Apple suppliers to start making larger iPhones in China next month

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 June, 2014, 4:54pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 June, 2014, 7:11pm

Apple’s suppliers will begin producing larger versions of the iPhone in China next month, Bloomberg reported citing sources.

Apple is ramping up production of iPhones with 4.7 and 5.5-inch screen sizes, which may be shipped to retailers around September, the report said.

Apple launches new versions of the smartphone line that drives half its business around the fall of every year.

The industry has speculated for some time now that Apple intends to design and sell a device with a larger screen, to fend off Samsung phones with much bigger displays that have proven popular in Asia and elsewhere.

Hon Hai Precision Industry will recruit over 100,000 people in mainland China to produce the newest iPhone from Apple, Taiwan’s Economic Daily News reported on Monday, in what the report called the firm’s largest single hiring spree in China.

Fellow Taiwanese contract manufacturer Pegatron will also expand its workforce in one mainland factory by 30 per cent, in response to expected high demand for the new iPhone.

The iPhone 5S, Apple's current largest phone at 4 inches, is notably smaller than the Samsung Galaxy S4, which measures 5 inches, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, with a 5.7 inch screen.

In February Apple repurchased US$14 billion worth of its stock after announcing disappointing first-quarter results.

It originally said it intentionally kept smartphone screens small to fit comfortably in a user's hand, but since then the iPhone 5C has suffered poor sales numbers, its competitors have more or less all upgraded to larger devices, and China, the world's largest smartphone market, has been rapidly snatching up Samsung phones.

Insiders say the iPhone 6 will have a flat screen, made entirely from scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass. Sapphire crystal, second to diamond as the hardest material, is now used by Apple for its iPhone camera lens cover and touch identification.

The arrival of sapphire means a dramatic increase in the cost of making an iPhone, as sapphire is far more expensive than the present Gorilla Glass, but it remains unknown whether the price of a single iPhone will go up.

Apple was not immediately available for comment outside regular US business hours.