updated 10:36 am EDT, Mon August 12, 2013
Initial run may be limited to 3-4 million units
Initial production of the iPhone 5S may reach only 3 to 4 million units in the current quarter, compared an earlier plan for 10 million, industry sources claim. The issue is said to be the phone's fingerprint sensor; while it was reportedly going to start production at TSMC in May, and then head to packaging at Xintec, Apple has allegedly need further work on integrating the part with iOS 7. Xintec, meanwhile, is said to be returning low yields.
A team of engineers from Apple and TSMC have allegedly been sent to Xintec to help. The sources add, furthermore, that Apple's supply chain should be able to start volume production of fingerprint chips at the end of August. Thanks to better sensor supplies, production of the 5S is forecast to escalate to between 28 and 30 million units in the fourth quarter.
Apple's exact plans for the fingerprint tech it acquired from AuthenTec are unknown. On a basic level, it could be used to quickly unlock an iPhone (or other iOS device) without having to enter a passcode. It could also be used to enable multiple user accounts though, or support secure mobile payments if it's paired with an NFC chip and an app like Passbook.