Apple has told suppliers to make between 70 million and 80 million combined 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 units by December 30, The Wall Street Journal has learned from sources familiar with the matter, in anticipation of what will be its biggest iPhone launch ever. Foxconn and Pegatron will start production of the smaller iPhone next month – something recent rumors also claimed – and Foxconn will be the exclusive maker of the 5.5-inch model, which will head to mass-production in September. Both companies are on a “hiring binge,” the Journal says, with Foxconn “hiring workers by the hundreds a day to staff production lines” at their factories in China.
Apple is apparently preparing to counter negative effects screen yield issues may have on production. Apparently the company asked component makers to make up to 120 million iPhone 6 displays by the year-end, thus addressing a higher failure rate for its iPhone 6 displays.
The company is reportedly struggling to improve 5.5-inch iPhone 6 display production, a process complicated by Apple’s choice of display covers – sapphire glass is mentioned for the 5.5-inch model – but also because iPhone 6 screens, regardless of size, are going to pack an in-cell touch sensor within the liquid crystal display, which will make them thinner and lighter than other display models that require a separate touch sensor layer.
Comparatively, last year Apple ordered an initial launch mix of iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c of between 50 million and 60 millions, asking suppliers to make 90 million screens to deal with potential issues.
Apple is expected to launch its new iPhones in September, following a special announcement event. Dates for either the launch keynote or the actual release aren’t available yet.