Apple plans to build 90 million next-generation iPhone units this year

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Next-generation iPhone 13 Pro concept is exactly what we’ve been hoping for
Apple seems to be expecting big things from "iPhone 13."
Photo: Ran Avni/ConceptsiPhone

Apple has tasked its manufacturing partners to deliver 90 million next-generation iPhone units by the end of 2021, according to a new report.

Scheduled to launch in September or October, the new lineup — which many refer to as “iPhone 13,” although the name remains unclear — is expected to be even more of a success than last year’s popular iPhone 12 models.

Apple’s suppliers built around 75 million iPhone 12 units in 2020 to cope with early demand for the new lineup. The company churned out the same number in previous years. But not this time.

Cupertino seems to be anticipating even greater demand for its next iPhone refresh, according to “people with knowledge of the matter.” So the company is increasing its orders as a result.

Apple orders 90 million ‘iPhone 13’ units

“Apple Inc. has asked suppliers to build as many as 90 million next-generation iPhones this year, a sharp increase from its 2020 iPhone shipments,” reports Bloomberg.

Will we see major changes to boost upgrade numbers? Probably not. The report adds, as we all expected, that the next iPhone refresh will be “more incremental.” Apple remains focused on improvements to processing power, camera performance and display quality for this year’s models.

The “camera upgrades will put the focus on more advanced video recording features such as improved optical zoom,” the report reads. “An upgraded system-on-chip, built around the same six cores as the current A14 chip, will also be included.”

And about that high-refresh-rate screen we’ve been waiting for?

“At least one of the new versions will have an LTPO (low-temperature polycrystalline oxide) display capable of alternating its refresh rate based on the content being shown,” the report says. This technology is already found in Apple Watch, helping to conserve battery life.

iPhone mini not dead yet

The next-generation iPhone lineup reportedly will not include a display-embedded fingerprint scanner. However, Apple has been testing this technology for future models.

We will see upgrades to all of the current models this year, the sources say. That includes the 5.4-inch iPhone — currently called iPhone 12 mini — despite suggestions the device hasn’t sold well. The four handsets reportedly bear code names D16, D17, D63 and D64.

The sources say they expect the design of each device to remain largely the same. However, there will be some subtle differences. Apple reportedly “plans to reduce the size of the front-facing camera and face unlock sensor cutout, or notch, to better match its rivals.”

Previous reports also claimed Apple might rearrange the rear-facing camera modules on certain iPhone 13 units.