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

Apple Suppliers 'Gearing Up for Mass Production' of Updated iPad and AirPods

Companies in Apple's supply chain are reportedly "gearing up for mass production" of updated iPad and AirPods models, according to Taiwanese site DigiTimes. Flexible PCB firms Flexium Interconnect and Zhen Ding Technology are gearing up for mass production for Apple's next-generation iPad devices, while Compeq Manufacturing and Unitech PCB supply rigid-flex boards for the forthcoming AirPods, according to industry sources.The report says that both updates are expected to come at Apple's March 25 event, although reliable sources have indicated the event will focus on Apple's upcoming news and video services with no hardware announcements planned. Minor hardware updates could come silently alongside the event or via press release around the same time, as DigiTimes's insights via the supply chain are likely limited to production timing rather than event specifics. Hints of an updated low-cost iPad have been growing, with new iPad models appearing in a regulatory database back in January. Rumors have suggested the entry-level iPad could see its display grow from 9.7 inches to around 10.2 inches thanks to slimmer bezels, but we're not expecting to see Face ID and removal of the home button with this update. As for AirPods, we've been hearing about an imminent update for many months now, with Apple's plans seemingly delayed as the company continues work on its AirPower charging mat. Updated AirPods would include a wireless charging case to work with the

New iPads Expected in First Half of 2019, Including iPad Mini 5 With Similar Design as iPad Mini 4

Apple is set to launch new iPad models in the first half of 2019, according to Taiwanese supply chain website DigiTimes. One of those new models is expected to be the so-called iPad mini 5, but anyone hoping for a major redesign should lower their expectations, as Japanese blog Mac Otakara reports that the tablet will have a similar design as the iPad mini 4. The information comes from the blog's discussions with accessory makers. Mac Otakara claims the iPad mini 5 will have identical dimensions as the iPad mini 4, including a thickness of 6.1mm, suggesting that the tablet will have the same 7.9-inch display if bezel size remains unchanged. The blog also expects the tablet to retain a Lightning connector, Touch ID, and 3.5mm headphone jack. One design change expected is the repositioning of the rear microphone to a top-center position in line with the sixth-generation iPad. The report claims it is unclear whether the iPad mini 5 will have an A10 Fusion chip akin to the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and sixth-generation iPad, or an A10X Fusion chip in line with 2017 iPad Pro models and the Apple TV 4K. It's also unclear if the iPad mini 5 will support the original Apple Pencil, but second-generation Apple Pencil support seems to be ruled

Compal Expected to Assemble iPad Mini 5 Launching 'Later in 2019'

Taiwanese manufacturer Compal Electronics is expected to be a supplier of the so-called iPad mini 5 when the tablet launches later in 2019, according to DigiTimes. This would likely entail final assembly of the device. iPad mini 4 Rumors suggest Apple will release the new iPad mini as early as this spring, likely alongside a new seventh-generation iPad with a slightly larger 10-inch display. Apple's plans to release a new iPad mini have been reported by Ming-Chi Kuo, Mark Gurman, DigiTimes, and the China Times. Apple has debuted new iPads in March for three consecutive years, including the 9.7-inch iPad Pro in 2016, the fifth-generation iPad in 2017, and the sixth-generation iPad in 2018, so there's a good chance that Apple will unveil the iPad mini 5 and the new 10-inch iPad in a little over a month from now. Kuo said the new iPad mini will feature an upgraded processor and a lower-cost panel, but few details are known beyond that. The current iPad mini 4 was released in September 2015. The tablet features a 7.9-inch display with 326 PPI, A8 chip, 2GB of RAM, Touch ID, 8-megapixel rear camera, a Lightning connector, dual speakers, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It is available with 128GB of storage for $399 (Wi-Fi) and $529

Next-Gen AirPods With 'Health Monitoring' Features Said to be Coming in First Half of 2019

DigiTimes reports today that Apple will release next-generation AirPods that include "health monitoring features" in the first half of 2019. In terms of wireless headsets, Apple is set to release AirPods 2 sometime in the first half of 2019, and the new wireless earbuds with discrete designs to carry health monitoring functions are expected to receive enthusiastic market responses.The mention appears in an article focusing on how wearables are expected to drive market growth of rigid-flex printed circuit boards (PCBs) in 2019, but the report cites no sources for the AirPods rumor, and only mentions that Tiawan-based PCB makers Zhen Ding Tech and Flexium Interconnect supply components for Apple Watch and AirPods "at the moment." 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. The news site 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. With that in mind, and without corroborating sources, DigiTimes could be referring to a prediction from well-connected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that new AirPods with a wireless charging case would debut late in the fourth quarter of 2018 or early in the first quarter of 2019. Kuo later clarified that report to say that he expects new wireless AirPods in early 2019.

AirPower to Launch 'Later in 2019' According to DigiTimes

Apple's long-awaited wireless charging mat AirPower has entered production and will be released later this year, according to DigiTimes:Glass passivated package (GPP) bridge rectifier orders for Apple's AirPower continue to pull in, according to sources at related suppliers, who expect shipments for the wireless charger to boost further when it becomes available later in 2019. Apple's AirPower is finally in production, said the sources. The Apple-designed wireless charging device was unveiled in September 2017, with the company originally targeting 2018 for launch.The supply chain-focused website published a similar article last year claiming the AirPower would be released by the end of March 2018, a release date echoed by at least two other sources at the time. That obviously did not happen, but perhaps the issues that led to the delay are now resolved. This isn't the first report we've seen that suggests the AirPower is still coming after all. Earlier this month, Hong Kong website ChargerLAB cited sources within Apple's supply chain who claimed that manufacturers Luxshare Precision and Pegatron have both started production of the AirPower by today. Breaking: AirPower is finally coming. We just learned from credible source in supply chain that the manufacture Luxshare Precision has already started producing Apple AirPower wireless charging pad. Luxshare Precision is also the maker of Apple AirPods and USB-C cables. pic.twitter.com/UqgWIAh3sx— ChargerLAB (@chargerlab) January

iPad Mini 5 and New Entry-Level iPad Said to Launch in First Half of 2019

Apple is said to be launching two new tablets in the first half of this year, including the rumored "iPad mini 5" as well as a likely replacement for its current entry-level iPad. DigiTimes made the claim today in a report highlighting stable shipment expectations for Apple's touch panel suppliers, Taiwan-based General Interface Solution (GIS) and TPK Holding. Apple reportedly plans to launch two entry-level tablets in the first half of 2019, including a fifth-generation iPad mini and another entry-level iPad model, said the sources.The claim follows a rumor carried last month by the China Times that Apple is preparing to launch a new iPad mini in the first half of 2019, followed by a new entry-level iPad in two versions, with at least one featuring a 10-inch display within a narrower frame. Reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo claimed in October that Apple is working on a new version of the iPad mini with an upgraded processor and a lower-cost display panel, with the device being launched in 2018 or 2019. Ironically, Kuo's prediction came two months after DigiTimes said it did not believe Apple plans to introduce an updated iPad mini, and in fact has "no further plan" for the smaller tablet. An alleged case for the next-generation iPad mini also surfaced in December that featured a vertical camera cutout, suggesting a camera arrangement similar to the iPad Pro with a rear flash, and a center microphone cutout. Apple hasn't updated its smallest

Apple Watch Series 4 Expected to Gain Second Manufacturer Following 'Much Better Than Expected' Demand

Taiwanese manufacturer Compal Electronics will begin mass production of Apple Watch Series 4 models in November, according to industry sources cited by supply chain-focused publication DigiTimes. Compal will share orders with fellow Taiwanese manufacturer Quanta Computer, which has reportedly reached its maximum capacity for Apple Watch Series 4 production following "much better than expected demand" for the latest models, according to Apple analyst extraordinaire Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo also said Compal will be added as a second supplier of Apple Watch Series 4 models, which entails final assembly of the wearable. Kuo believes Apple Watch shipments from suppliers to Apple will fall between 18 million and 19.5 million units in 2018. Apple does not disclose Apple Watch sales, grouping the device under its broad "Other Products" category in its earnings reports, alongside the Apple TV, AirPods, HomePod, and so forth. Apple Watch is the world's most popular smartwatch by many metrics, including market share and revenue. In fact, Apple says the Apple Watch is the world's most popular watch of any kind, having surpassed Rolex. Many models of the Apple Watch Series 4 ordered on Apple.com today are estimated to be delivered in late October in the United States, lending credence to strong demand, limited supply, or some combination of the two. With a second supplier coming on board in November, availability should

iPhone XR Could Account for Over Half of New iPhone Sales in Second Half of 2018

Global shipments of Apple's new iPhone lineup should exceed 85 million units in the second half of the year, according to research conducted by DigiTimes, with the more budget-friendly iPhone XR expected to account for over half of all sales. Shipments of the LCD-based 6.1-inch iPhone XR are expected to account for over 50 percent of combined shipments of the new three models being released, although the availability of the iPhone XR will come on October 26 compared to September 21 for iPhone Xs and Xs Max.Total iPhone shipments – including older-generation models – are expected to top 127 million units in the second half of 2018, representing "modest growth" for the tech giant's mobile business. Meanwhile, Apple's total smartphone revenue is likely to reach nearly $100 billion in the second half of the year, which is a 10 percent increase compared to the previous year. The estimates for the new iPhone XS, XS Max and XR are said to be based on supply chain information, combined with Apple's annual sales and the average selling prices over previous years. Apple's lower-spec iPhone XR features an edge-to-edge "Liquid Retina" LCD display with wide color and True Tone support, and the same all-screen design as the OLED-based iPhone Xs and Xs Max, but with an aluminum frame instead of stainless steel. Other downgrades from the iPhone XS that make the XR cheaper include a single-lens rear facing camera instead of the dual lens on the XS, and a lack of 3D Touch support. It comes in White, Black, Blue, Coral, Yellow, and (PRODUCT)Red colors, and will be

2018 iPhone Shipments to Apple This Fall Predicted to Be Highest Since iPhone 6 Lineup

Apple's upcoming trio of iPhones will see an estimated 70-75 million units shipped from suppliers to Apple by the end of 2018, according to supply chain sources speaking to DigiTimes. Thanks to the expected solid performance of the iPhones this year, Apple's main supply partners TSMC and Foxconn are looking forward to new revenue highs in Q4 2018. Specifically, if suppliers hit this range it will be the best performance for an iPhone since the launch of the iPhone 6 models in 2014. One of the main reasons for the boost is given to the "price-friendliness" of the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, which Apple is expected to introduce as a cheaper alternative to the other two models: an updated 5.8-inch iPhone X and a larger 6.5-inch "iPhone X Plus," although Apple may not go with the "Plus" branding this year. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple will use an aggressive pricing strategy for its 2018 iPhone lineup: the 6.5-inch OLED device will be priced at $900 to $1,000, the 5.8-inch OLED second-generation iPhone X will be priced at $800 to $900, and the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone will be priced at $600 to $700. While the 5.8-inch and 6.5-inch will be available in September, a few reports have stated the 6.1-inch model will face a delay. DigiTimes also references "smooth production and strong shipment momentum" picking up soon: Most supply chain partners are expected to see revenues pick up significantly along with smooth production and strong shipment momentum before peaking in the fourth quarter of the year. The impressive upgrades in overall designs and functions as well

Apple Adds Two Chinese Manufacturers to MacBook Chassis Supply Chain

Apple has added two China-based manufacturers to its list of MacBook chassis suppliers in an effort to push down prices quoted by Taiwan-based makers, according to a new report today by DigiTimes. China-based Shenzhen Everwin Precision Technology and AAC Technologies are said to have obtained Apple certification in 2017, and this year they began small-volume shipments of the metal-alloy chassis for Apple's notebook line-up. Previous years saw Taiwan-based Catcher Technology, Foxconn Technology and Casetek Holdings dominate the supply of MacBook chassis, and Apple reportedly intends to continue relying on them because of their excellent manufacturing capabilities, but not before it has capitalized on the Chinese makers' lower production costs. DigiTimes' sources indicate that for Taiwan makers, competition from China rivals will have more impact on their gross margins than on order volumes. To offset the impact, Taiwan companies have increasingly sought orders from Chinese brand vendors of high-end devices like laptops. Responding to the rumored potential of Chinese competition for Apple's business, for example, Catcher said its outlook for 2018 remained unchanged. Apple is expected to release a new low-cost MacBook Air later this year that will be similar in design to the current MacBook Air, but with slimmer bezels around the display. Based on the latest rumor, the new machine will be a straight MacBook Air upgrade aimed at students and schools, with a lower price tag than MacBooks in the MacBook family. It remains unclear how a new 13-inch Retina

'Entry-Level' 13-inch MacBook, Redesigned iPad Pros With Faster 18W USB-C Charger Coming in September, But no New iPad Mini

Apple will launch its much-rumored "entry-level" MacBook in September, according to a report by DigiTimes outlining Apple's upcoming product launches. The website says the new MacBook will be priced at $1200, according to industry sources, and will be powered by 14-nanometer Kaby Lake CPU architecture, following delays to Intel's 10-nm rollout. Earlier this year, DigiTimes said that Apple will release the first MacBook Air with a Retina display in the second half of 2018, and claimed that it will be a 13-inch model in a separate report. It also recently said Quanta will assemble new "inexpensive notebooks" for Apple in the fourth quarter. However, the idea of a $1200 MacBook Air leaves the question of a sub-$1000 MacBook offering wide open. TrendForce believes Apple will release a new MacBook Air in September or October, while both Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo and Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman expect Apple to release a new entry-level notebook later this year. Whether that's a MacBook or a MacBook Air remains unclear, but Gurman expects at least one of them to have a $999 starting price. Today's DigiTimes report also claims Apple will use the September event to announce the "launch schedule" for its wireless AirPower charger, costing in the region of $160-$190. Apple previewed its multi-device AirPower charging mat at its iPhone X event last September, and confirmed that it will be released at some point in 2018, but it has yet to reveal how much it will cost. An earlier rumor citing "industry insiders" has suggested a price point of around $149. Apple is

DigiTimes Vaguely Says 2019 iPhones Are 'Likely to Support USB-C'

Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes has published a report today claiming that 2019 iPhones will come with USB-C support, but the vague wording makes it hard to decipher what they are referring to exactly. Cage Chao and Jessie Shen, citing sources within Apple's supply chain:Apple is redesigning chargers and related interface for its next-generation iPhone and iPad devices, and will likely have its 2019 series of iPhones come with USB Type-C support, according to sources at analog IC vendors.The flashiest take would be that Apple is planning to remove its Lightning connector from iPhones, in favor of a more universally adopted USB-C port, but that perennial rumor has been proven incorrect time and time again. A similarly vague report from The Wall Street Journal last year ignited speculation that the iPhone X would have a USB-C port, for example, but oft-reliable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo accurately said 2017 iPhones would retain Lightning connectors, with added support for fast charging via USB-C Power Delivery. Given the unlikely possibility of a wholesale switch from Lightning to USB-C, and that the latest iPhones already support USB-C fast charging, the report could be referring to the type of power adapter included in the box. The report adds:Speculation circulated previously in the smartphone market that Apple would adopt Type-C interface in its next-generation iPhone series slated for launch later in 2018. Apple is still in its redesign phase and will not be able to equip the technology in its upcoming iPhones, the sources claimed.The speculation

Apple Set to Tighten Grip on MacBook Supply Chain and Cut Contractor Profits

Apple is set to tighten its control of its MacBook supply chain by directly negotiating prices with third-party suppliers of non-key parts such as screws and plastics, which are required by contract suppliers to produce major components. According to a new report by DigiTimes, industry sources say the move by Apple will significantly reduce profit margins of its contracted supply partners, however Apple has neither confirmed nor denied the move. The Taiwan-based website's sources said that this will be the first time Apple has ever interfered with the procurement of non-crucial materials and parts by its contracted key component producers, who manufacture the processors, panels, batteries, chassis, and heat dissipation modules in Apple MacBooks. Taiwan contracted supply partners of MacBooks were reportedly told of the new policy during a meeting they attended at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino. If enforced in time for MacBook models to be released this year, the policy could erase 10 to 15 percent of profits currently made by contracted producers from the purchases of materials, leaving them with only the contracted MacBook manufacturing fees. Apple has reportedly decided to expand its centralized procurement coverage to include upstream materials such as copper and cobalt, and non-key parts and components from third-party suppliers. The electronics giant will reportedly directly set the prices and order volumes for such materials and minor parts and components, instead of only screening the name lists of qualified third-party suppliers proposed by

Pegatron Tipped to Manufacture Upcoming 'ARM-Based MacBook'

Pegatron has been tipped to land orders from Apple to produce an ARM-based MacBook, according to a brief DigiTimes report out on Tuesday. Citing industry sources, the Taiwan-based website claims the new MacBook model is internally codenamed "Star" and carries the series number N84, but the report mentions no specific production timeline. Pegatron is likely to land orders from Apple to produce an ARM-based MacBook model, codenamed Star with a series number N84, according to industry sources. Pegatron declined to comment on what it called market speculations. The rumor accompanies news of declining net profits of nearly 50 percent in the first quarter of 2018 for Taiwan-based Pegatron, which expects to get growth back on track in the third quarter, "in line with the peak season", implying that the new MacBook model could factor into these predictions. 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, although 9to5Mac has also reported that Apple’s so-called "Star" project could be an ARM-based MacBook. DigiTimes first claimed in January that Apple would release a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook this year, due in the second half of 2018, which would serve as a replacement for the MacBook Air. Two months later, then-KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo issued a research note claiming Apple has a "more affordable MacBook Air" set to be released at some point in 2018. Kuo didn't offer any details on what to expect in an updated

Apple Said to Delay Production of New MacBook Air With Retina Display to Second Half of 2018

Apple has postponed production of its rumored 2018 MacBook Air model to the second half of the year, according to supply chain sources (via DigiTimes). A new version of Apple's most affordable MacBook was expected to go into mass production in the second quarter, but the company has reportedly already informed supply chain partners of the deferment, without revealing its reasoning behind the decision. The sources said that Apple has informed supply chain partners that mass production of its new notebook model for 2018 will not kick off until the second half of the year, yet without explaining the rescheduling move. Some partners speculated that the postponement might be caused by problems with some key components such as processors.DigiTimes was first to report on Apple's intention to release a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook, due in the second half of 2018, which would serve as a replacement for the MacBook Air. Two months later, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo issued a research note claiming Apple has a "more affordable MacBook Air" set to be released at some point in 2018. Kuo didn't offer any details on what to expect in an updated MacBook Air beyond a lower price tag, but DigiTimes believes Apple could upgrade the MacBook Air with a Retina display, which has led to speculation about whether the machine will be an updated MacBook Air or a lower-cost MacBook. Bolstering these claims, Taiwanese site Economic Daily News believes Apple is working on a more affordable version of the MacBook Air with a price point of $799 to $899, while Bloomberg claims

Apple Seeking OLED Display Price Cut From Samsung Amid Rumors Next iPhone X Will Start at $899

Apple wants to reduce the price it pays Samsung for OLED displays used in current and future iPhone X models, according to DigiTimes. The report, citing industry sources, claims Apple is requiring Samsung to lower its price to $100 per panel, down around 9.1 percent from the $110 that research firm IHS Markit estimated the iPhone maker paid in 2017. Rather confusingly, the report first says Apple is negotiating with Samsung about the revised price, but later says it is a requirement. If the price cut is indeed being forced upon Samsung, then Apple likely feels confident in its ability to secure OLED displays from LG as a second supplier, and is thereby benefitting from diversifying its supply chain and making its suppliers compete against each other on price in an effort to win millions of orders. LG is widely considered to be ramping up its OLED display production capabilities in hopes of securing orders for Apple's next-generation iPhone lineup, but a recent report claimed mass production challenges have caused the company to fall behind schedule. It's unclear if those issues have been resolved. Apple is expected to purchase up to 100 million OLED displays from Samsung in 2018, to be used for the current iPhone X, in addition to a second-generation iPhone X and so-called iPhone X Plus expected to launch in 2018. Price cuts to the display and other components would help Apple lower its bill of materials for the iPhone X and future models, and the savings could potentially be passed on to customers. RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani, for

Apple A12 and Snapdragon 700 Chip Production May Lead TSMC to Earn Record Profits in 2018 After All

Last week, Apple supplier TSMC saw its shares decline around nine percent after it cut its full-year revenue growth target to 10 percent, compared to its previous 10-15 percent estimate. The manufacturer blamed the cut on lower-than-expected smartphone demand and growing uncertainty in the cryptocurrency mining market. Apple's stock also declined around four percent on Friday, as many analysts equated the slowing smartphone demand with poor or declining sales of the iPhone X, which has an A11 Bionic chip fabricated by TSMC, in the second quarter. Now, a report from DigiTimes suggests that TSMC may post better-than-projected revenues and profits in 2018 after all, as it gradually ramps up volume production of so-called A12 chips for Apple's next-generation iPhone lineup. The wafers are expected to be manufactured based on TSMC's advanced 7nm process.The sources said that TSMC will see its revenue ratio for advanced 7nm process hit a high of 20 percent in 2018, and may therefore post better-than-projected revenues and profits for the second half of the year and register an annual revenue growth of over 10 percent.TSMC may also benefit from Qualcomm's decision to roll out its new Snapdragon 700 series processors in May, ahead of schedule, according to the report. Qualcomm has allegedly grabbed significant orders from non-Apple smartphone vendors and will have TSMC fabricate the chips in the second half of the year. The report is questionable given that TSMC presumably factored in production of A12 chips into its revenue guidance last week, but the

Apple Working With TSMC to Develop MicroLED Panels for Future Apple Watch and Augmented Reality Wearable Device

Apple has plans in place to develop MicroLED panels for both small-size and large-size devices, with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) providing support for producing smaller form factor applications, which could include future Apple Watch models and AR wearables, according to DigiTimes senior analyst Luke Lin. Apple is working with TSMC to develop micro LED panels on silicon-based backplanes for use in the Apple Watch and an augmented reality (AR) wearable device, Lin noted.MicroLED panels use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and should help to make future devices slimmer, brighter, and less power-hungry. Citing sources in the upstream supply chain, Lin claims Apple is preparing two sizes of MicroLED panel for small devices. They are said to include a 1.3 to 1.4-inch panel for future Apple Watch iterations and a 0.7 to 0.8-inch panel for an AR wearable device, potentially AR glasses. Lin also believes Apple is working on developing large-size MicroLED panels on TFT-based backplates for use in products much larger than those in its current MacBook lineup, although he offered no specifics on what they might be. Based on Lin's sources, the MicroLED panel destined for a future Apple Watch may enter mass production in the second half on 2018 or in 2019, which would suggest its use in Series 4 or 5 models. The large-size panel could see production in 2019 or later, while the panel for the AR device is yet to have a production schedule, according to the analyst. The cost of the new MicroLED panels are said to be

Apple Expected to Trial Production of 2018 iPhone Lineup Earlier to Avoid Last Year's Supply Bottleneck

Apple is expected to begin trial production of a trio of new iPhone models in the second quarter of 2018 at the earliest, as it looks to avoid a repeat of the issues caused by the initial low yield rates on production of 3D sensor modules for the iPhone X last year, according to Taiwanese website DigiTimes. iPhone X2, iPhone X2 Plus, and iPhone SE 2 mockup by Curved.de The report, citing supply chain sources, claims Apple's fast-tracking of the trial production will help push ahead the delivery schedules for the 2018 iPhones, meaning it should have more plentiful supply available for pre-orders. The sources cited add that sales of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X have been "lower than expected," but they believe the earlier production will help Apple to "rekindle" its smartphone momentum. Apple's supply chain partners are said to be "generally more optimistic" about order prospects this year. Leading up to the iPhone X launch, multiple reports claimed Apple was having issues with ramping up production of the device. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo pegged the TrueDepth camera system as the primary reason for the supply bottleneck, due to its complex 3D facial recognition technologies. Kuo added that the yield issues began to stabilize by late October, but when pre-orders began on October 27, shipping estimates for the iPhone X quickly fell back to 5-6 weeks around the world. The estimates gradually improved over the following weeks, and the device was fully in stock by mid December. Looking ahead, Apple is widely rumored to launch a so-called iPh

Second-Generation iPhone X Estimated to Cost Apple Up to 10% Less to Manufacture

Apple has managed to reduce the manufacturing cost of its iPhone X successor to a level much lower than the current flagship model, according to DigiTimes' research analyst Luke Lin. Lin cited information from Apple's upstream supply chain as indicating that the new device's MBOM [manufacturing bill of materials] will be more than 10% lower than that for iPhone X. He added that the MBOM of the iPhone X was more than US$400 in 2017.Apple is rumored to be introducing three iPhones in 2018: The first is said to be a second-generation version of the iPhone X, with the same 5.8-inch OLED display, while the second can be thought of as an "iPhone X Plus" with a larger 6.5-inch OLED display. Apple is also reportedly planning to introduce a new, more affordable 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD display. However, recent engineering samples from the 5.8-inch device are said to show components with lower-level specifications or lower capacities than those of the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone, with LPDDR memory being one of the major differences. According to Lin, the cost reduction could see Apple position the new 5.8-inch device as the cheapest model of all three next-generation iPhone models. The analyst also believes a project to develop a 5.8-inch LCD iPhone has been suspended since the end of the Lunar New Year holidays in mid-February and may be eventually terminated. Lin reckons weak demand for iPhone X meant Apple needed a lot less OLED panels from Samsung than it said it would, which gave the Korean firm more bargaining power with regards to panel quotes for the next generation of