digitimes.com

DigiTimes is a Taiwan-based website that shares rumors gleaned from Apple's asian supply chain, obtaining information from the suppliers who manufacture parts for iPhones and other Apple products.

DigiTimes' sources often provide reliable information, but the site has a mixed track record when it comes to interpreting that information and accurately deciphering Apple's plans. DigiTimes receives a flood of data from the Asian supply chain, some of which it claims pertains to prototypes or test products that never make it to market or change significantly before launch, skewing its accuracy.

It is often best to view DigiTimes rumors with some skepticism until the info is corroborated by additional sources, especially when it comes to rumors that seem particularly outlandish or implausible.

'digitimes.com' Articles

Intel Rumored to Debut Basin Falls Platform in May, Launch Coffee Lake Chips in August

Intel plans to move up the launch of its 14-nanometer Coffee Lake processors, introducing them in August of 2017 instead of January 2018. According to DigiTimes, the launch is being moved up because of "increasing competition from AMD's Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 processors." The site says Intel will release several K-series Core i3, i5, and i7 processors starting in August, along with its Z370 chipsets. Additional CPUs will come at the end of 2017 or early in 2018. Intel also plans to unveil its Basin Falls platform, with Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors at Computex 2017, which takes place from May 30 to June 3, which is two months earlier than originally scheduled. Intel's Skylake-X series features 140W processors with 6, 8, and 10-core architectures, while Kaby Lake X-series features a 112W quad-core processor. Intel also plans to release a 12-core Skylake-X processor in August. Intel's Basin Falls platform could potentially be used in future Mac Pro machines and the rumored high-end server-grade iMac. Coffee Lake chips appropriate for Apple machines were originally set to launch somewhere around the second quarter of 2018, so if rumors of Intel's updated timeline are true, the launch could be moved forward to either late 2017 or early in 2018. Coffee Lake chips are manufactured on Intel's 14-nanometer process and will be the fourth processor family to use the architecture after Broadwell, Skylake, and Kaby Lake. Apple is rumored to have new machines in the works for 2017, including new iMacs, which are likely to use Kaby Lake

'Apple Watch Series 3' Models Expected in Second Half of 2017 With September Launch Likely

The next-generation Apple Watch is scheduled to be released in the second half of 2017, according to supply chain newspaper DigiTimes. The timeline matches a Chinese-language Economic Daily News report that claimed new Apple Watch models will be unveiled in the third quarter of 2017, aka fall, with battery life and performance improvements. Apple Watch Series 2 models and slightly upgraded Series 1 models launched in September alongside the iPhone 7, so it is reasonable to assume that Series 3 models could launch in September as well. The original Apple Watch, now dubbed Series 0, launched in April 2015. In addition to a faster processor and longer battery life, cellular connectivity has been a long-rumored addition to the Apple Watch, and SIG analyst Christopher Rolland believes LTE capabilities could be included in Series 3 models. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also said LTE could be added as early as 2017. With a cellular connection, Apple Watch owners would not need a paired iPhone nearby to do things like make phone calls or stream Apple Music content, but a separate data plan from a carrier would likely be needed. Apple is also expected to switch to a glass-film touchscreen this year in place of the current touch-on-lens solution, but it is unclear if this change would have any obvious consumer-facing benefits. The overall design of the Apple Watch has not changed since the original models launched in April 2015, but one report yet to be substantiated claims Series 3 models will have few if any significant hardware changes. Apple has instead

Apple Has a Redesigned Fingerprint ID Solution For the iPhone 8

Apple is set to feature its own in-house developed integrated fingerprint ID technology in the OLED version of its next iPhone, according to a new report out on Friday. Apple's upcoming "iPhone 8" is expected to feature a virtual home button embedded in the display, but questions persist over the role of Touch ID in such a radical redesign, as conflicting reports from analysts, rumors of biometric alternatives, and Apple patents abound. Today, DigiTimes cited industry sources claiming that an Apple-designed "built-in fingerprint sensor device" is indeed on the way, and will replace the traditional capacitive touch technology known as Touch ID. Apple has selected neither Synaptics' Natural ID touch fingerprint sensor nor Qualcomm's Sense ID fingerprint technology for its new OLED iPhones, and decided to use its own Authentec algorithm combined with Privaris glass identification technology to redesign a new fingerprint ID solution, according to industry sources.Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensor technology originally came from AuthenTec, which Cupertino acquired in 2012, while the Privaris reference harks back to a patent portfolio Apple bought from the closed biometric security firm in June 2015 that included dozens of patents relating to fingerprint and touchscreen technology, including – in at least one example – the ability to use a touchscreen and fingerprint reader at the same time. DigiTimes has sources within Apple's supply chain, but it has a mixed track record at reporting on Apple's unannounced product plans, so this latest report should be treated

10.5-Inch and 12.9-Inch iPads May Not Ship Until May or June

The 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPads that Apple is expected to debut at a March event aren't expected to ship until May or June, supply chain sources tell DigiTimes. An entry-level 9.7-inch iPad, however, is expected to ship within close proximity of the March event. In January, DigiTimes reported that the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPads were expected to enter mass production in the Q2 of 2017 while the 9.7-inch iPad would enter mass production in Q1 2017. The potential release dates partly line up with a recent report from Mac Otakara, which said the 10.5-inch iPad may not be ready to ship until May. However, that report said the three other iPad models rumored to debut at the March event, new 7.9-inch, 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch iPads, are expected to ship in March. 12.9-inch iPad shipments have been drying up around the world in recent weeks, slipping to shipping estimates of 2-3 weeks in the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany and Japan. While increasing shipping times are a sign of an impending refresh, in this case it seems to be a supply issue. During Apple's latest earning call, CEO Tim Cook said that the company underestimated iPad demand in the past quarter and had an issue with one of its suppliers. Cook said the issue would probably not be resolved this quarter, likely leading to shriveling 12.9-inch iPad stock. Similarly, the supply issue could keep the refreshed 12.9-inch iPad from shipping before May. The new 10.5-inch model is expected to be the flagship model in Apple's new iPad lineup, sporting an edge-to-edge display on the same

New Touchscreen for 'Apple Watch Series 3' Said to Enter Production Later This Year

The tentatively named "Apple Watch Series 3" will feature a new glass-film touchscreen in place of the current touch-on-lens solution, with shipments to begin in the second half of this year, according to Taiwan-based DigiTimes. While it remains unclear if the switch to a film-based solution will have any obvious consumer-facing benefits, this is more interestingly the first rumor to surface about the supply chain ramping up for the next Apple Watch. The timeline matches a Chinese report last month that claimed the third-generation Apple Watch will be unveiled in the third quarter of 2017 with battery life and performance improvements. The report said Series 3 models, to be manufactured by Quanta, will lack any significant hardware changes. Few other details are known about the next Apple Watch models, which could feasibly launch alongside the "iPhone 8" in September. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and other sources have claimed the Apple Watch could gain an LTE chip for cellular capabilities as early as 2017, while a supply chain report last year said Apple may switch from OLED to micro-LED displays for the Apple Watch in the second half of 2017 at the earliest. Micro-LED displays have benefits such as thinness, lightness, improved color gamut, increased brightness, and higher resolutions. The panels do not require backlighting like traditional LCD displays, but they can be difficult and expensive to mass produce. Micro LEDs range in size from 1-micron to 100-micron. Apple has filed patents for a number of ideas that could eventually be included in

iPhone 7s Said to Keep Aluminum Design as iPhone 8 Gets Glass With Stainless Steel Frame

Apple's next-generation smartphone lineup this year will include a 4.7-inch iPhone with aluminum casing, 5.5-inch iPhone of an unspecified material, and all-new 5.8-inch iPhone with glass casing reinforced by a stainless steel frame, according to Taiwanese website DigiTimes, which keeps tabs on Apple's supply chain. iPhone 8 concept by visual designer Moe Slah The report, citing "sources from the upstream supply chain," claims the 5.8-inch model is expected to adopt an OLED display, and for that reason the smartphone is estimated to cost upwards of $1,000. DisplayMate Technologies outlined the several advantages of OLED display technology when it tested Samsung's Galaxy S7 last year. Namely, the displays are typically brighter and more power efficient than LCDs with better color accuracy, faster response times, wider viewing angles, and improved image sharpness. The trio of unreleased smartphones have commonly been referred to as the iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus, and iPhone 8, with the high-end model sometimes called the "iPhone X" instead in line with the smartphone's tenth anniversary this year. The smartphones are expected to launch in September per usual. While it is widely believed that Apple will release three new iPhone models this year, rumors surrounding the lineup have so far lacked consensus. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities and Japanese website Nikkei, for example, have both said that all three models will feature glass casing. Japanese website Mac Otakara, however, said the 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models will retain an aluminum design

iPhone 8 Said to Feature Iris Scanner to Authenticate With Your Eyes

Apple is widely rumored to launch a high-end iPhone with an edge-to-edge OLED display this year, which has been variously called the "iPhone 8" or "iPhone X" to commemorate the smartphone's tenth anniversary, and rumors suggest the device will an include iris scanner to authenticate with your eyes. iPhone 8 concept by visual designer Moe Slah Taiwanese website DigiTimes, citing unnamed "industry sources," claims the so-called "iPhone 8" will include an OLED display, wireless charging, and iris scanning technology, the latter of which would presumably enable iPhone users to unlock their device or use Apple Pay by authenticating with their eyes. A person's iris, or the circular colored muscle of the eye, contains a complex and random pattern that is unique to each individual. DigiTimes has sources within Apple's supply chain, but it has a mixed track record at reporting on Apple's unannounced product plans, so this latest report should be treated with a proverbial grain of salt. The publication previously said iPhones with iris scanning capabilities would not debut until 2018. DigiTimes previously cited a Chinese website that said 2017 iPhones will include iris scanning capabilities, but today's report is based on its own sources. The original report claimed Taiwan-based supplier Xintec, an affiliate of Apple manufacturer TSMC, would begin mass production of iris-recognition chips this year. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, one of the more reliable sources of iPhone rumors, believes Apple is leaning toward facial recognition technology rather than iris

New iPads Might Not Launch Until Sometime in the Second Half of 2017

Apple's new line of iPad models might not launch "until the second half of 2017," according to sources in the upstream supply chain speaking with DigiTimes. The new 9.7-inch iPad is predicted to enter mass production sometime in Q1 2017, while the 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad models will begin production in Q2 of this year. All of the new iPads are described as still being in the "planning" phase. Although it was expected for Apple to announce and launch the new iPads during the Spring, the new report claims that "these tablets may not be announced or even released" until sometime in the second half of 2017. In December, "lower-than-expected" yield rates for the 10-nanometer manufacturing process was rumored to be a potential factor in a delayed launch for the new iPads. Apple reportedly is planning three new tablets for 2017, a 9.7-inch iPad with a friendly price range, a 10.5-inch iPad, and an upgraded 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The products are still in planning, with the 9.7-inch model expected to enter mass production in the first quarter, and the other two in the second, according to sources from the related upstream supply chain. However, these tablets may not be announced or even released in the market until the second half of 2017, the sources said. In DigiTimes' report, the sources mentioned a 10.5-inch iPad, which is a size that was recently well-explained by Studio Neat designer Dan Provost as a logical choice for the middle-tier iPad. While multiple rumors placed the new iPad -- believed to be an iPad Pro -- somewhere in the 10-inch range, everything from a 1

Apple to Forge 'iPhone 8' Chassis Frame From Stainless Steel Instead of Aluminum

Apple is expected to adopt a forged stainless steel crafting process for its glass-encased "iPhone 8", rather than use traditional aluminum CNC machining. Taiwanese sources from the upstream supply chain apparently confirmed the transition on Tuesday, according to DigiTimes, with component orders expected to be shared between Foxconn and U.S.-based Jabil. Edge-to-edge iPhone concept image via ConceptsiPhone The next-generation iPhone is expected to abandon its conventional aluminum back cover design and will adopt a new design using two reinforced glass panes and a metal frame in the middle. The metal bezel will be made of stainless steel using a forging process to enhance its sturdiness and reduce costs and manufacturing time.The stainless steel process was last used by Apple in the iPhone 4s handset, which encased a "glass sandwich" chassis in two CNC-machined steel bands. However, every succeeding iPhone iteration has used aluminum because the alloy offers heightened structural rigidity while remaining relatively lightweight. Supply chain sources said the cost of the forging process is between 30 percent and 50 percent cheaper than the current unibody CNC machine process, while quality control is also more stable. Despite the switch, Apple is expected to continue outsourcing orders for internal structural parts to Catcher Technology and Casetek, because the stainless steel bezel will require further refinement using traditional CNC machining. Today's report supports recent rumors indicating at least one model of iPhone this year will have a redesigned

Foxconn Taking Advantage of Sharp Acquisition With OLED Production Line Set for Upcoming iPhones

Sharp is gearing up to help create OLED displays for the iPhone inside of Foxconn's "iPhone City" plant in Zhengzhou, China, according to a new report by Nikkei (via DigiTimes). Foxconn acquired Sharp in 2016, and soon after reports emerged that Foxconn would use its newly acquired investment in Sharp to become a major OLED supplier for Apple. Today's report points toward the OLED displays being manufactured for iPhone models further down the line than the upcoming 2017 model. Production on the Sharp line in the Foxconn plant is believed to begin "sometime in 2019," with around $864 million being spent on OLED production specifically for upcoming iPhones. Sharp plans to invest JPY100 billion (US$864 million) to set up an OLED production line at Foxconn Electronics' factory in Zhengzhou City, northern China, with production to begin in 2019, according to Japan-based Nikkei. As Foxconn produces iPhones at the factory, the OLED capacity is believed to be specifically for supplying OLED panels for upcoming iPhone models. According to recent rumors, Apple will launch at least one iPhone model with an OLED screen in 2017. From there, the actual design of the OLED screen has been conflicting, including reports that the screen will wrap around the edges of the device, or potentially a more traditional screen that still eliminates the bezels but includes a stainless steel frame. Because OLED displays are more difficult to produce in mass quantities, in comparison to LCD displays, Apple's suppliers will be unable to meet the company's production capacity for the 2017

AirPods Supplier Increasing Production Capacity Due to Strong Demand

AirPods manufacturer Inventec is planning to expand production capacity for the wireless headphones in the wake of high consumer demand during the holiday season. In a new report by China's Economic Daily News (via DigiTimes), the supplier is rumored to have begun expanding capacity in a few of its Shanghai plants. The report noted that Inventec has recently started expanding capacity at its Shanghai plants in order to satisfy increasing demand for the earphones and the plants are currently working overtime to deliver orders. After the AirPods went on sale on December 13, the headphones quickly slipped to shipping estimates from 4 weeks and then to 6 weeks. Thanks to positive initial impressions from the first group of customers, and increased fervor to purchase the AirPods for the holidays, many users began seeking ways to buy the headphones before Christmas, including third-party retailers like Best Buy and Target. Estimated arrival dates have improved for many customers who were placed with lengthy month-long shipping estimates at first, and it appears that Inventec intends to continue to meet customer demand by "working overtime to deliver orders." This week, Apple CEO Tim Cook called the AirPods "a runaway success," commenting on the fact that "we're making them just as fast as we can" so as many of its fans can get a pair of the headphones as soon as possible. Overall, Cook said that Apple has had "a great

Samsung Again Rumored to Be Exclusive Supplier of 5.8-Inch OLED Displays for 2017 iPhone

Samsung Display has again been rumored as the exclusive supplier of OLED panels for the 2017 iPhone, according to new claims made by sources in the Taiwan supply chain (via DigiTimes). Back in April, The Korea Herald reported that Samsung would supply Apple with OLED panels in 2017, furthering rumors from as early as January that Apple and Samsung were in talks for an OLED manufacturing partnership. Next year's iPhone is said to come in 4.7-inch, 5.5-inch, and 5.8-inch sizes, with the last model believed to be the only iPhone with an OLED display. The OLED version's actual touch-sensitive screen real estate may in fact be closer to 5.5-inches, or possibly 5.1- and 5.2-inches, if the rumor of a curved display is true. Samsung's current estimates place the company at manufacturing 20 million units per month, according to the supply chain sources. The company's shipments of OLED units are estimated to reach 590 million by 2019. As for benefits, OLED screens can be brighter, clearer, and lead to more energy efficient iPhones. Samsung Display will become the exclusive supplier of AMOLED panels for use in Apple's new iPhone devices to be launched in 2017 and can supply 20 million units in maximum a month, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers. Apple will launch 4.7-, 5.5- and 5.8-inch new iPhone models in second-half 2017, with TFT-LCD panels to be used in the former two models and AMOLED for the 5.8-inch one, the sources said. Global shipments of the AMOLED iPhone in 2017 are estimated at 60-70 million units, the sources noted. In a separate DigiTimes report

Rumored March 2017 iPad Update in Question Due to Poor Chip Yield Rates

Sources in Apple's supply chain are suggesting that "lower-than-expected" yield rates for the 10-nanometer manufacturing process could "disrupt the schedule" of next year's iPad launch, previously rumored to be coming in March 2017 (via DigiTimes). Specifically, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and Samsung are said to be facing the biggest issues with their 10nm processes, and TSMC's in turn has the potential to delay production for the A10X chips in the next-generation of iPads. Apple typically sticks to the same manufacturing process for "X" labeled chips, and the current-generation A10 chip was crafted using the 16-nanometer process. The move to a more efficient 10nm chip in a new iPad line, while still unconfirmed, would go towards making the tablet more power efficient and able to fuel a speedier operating system experience for users. TSMC has reportedly obtained 10nm chip orders from Apple, HiSilicon and MediaTek, with volume production set to kick off in the first quarter of 2017. Nevertheless, yield rates for TSMC's 10nm process technology are not what the foundry expected, the sources said. TSMC is scheduled to start making Apple's A10X chips for the next-generation iPad series slated for launch in March 2017. Unsatisfactory yields for the foundry's 10nm process could disrupt the schedule, the sources indicated. Recent rumors suggest that the 2017 line of iPads will include three models: refreshed 9.7-inch and 12.9-inch versions, along with an all-new bezel-free 10.9-inch model. The new bezel-free model is said to be a thicker iPad at 7.5mm (the

Apple Tells Suppliers to Expect Strong MacBook Pro Shipments Going into 2017

Apple has told part and component manufacturers of its new MacBook Pro line-up to expect strong shipments to last until at least the end of 2016, according to sources in the upstream supply chain (via DigiTimes). Apple is reportedly optimistic about fourth-quarter sales of its new notebooks and expects MacBook Pro shipments to maintain the same level going into 2017, said the sources, while related revenues and profits are all projected to enjoy growth next year. The same sources noted that Apple was initially not very aggressive about placing new MacBook Pro orders and was also said to have delayed the product shipment schedule by a calendar quarter, due to low yield rates for some components including hinges, battery and keyboard. Apple's stance changed after the October launch, however, and some market analysts now expect MacBook Pro shipments to reach 15 million units in 2016, with shipments staying at that level in 2017. Meanwhile, Taiwanese ODM manufacturer Wistron has reportedly landed orders for the OLED Touch Bar strip used in Apple's higher tier notebooks, according to a report in the Economic Daily News (EDN), summarized by DigiTimes. The Chinese language daily quoted market watchers who said that the keyboard is hard to build and its original Singapore-based supplier was having difficulties meeting Apple's demand, prompting Apple to transfer orders to Wistron. The delayed launch of the new MacBook Pros was partly because of low yields of the keyboards, but shipments are starting to pick up as yield rates improve, said EDN.

Apple Hikes Order Volumes for iPhone 7 Parts in Wake of Samsung Recall

Apple has reportedly hiked orders for parts and components required for the production of the upcoming iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, according to sources from the supply chain in Taiwan (via DigiTimes). Apple shipped on average 30 million iPhone 6s units a month in the second half of 2015. The company originally predicted shipments of the iPhone 7 this year would reach only 60 percent of that number over the same period, but supply chain sources are today reporting that Apple has boosted its original prediction by 10 percent. Dummy mockups of iPhone 7 handsets The hike in order volumes suggests Apple is increasingly upbeat about demand for the new devices among existing iPhone owners seeking to upgrade, despite relatively subdued interest in the iPhone 7 models compared to the pre-launch buzz of previous years. Another potential factor in Apple's upward revision is Samsung's global recall of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone last week, which followed numerous complaints that the device caught fire while charging. The news arguably couldn't have come at a worse time for Apple's biggest rival, which has pitched its Note 7 as a direct competitor to Apple's 5.5-inch iPhones. Samsung has already voluntarily pulled its flagship device from 10 countries, including South Korea and the U.S. Target has reportedly stopped selling the phone, while Amazon and Best Buy have also said they are no longer selling the Note 7. In the latest blow, Consumer Reports has called for an official recall which would make it illegal to sell the phones in the U.S. Samsung has told customers it

Next Year's iPhone Said to Include Iris Scanner to Authenticate With Your Eyes

Apple is planning to include iris scanning capabilities on the tenth-anniversary iPhone launching in 2017, according to a Chinese-language MoneyDJ report translated by DigiTimes. The latter website, citing supply chain sources, previously said the feature would not debut on iPhones until at least 2018. An iris scanner could complement or replace Touch ID as a way to verify a user's identity, enabling iPhone users to unlock their smartphone, make payments, and more by authenticating with their eyes. A person's iris, or the circular colored muscle of the eye, contains a complex and random pattern that is unique to each individual. An iris scanner on a smartphone would not be unprecedented, as Samsung included one on the new Galaxy Note7 released earlier this month. Taiwan-based supplier Xintec, an affiliate of Apple manufacturer TSMC, will begin mass production of iris-recognition chips in 2017, likely in an effort to secure orders from Apple and other smartphone vendors next year:Xintec is expected to enter mass production for iris-recognition chips in 2017, which will boost the backend house's revenues for the year, the report cited market watchers as saying. New orders for iris-recognition sensors include those for the chips that will be embedded in the 2017 series of iPhone, the watchers were also quoted in the report.Xintec said the company does not comment on rumors or speculation about specific products or customer orders. Based on rumors, Apple's tenth-anniversary iPhone is shaping up to be a more significant upgrade compared to the iPhone 7 series

Apple May Use OLED Only Briefly Until Micro-LED Displays Are Ready

While several rumors point towards Apple releasing its first iPhone models with OLED displays next year, the head of LCD manufacturer Innolux Wang Jyh-chau believes that OLED is unlikely to fully replace LCD technology in terms of performance-cost ratio and reliability long term, according to DigiTimes. Instead, a new display technology called Micro-LED could eventually replace LCD to become the mainstream display technology, as noted by Innolux vice president and mobile product general manager Yang Hung-wen.In response to market speculation that Apple will adopt OLED for its new iPhone to be launched in 2017, Innolux vice president and mobile product general manager Yang Hung-wen indicated that in order for product differentiation, Apple is likely to do so but it is uncertain whether it will be on a long-term basis, especially when Apple is developing Micro LED on its own.Apple reportedly opened a secret laboratory in northern Taiwan last year to develop thinner, lighter, brighter, and more energy-efficient displays for future iOS devices, recruiting talent from local display maker AU Optronics and Qualcomm subsidiary SolLink. The report described the new displays as more advanced versions of LCDs currently used in iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other devices. A subsequent report said Apple may be developing Micro-LED technology at the factory following its acquisition of Micro-LED company LuxVue Technology in 2014. In December 2013, LuxVue raised $25.2 million in funding to pursue the display technology, and the company also filed several Micro-LED patents. At the

Taiwan Component Makers Refuse to Lower Quotes For iPhone 7 Parts

Apple's demand that overseas suppliers lower their quotes for iPhone 7 parts and components has been met with resistance from makers, according to Taiwanese website DigiTimes. Apple is said to have asked downstream part and component suppliers, excluding TSMC and Largan Precision, to reduce their quotes for iPhone 7 devices by as much as 20 percent, even though order volumes for new phones are reportedly 30 percent lower than those placed a year earlier. Apple is reportedly using the rising handset supply chain in China to force Taiwan-based companies to make their quotes more competitive. However, DigiTimes suggests Apple's policy of squeezing out profits from Taiwan suppliers "makes no sense" because "the quality of products rolled out by Taiwan- and China-based suppliers is standing at different levels". Whether or not quality is an issue, major downstream suppliers including Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) and associated companies under the Foxconn Group have told Apple that they cannot accept orders without reasonable profits. Apple reportedly chose to exclude TSMC and Largan from its demands because the company is finding it hard to find alternatives that offer foundry services or high-end camera modules, respectively. Meanwhile, ASE has seen its business grow steadily in recent years and optimized its advanced packaging technology by expanding its client base through a merger agreement with fellow company Siliconware Precision Industries (SPIL). Foxconn Group, for its part, has acquired Japan-based Sharp, which will reportedly keep its

256GB Storage Rumor Gaining Steam as iPhone 7 Launch Approaches

iPhone users that elect not to use iCloud storage will be pleased to learn that another source has thrown its weight behind at least one iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus model having 256GB of flash storage. DigiTimes, citing industry sources, is the latest to claim the iPhone 7 will feature up to 256GB of storage, corroborating previous reports from Chinese website MyDrivers and Taiwanese research firm TrendForce.NAND flash vendors have increased chip prices citing strong demand for new smartphones particularly the iPhone 7 featuring up to 256GB of storage, according to industry sources. Prices will keep soaring until the fourth quarter of 2016.In July, The Wall Street Journal confirmed the iPhone 7 will start with 32GB of storage, replacing the infamous 16GB base tier offered since the iPhone 3GS. Accordingly, the new storage options for the iPhone 7 could be 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB, but it remains unclear if the 256GB tier will be exclusive to the larger 5.5-inch model as some sources have indicated. The current storage options for both the iPhone 6/6 Plus and iPhone 6s/6s Plus series include 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB, with the 16GB base model in particular drawing the ire of some customers who have long hoped for a larger capacity at the entry-level price point. This year, it appears that Apple has finally acknowledged the desire for larger storage tiers at both the top and bottom of its iPhone

3GB of RAM Again Rumored for Next iPhone, Likely 5.5-Inch Model Only

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has twice claimed the next 5.5-inch iPhone, tentatively referred to as the iPhone 7 Plus, will carry 3GB of RAM for improved performance, and now DigiTimes echoes that in a new report.Increasing built-in memory capacity at next-generation smartphones, including new iPhone devices, will further ramp up demand for memory products in the third quarter, said sources, noting that the mobile DRAM capacity of the next-generation iPhone is expected to increase to 3GB from 2GB previously.The report stops short of specifying whether the 4.7-inch, 5.5-inch, or both iPhone 7 models will have 3GB of RAM, but in general it will mark an increase over the 2GB of RAM in the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone SE. DigiTimes has a mixed track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming product plans, but its supply chain sources have provided accurate information on occasion in the past, and the rumor is backed by the more credible Kuo. The increased RAM should prove valuable given the camera improvements expected with the new iPhones, including a dual-lens system on the 5.5-inch model. Deutsche Bank has also thrown its weight behind the 3GB of RAM rumor, although its prediction is likely based on Kuo rather than independent