Apple Leasing Equipment to Suppliers to Make Sure Key iPhone 8 Components Get Made

Apple recently purchased expensive production equipment to produce the rigid flexible printed circuit board for the iPhone 8, reports The Korea Herald. Apple doesn't plan to use the equipment itself, but is instead leasing it to suppliers to ensure it can get the components it needs for the iPhone 8 amid rumors of production difficulties.

The equipment cost Apple "tens of millions of dollars" and will be used to create the aforementioned circuit boards, which are a key component that connect parts like the iPhone's display and camera. A rigid flexible printed circuit board (or RFPCB), which combines both flexible and rigid technologies in a single board to conserve space, is reportedly more difficult to produce than standard rigid or flexible PCBs.

iPhone 7 logic board, image via iFixit

Apple made the purchase after one of three suppliers it planned to source parts from backed out of the deal. Interflex and Youngpoong Electronics, two Korean companies, are said to be producing the components going forward.

"One of the three suppliers recently decided to back out," a source told ET News on condition of anonymity, saying that the supplier is a Taiwanese manufacturer.

The exact reason why the Taiwanese supplier withdrew from the deal with a big client Apple was not revealed. But sources say the firm may have felt a pinch on the tricky production and strict quality requirements along with low profitability.

With one supplier pulling out of the deal, Apple decided to make sure the remaining suppliers can meet capacity. "To fill the loss, Apple is supporting the other two suppliers, both Korean, to beef up production," said The Korea Herald's source.

Rumors have suggested Apple is struggling to produce several of the new iPhone's components, including the 3D sensor and the display lamination process, which many analysts believe is going to lead to some delay in production ramp up.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who often accurately predicts Apple's plans, believes production ramp up could be delayed by a month or two, which means the iPhone 8 could be available in limited quantities with Apple unable to meet demand until late in 2017 or early in 2018.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
42 months ago
What on earth is 'rigid flexible'?
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
42 months ago

Can't blame the editors. Seems the term has been in use for quite some time. This manufacturer page explains it: http://www.flexiblecircuit.com/product-category/rigid-flex/

This. "Rigid flex" is a hybrid circuit board built as one unit with both rigid and flexible sections. Like:



See post #23 for why.

Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
42 months ago
Apple's stock will take a temporary hit if the iPhone 8 launch is delayed. Apple stock will take a huge, long term hit if it is launched, and it sucks.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
42 months ago

Is it possible there could be a delay, yes. But to label the launch in trouble or a train wreck, seems far fetched to say that yet. Apple wouldn't put themselves in a position where the iPhone would not launch accordingly without reason. I Think these rumors have tendencies to skew ones thinking of what we really understand when it comes to production and what someone tends to believe is reality .

But ultimately, I would rather have there be a delay to ensure this new iPhone is manufactured properly versus having it be a complete debacle. I think Apple would feel the same, as it's their goal to deliver the best possible product.

Agree. "Nothing is F'd here, Dude."
Ready to deliver or not, [at the keynote] they'll definitely show us a gorgeous new 8 video, talk features, demo working devices. And we'll all fall over ourselves and set our alarms to happily wake to place our orders. Grins on our faces.

While I'm here - I so miss the excitement and camaraderie that were the launch day lines. Of all the criticism slung Angela's way, that's the one I do think she got wrong. I feel some of Apple's soul died with that business decision. It was such a good time. A differentiator. An event whose optics - from a brand perspective - were immeasurable. Untouchable. Every local news station would send a crew to their Apple Store to cover the lines. Launch days are now so sterile. Uneventful. Like so much of our social media experience: solitary. Isolated. Waking at 3am to place an online order couldn't be any further removed from the launch day line experience. And the "convenience" argument just isn't worth it. For me. At all.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
42 months ago

Yup, noticed this too. I think many online publications have lost the concept of quality editing. They just want to rush content out to get hits. Sad.

And for them to use the words twice in the article... clearly the author doesn't understand what "rigid" means, unless it means something other than what we all think it does?

Maybe Apple has invented something new??? haha

I did not make up the term "rigid flexible." It's what this particular PCB is called. It's an "RFPCB," or "rigid flexible printed circuit board." As someone already explained, it's a PCB that uses both flexible and rigid technologies for better space management.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
42 months ago

What on earth is 'rigid flexible'?

It's an oxymoron. /s

You beat me to it. I was going to ask the same thing.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iOS 14 Widgets Offer iPhone Users Creative Home Screen Ideas

Sunday September 20, 2020 8:43 pm PDT by
Updated on September 22nd with hands on video. In iOS 14, Apple introduced ‌the concept of Home Screen‌ widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. Widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. Despite the relative lack of...

iPhone 12 Lineup Rumored to Be Named 'iPhone 12 mini,' 'iPhone 12,' 'iPhone 12 Pro,' and 'iPhone 12 Pro Max'

Monday September 21, 2020 5:24 am PDT by
Leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today shared the alleged naming for the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup on Twitter. The tweet proposes that the upcoming iPhone 12 models will be titled "iPhone 12 mini," "iPhone 12," "iPhone 12 Pro," and "iPhone 12 Pro Max." The names likely correspond to the three expected sizes of iPhone 12, with the 5.4-inch model being the iPhone 12 mini, the 6.7-inch model ...

PSA: New Apple Watch Owners Have to Return Entire Device for Ill-Fitting Solo Loop or Braided Solo Loop

Monday September 21, 2020 3:26 pm PDT by
With the Apple Watch Series 6, Apple introduced two new band options, the Solo Loop and the Braided Solo Loop. These new bands are unique because they have no clasps, buckles, or other fasteners, and instead use a stretch design to allow them to pull onto the wrist over the hand. Because these bands are not adjustable, Apple sells each one in nine different sizes to make sure each person...

Hands-On With iOS 14 Widgets, Custom Icons, and Home Screen Setup

Tuesday September 22, 2020 3:25 pm PDT by
Apple with iOS 14 introduced widgets on the Home Screen, leading to unprecedented levels of customization for the iPhone. Combined with Shortcuts that let you change an app's icon, iOS 14 lets you create a whole new look for your Home Screen. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We've been following along with some of the creative alternative Home Screen designs that M...

Apple Releases First Public Betas of iOS 14.2 and iPadOS 14.2 With New Shazam Control Center Options

Monday September 21, 2020 10:34 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first public betas of upcoming iOS 14.2 and iPadOS 14.2 updates to its public beta testing group, a few days after seeding the first betas to developers and a little less than a week after releasing the iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program can download the iOS and iPadOS‌ 14.2 updates over the air after ...

Microsoft Announces Outlook for Mac Redesign, Improvements to iOS and watchOS Apps

Tuesday September 22, 2020 8:56 am PDT by
Microsoft has today announced plans to bring a new design to its Outlook for Mac app along with several other improvements and features for Outlook on iOS and watchOS. In preparation for the public release of macOS Big Sur, Microsoft has been testing a new design for Outlook on Mac. The design includes Microsoft's Fluent icons and several design cues from Big Sur such as rounded corners....

Kuo: Apple to Accelerate Adoption of Mini-LED Displays in iPad and Mac Notebook Lineups

Sunday September 20, 2020 10:00 pm PDT by
Increased competition among Apple's suppliers for mini-LED display chips will accelerate the company's adoption of the advanced technology in its iPad and MacBook lineups, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo seen by MacRumors. Kuo says that while Epistar had been predicted to be the exclusive supplier of mini-LED chips for Apple products in 2021, Sanan Optoelectronics...

Interest in iOS 14 Home Screen Ideas Helps Pinterest Break Daily Download Record

Wednesday September 23, 2020 4:37 am PDT by
Apple's introduction of widgets on the Home Screen in iOS 14 has driven a surge in interest among users looking to customize their iPhone, and that has reportedly had a knock-on effect for Pinterest, whose iOS app has seen record downloads as users flock to its content seeking design inspiration. As reported by TechCrunch, App Store intelligence firm Apptopia was first to note the impact of ...

Apple Releases Eighth Beta of macOS Big Sur to Developers [Update: Public Beta Now Available]

Tuesday September 22, 2020 10:08 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the eighth beta of an upcoming macOS Big Sur update to developers for testing purposes, close to a week after releasing the sixth beta and more than two months after the new update was unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference. The macOS Big Sur beta can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center and once the appropriate profile is installed, subsequent betas...

AT&T Already Working on 6G, Says 5G iPhones Might Not Be 'Massive Event' Due to Economic Uncertainty

Monday September 21, 2020 10:05 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming launch of 5G iPhones might not be a "massive event" due to economic uncertainty amid the global health crisis, AT&T Communications CEO Jeff McElfresh said in a paywalled interview published by CNBC. "I do believe that you will see many of the iPhone subscribers move to upgrade to the device," said McElfresh. "But I wouldn't forecast that it's going to be a massive event. I...