Apple has added a third manufacturer to its stable for the 2017-era iPhone 8, according to a new report.
The newcomer? Wistron, which previously gained experience as an Apple supplier on secondary iPhone handsets such as the iPhone 5s and, reportedly, the iPhone SE. It will join established Apple suppliers Foxconn and Pegatron working on the next-gen tenth birthday iPhone, which will likely launch next September.
While Wistron hasn’t commented publicly on the orders, it was recently noted that it is upping its investment in a plant based in Kunshan, China from $135 million to $200 million — and that this plant will focus on manufacturing mobile devices.
In all, Wistron is expected to generate combined revenues of $20.02 billion for 2016 (not just from Apple), with a gross margin of 5.05 percent.
Hedging its bets
If true, the move to welcome Wistron into the iPhone producing fold is no surprise — since in recent years Apple has been trying to use several different companies to manufacture each of its products as a way of lowering the risk of relying on one single supplier — while maximizing profits in the process.
Last year, there was talk that Apple had outsourced a small portion of its 4-inch iPhone SE orders to Wistron, looking to nurture the company to become an iPhone assembly house.
With the iPhone 8 likely to be Apple’s biggest upgrade since 2014’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus — with notable improvements set to include OLED displays, an all-glass enclosure and wireless charging — it makes sense that Apple would want as many hands on deck as possible. Besides, with iPhone sales falling, adding a new supplier gives Apple additional bargaining power.