As we near Apple’s annual fall keynote event, the supply chain is preparing to kick off volume production of this year’s iPhone lineup.
Apple has recently certified all major component suppliers for the 2018 devices, Taiwan-based Economic Daily News reported on Monday. Those suppliers have begun shipping components — including camera lenses, chassis and internal hardware — to Apple’s assembly partners.
Apple is largely expected to debut three new iPhones this year: a direct 5.8-inch OLED successor to the iPhone X; a so-called iPhone X Plus with a 6.5-inch OLED; and a mid-range 6.1-inch LCD iPhone.
As far as assemblers, Foxconn is largely expected to handle the lion’s share of iPhone production this year, according to a July report in The Taipei Times.
The longtime Apple partner will manufacture every single iPhone X successor this year, along with 90 percent of the 6.5-inch iPhone X Plus units and three-quarters of the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, according to an analyst report by Taipei-based Fubon Securities.
Pegatron will take on the remaining assembly orders, Fubon Securities added.
It’s not clear when Pegatron or Foxconn will begin mass production of the 2018 iPhones, though back in July, DigiTimes reported that the latter firm was already starting to hire more workers in preparation for the iPhone lineup.
For the Cupertino tech giant’s annual fall release, key assembly partners will typically begin ramping up production over the summer. Last year was no different, though production issues did delay the iPhone X release until early November 2017.
Renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has forecasted that all three 2018 iPhones will debut and launch in September.
Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty, on the other hand, said that the lower-cost 6.1-inch iPhone could be delayed to issues with LCD backlight leakage.
This year’s iPhone lineup is also expected to see a price drop. According to Kuo, the iPhone X successor will be priced between $799 to $899, the larger iPhone X Plus will occupy the $899 to $999 price tier, while the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone could start as low as $599 to $699.
Apple’s annual fall event usually takes place on a Tuesday or Wednesday before the second week of September. It’s also worth noting that this year’s keynote is rumored to be especially jam-packed with new hardware releases beyond iPhones.