As the launch of its next-generation iPhone handset nears, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple is gearing up to ship a record amount of iPhones to close out the 2011 year with a bang. Apple has been placing huge orders for the necessary components to make the next iPhone, and with the hype and media frenzy continuing to develop at full steam the product is expected to sell very well. WSJ cited sources inside of Apple’s supply chain that the company is being very aggressive with its build strategies for the new iPhone, and has directed its manufacturers to expect orders totaling 25 million units over the coming months. The report claims that unless Foxconn can improve its yields, Apple will be unable to meet such a lofty goal. Insiders have claimed that the iPhone 5 is both “complicated” and “difficult to assemble”.
The report also rumored that the next iPhone will include new models of a wireless baseband chip developed by Qualcomm, which will be replacing the iPhone 4’s chips which were provided by Infineon. It’s been widely suspected that Apple will be moving to a “world phone” chipset with the next iPhone, enabling use on both GSM and CDMA networks across the globe and simplifying the number of models that Apple needs to develop. The WSJ report didn’t provide any indication if this Qualcomm chip would be “world phone” capable.
The report also stated that the iPhone 5 will be both lighter and thinner than the iPhone 4, but didn’t commit to any speculation regarding a change in design. Just a couple of weeks ago ThisIsMyNext claimed that the iPhone 5 would be a radical design departure from the iPhone 4, and other recent rumors have claimed that the love for the iPhone 4’s design is all but gone from the company’s executive team.
If the report is accurate, then Apple’s large component orders would put the iPhone 5 on track to hit its rumored third-quarter release date. Apparently, suppliers have been quoted as planning to ship their final hardware to Foxconn no later than early August so that final assembly of the handsets can begin. Apple shipped more than 18 million iPhones in its last quarter, so a 25 million unit prediction would indicate that Cupertino expects the iPhone 5 to be a blockbuster.
Apple had no comment on the report, and has kept tight-lipped regarding the next iPhone handset. As the days tick off to September, expect the rumor mill to keep turning.