Monday, March 17, 2014, 10:39 pm PT (01:39 am ET)
Apple supplier Pegatron rumored to start 'iPhone 6' production in Q2A report out of the Far East on Tuesday claims Pegatron has started recruitment operations for a new plant in China that will supposedly start manufacturing Apple's next-gen iPhone in the second quarter.
Mockup of iPhone with 4.94-inch screen, created by Marco Arment.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, a China Times report claims Pegatron will start initial production of the so-called "iPhone 6" at its new facility in Kunshan sometime in quarter two. The plant is expected to reach full production capacity in the third quarter.
Pegatron will reportedly share iPhone 6 manufacturing duties with Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn, though each company's share of orders is unknown. The split is likely substantial, however, as the publication claims "thousands" of Pegatron workers will undergo training for the upcoming job.
Tuesday's rumor is in line with Apple's usual annual hardware cycle, which last year saw the release of iPhone 5s and 5c in September.
As Apple looks to diversify its supply chain, Pegatron has bolstered its position as an important cog in the manufacturing machine with responsibilities now expanded to the iPhone 5c and iPad mini. Thus far, however, all premium handsets like the current iPhone 5s have been handled exclusively by Foxconn.
It was around this time in 2013 that rumors of Apple's yearly iPhone plans began to circulate. At the time, reports from Asia predicted a two-pronged hardware update, accurately describing what would later be branded as the iPhone 5s and 5c.
Current rumors point to another two-device launch in 2014 that may bring another boost in screen size to Apple's popular smartphone lineup. After the original iPhone launched in 2007, Apple refused to change the handset's form factor for five years, sticking with a 3.5-inch display until the 4-inch iPhone 5 debuted in 2012. During that time, competitors looking for niche sales launched a variety of devices with ever-increasing screen sizes, ultimately culminating in "phablets" like the Samsung Note series.
In a report on Monday, analyst Brian Marshall of ISI group went so far as to say Apple's next iPhone hardware refresh could be the "motherlode of all upgrade cycles" if the company launches redesigned handsets to combat perceived "large screen envy." Marshall is looking for Apple to launch two handsets this fall, one with a screen size of 4.7 inches and another with a massive 5.5-inches display.
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