Apple is willing to do anything necessary to make sure it has a steady flow of components from suppliers when it comes to its best-selling products, and a new report from Bloomberg seems to confirm just that. The report reveals that Apple has apparently made an urgent request to Foxconn, the largest device manufacturer in the world and one of the main iPhone and iPad makers, for preferential treatment. And it looks like Foxconn will satisfy Apple’s request, even if that means making a $2.6 billion investment in the process.
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Apple apparently wants to have access to an Innolux factory — Foxconn’s display arm — that will make displays only for its products, likely including iPhone, iPad and others. Innolux has previously been rumored to be one of the three companies providing 4.7-inch displays for the iPhone 6, though it’s not clear what products the new factory will work on.
“Equipment installation will commence next month with mass production of panels to start by the end of 2015 after an urgent request for exclusive capacity, Sophia Cheng, a public relations representative for Foxconn’s display unit Innolux Corp., said by phone, citing comments made by President Wang Jyh-chau at a press conference today,” Bloomberg writes.
Cheng did not know whether a deal has been signed with Apple and Apple has not commented on the matter, but the company is likely the only major device maker that Foxconn would listen to. After all, the Chinese company already has dedicated factories that assemble only iPhone and iPad in China. At the same time, this would be the first factory making components exclusively for products belonging to a single company.
Apple has previously obtained such preferential treatment for Samsung memory chips and GTAT sapphire glass covers, though the latter wasn’t a successful venture for either party.
It’s likely Apple wants to make sure it has enough components on hand for future product launches, especially considering the increased demand its latest iPhone models saw this year — the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are still shipping from seven business days to four weeks, depending on model, when ordered from Apple’s online store.