More signs point to iPhone 6 launch coming earlier than expected

iPhone 6 Release Date

After a recent report from an analyst said that at least one iPhone 6 version will launch in the third quarter of the year, more evidence seems to suggests Apple’s 2014 iPhones could be released earlier than expected. Reports from The China Post and Taipei Times have revealed that Taiwan’s Catcher Technology will be supplying metal casings for the iPhone 6. Morgan Stanley analyst Grace Chen wrote in a research note that Catcher will ship 10.5 million iPhone 6 casings this year, or 15% of the overall iPhone 6 orders.

That number may indicate that Apple plans to sell as many as 70 million iPhone 6 handsets this year. In order to do that, the iPhone maker will likely need more than a quarter of combined iPhone sales, which would mean that the next-generation iPhone would be released at some point earlier in the third quarter than last year’s model, which went on sale in late September.

According to the Chen, “the ramping up of production of the iPhone 6 should start to help Catcher in the third quarter, making up 27 percent of the company’s third-quarter sales and 38 percent of its fourth quarter sales.”

Morgan Stanley expects Catcher to ship 20 million casings for all iPhone models including the iPhone 6, covering 17% of all iPhone orders in 2014.

Barclays Capital also sees Catcher as one of the iPhone 6 metal casing suppliers, and expects the iPhone 6 to be launched in the second half of the year. Barclays also thinks that new iPhone shipments will be 35% to 40% higher than iPhone 5s shipments following launch, saying Catcher will be responsible for 10% to 20% of casings for the handset.

The company says that some 225 older iPhones will be up for replacement over the iPhone 6’s life cycle from September 2014 to August 2015.

In addition to Catcher, Barclays has also identified Hon Hai Precision (owner of Foxconn) as a company that would benefit significantly from high iPhone 6 shipments. A previous report revealed that Foxconn may manufacture as many as 90 million iPhone 6 units for Apple this year.

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