Apple Has Certified Key Suppliers of 2018 iPhones as Volume Production Set to Begin
Apple has successfully completed certification of key component suppliers for its widely rumored trio of 2018 iPhones, expected to be announced in September, according to Taiwanese publication Economic Daily News.
The report claims that these suppliers have begun shipping large quantities of camera lenses, metal chassis, and other components to larger manufacturers, including Foxconn, which is expected to assemble the majority of 2018 iPhones, according to Taiwanese research firm Fubon Securities.
In particular, Fubon Securities said Foxconn will assemble every second-generation iPhone X, 90 percent of units for the so-called iPhone X Plus, and 75 percent of units for an all-new, lower-priced 6.1-inch iPhone. Taiwanese manufacturer Pegatron is said to fulfill all of the remaining orders.
While the supply chain is clearly gearing up for 2018 iPhones, it's unclear when volume production of fully-assembled devices will begin. Foxconn recently began its seasonal hiring spree in preparation.
Foxconn typically ramps up manufacturing of new iPhones over the summer, for release in September, but last year was somewhat of an anomaly. While the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus launched in September, the iPhone X was delayed until November 3, reportedly due to TrueDepth sensor-related manufacturing challenges.
Back in June, oft-reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said all three 2018 iPhones will be both announced and available to order this September, but Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty recently cautioned that the 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD may not launch until October due to possible issues with backlight leakage.
Of course, the 6.1-inch iPhone could end up being available to order in September with a 4-6 week shipping estimate.
As far as pricing is concerned, Kuo expects the second-generation iPhone X to start at $799 to $899, the so-called iPhone X Plus to start at $899 to $999, and the 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD to start at $599 to $699.
If those price points prove to be accurate, we suspect the second-generation iPhone X would start at $899, with the iPhone X Plus taking over the $999 price point, and the 6.1-inch model serving as somewhat of a budget iPhone X with a $699 price tag — all, of course, based on base storage capacities.
Apple's usual September event will likely take place in almost exactly a month, so there isn't much longer until we know for certain.