updated 07:50 am EDT, Fri July 1, 2011
iPhone 5 and even iPad 3 production starting up
The earliest phases of production for the iPhone 5 and supposedly the iPad 3 are underway, part suppliers maintained Friday. Suppliers are reportedly gathering materials now with the expectation that full-scale assembly and shipments will start in both for August with releases on or before October. Despite rumors, just one completely new iPhone was claimed by Digitimes' sources to be on tap, while the iPad 3 may have a 2048x1536 display that would crest a pixel density of 250DPI, even as it goes thinner and lighter.
Although iPhone 5 production would be due in "small volumes" in August, about six million to seven million would be produced in the summer, suggesting any limited August run-up would be followed by rapid scaling in September. Total iPhone production might be capped at 20 million in the summer. iPad 3 volume wasn't mentioned, but having a surprise new model could be the key to breaking past common estimates of 40 million iPads shipping in 2011, according to the tipsters. It may peak at 11 million to 12 million with trouble bringing the newer Foxconn plant at Chengdu up to speed.
Part suppliers in the mix, beyond final assembly at Foxconn, already include battery makers Simplo and Dynapack, touchscreen panel producers TPK and Wintek, Catcher for the main body, and Largan Precision for camera lenses.
The rumors if true would imply a slightly later start for the iPhone 5 than first thought, with most having narrowed it to September. Talk has persisted of an early iPad release, but it would still come as a relative surprise for a company often locked rigidly to a yearly iOS device update cycle. Many suspect Apple is determined not to let Android repeat in tablets the success it had in phones and that it may have a model with a faster, possibly quad-core processor and the ultra-dense display to give it an edge over competitors that might have their own faster hardware ahead of Apple's usual schedule.