iPhone 5 ‘now in production’

Apple suppliers have begun manufacturing the next version of iPhone, expected to be released in September, which is expected to be thinner and lighter than last year’s iPhone 4 — and possibly include wireless charging, according to reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday from Taipei, Taiwan, where a number of key suppliers to the company are based, that the new version will also include an 8-megapixel camera, putting it on a par with many other top-end phone cameras.

The WSJ also reports one of Apple’s suppliers suggesting that the company has a goal of 25-million units [shipped] “by the end of the year” and that “the initial production volume will be a few million units … we were told to ship the components to assembler Hon Hai in August”.

Digitimes, a Taiwan-based electronics newspaper, reports that Pegatron, a major Taiwan-based notebook maker, has received orders for 15m “iPhone 5” or “iPhone 4S” devices to be shipped in September, based on reports from upstream suppliers to the company. It suggests that Pegatron has been building CDMA phones which would be used on the Verizon network in the United States and some Asian carriers. Most iPhones sold at present are GSM rather than CDMA, which was only introduced in January.

The WSJ also suggested that the phone would have been launched in the summer but for delays in production — though that does not chime with the schedule for the release of iOS 5.0, the latest update to Apple’s mobile operating system which was announced at its WWDC conference in June but will not be available until September.

The WSJ also quoted one person who said that Apple may include “a new way of charging the phone”. That could imply wireless charging like that used by the HP TouchPad tablet, which uses an induction system to recharge the battery.

Alternatively, it might mean that Apple will follow the EC regulations introduced last year which mandate the use of a micro-USB port for charging: “In response to citizens’ demand for a common charger, the commission invited manufacturers to agree on a technical solution making the chargers of different brands compatible,” said the EC’s press release last December. “As a result, world leading mobile phone producers committed themselves to ensure compatibility of data-enabled mobile phones, expected to be predominant in the market within two years, on the basis of the micro-USB connector.”

Taiwan-based Hon Hai, which owns the Chinese manufacturing company Foxconn, is the world’s biggest contract manufacturer of electronics by revenue. Apple uses it to assemble products, as do companies including Acer, Amazon, Asus, Dell and Nokia.

In the first quarter of 2011, Apple said it shipped 18.6-million iPhones, and the number is expected to have increased as the company has strengthened its position with Verizon, the second biggest carrier in the US. Apple’s financial results for the quarter ended June 30 will be released on Tuesday July 19, including iPhone shipment figures, which analysts are expecting to have increased.

Data from comScore released on Tuesday suggested that Apple had gained an extra 3-million iPhone users in the US between February and May. Digitimes reports that Pegatron had expected to sell 10-million CDMA iPhone 4 devices earlier this year, but in fact shipped less than 4-million in the first quarter. — guardian.co.uk Guardian News and Media 2011

Charles Arthur
Charles Arthur works from Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. Journalist, speaker, moderator. The Guardian’s Technology editor 2009-14. Coming May ‘18: Cyber Wars, on hacking. Prev: Digital Wars: Apple v Google v Microsoft Charles Arthur has over 74656 followers on Twitter.

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