Apple is reportedly teaming up with new suppliers to boost production of the iPhone 5c and the iPad mini to meet strong consumer demand, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Wistron Corp., a manufacturer based in Taiwan that already produces smartphones for BlackBerry and Nokia, will be tasked with assembling the iPhone 5c; while Compal Communications, which currently works with Acer, Dell, Lenovo, and others, will manufacturer the iPad mini.
It’s been a stagnant year so far for new Apple product announcements, and Foxconn, Apple’s biggest manufacturing partner, is starting to feel the pitch: sales are down 12.6 this year, against a target of 15% growth. And in response, Foxconn’s looking to become a lot less dependent upon Apple, who generated 60 percent of the company’s 2012 $100 billion in revenues.
Being in business with Apple can’t be all that bad right now. Despite a report this morning that claimed Apple’s suppliers experienced weak sales in February, there are a few Apple suppliers that are hiring more employees to meet demand.
Sharp has this morning announced a ¥10.4 billion ($112 million) investment from Samsung that will provide the latter with a 3% stake in the company. It makes Samsung the biggest individual shareholder in the Japanese display maker, and secures its access to Sharp’s LCD panel supplies.
The investment comes at a time when Sharp has been struggling. The company received a $4.4 billion bailout from the banks in October 2012, and its iPad display orders from Apple were recently cut as consumer demand shifted to the smaller iPad mini, which Sharp is not involved with.
Apple is said to be preparing three new iPhone handsets for launch during 2013, two of which will appear in June, China Times reports. In addition to a slightly updated iPhone 5S, the Cupertino company is expected to unveil the “iPhone Math,” a larger device with a 4.8-inch display. Both devices are to offer improved internals and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera.
Apple’s much-anticipated television set has entered its initial testing phase at Hon Hai Precision Industry, a company source has revealed. It’s expected to feature a display between 46 inches and 55 inches in size, and shipments are likely to be “huge.” Don’t expect to have one in your living room anytime soon, however; it doesn’t look like it’s going to get its grand unveiling during 2013.
The success of the iPhone hasn’t been a huge money maker for just Apple. Component manufacturers make a killing off it as well because it means they’re able to sell millions of units for each iPhone launch as Apple gogbles up all available supply.
While Apple’s relationship with Samsung as a components supplier has become strained, other companies are ready to join the fight and invest some serious moolah to help Apple and secure better contracts themselves. Sharp, seeing a big opportunity, says they may invest $1 Billion into their plant to boost capacity for Apple’s iPhone displays.