production plans, but Apple during its latest fiscal results call noted that it was still selling every iPhone it could make beyond necessary inventory and could sell more if manufacturing could keep up. Having a second manufacturer will help offset that demand, particularly if a dual-mode CDMA/GSM model could let Apple ship the same model to any carrier.