Rumor: Apple to expand supply chain, add Wistron as manufacturer for new 4" iPhone

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Both longtime Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn and newcomer Wistron are expected to handle assembly of the company's forthcoming 4-inch iPhone revamp, according to a new supply chain report.

The diversification will allow Apple to "avoid risks," according to DigiTimes. It was said that Wistron will receive just a "small portion" of the 4-inch iPhone orders, while the bulk will still be handled by Foxconn.

Supply chain sources reportedly indicated that Apple is "looking to nurture Wistron to become an iPhone assembly house."

The partnership could set the stage for Wistron to handle some assembly of Apple's anticipated 5.5-inch "iPhone 7 Plus," again splitting share with Foxconn. Both Foxconn and Pegatron are expected to handle duties for the 4.7-inch "iPhone 7."

DigiTimes has a mixed track record in predicting Apple's future product plans, but its supply chain sources have supplied advance information on key partnerships in the past.

Apple is expected to hold an event on March 15 to unveil its new 4-inch iPhone, rumored to be called either the "iPhone 5se" or "iPhone 6c." It's rumored to launch just three days later, going on sale to the public on March 18.

The device is said to boast a metal-backed, curved-edge design similar to the current iPhone 6s with refreshed internals like an A8 or A9 processor and NFC support for Apple Pay.

Apple is also rumored to launch a new "iPad Air 3" in March with many of the features found in the iPad Pro, including the Smart Connector magnetic port and a four-speaker array. Leaked schematics also suggest the rear camera will gain an LED flash.