Mobile

WSJ: Apple aims to build 25M “thinner and lighter” iPhone 5s in 2011

Apple hopes to build 25 million units of its next-generation iPhone, the Wall Street Journal reported this morning.

The next iPhone (we’ll just call it the iPhone 5 for now) will be thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4 and feature an 8-megapixel camera, the sources tell the WSJ.

According to component suppliers, Apple has already placed orders for iPhone 5 parts as it prepares to get the phone ready for launch sometime in the third quarter. That information falls in line with previous rumors, which pointed to Apple launching the iPhone 5 a bit later than normal in September.

Apple will likely also rely on a Qualcomm wireless baseband chipset on the phone, just like it did with the Verizon iPhone. There’s no word yet if the wireless chipset will function on both GSM and CDMA networks (effectively working across all cellular networks, like Verizon and AT&T’s), but we do know that capability existed (but was never enabled) in the Verizon iPhone’s chipset.

“Apple’s sales estimates of the new iPhone is quite aggressive. It told us to prepare to help the company meet its goal of 25 million units by the end of the year,” one supplier source told the WSJ. They went on to say that Apple will initially produce a few million units, and that the components are expected at Apple’s iPhone assembler Foxconn (a subsidiary of Hon Hai) in August.

Other sources noted that the iPhone 5 is “complicated and difficult to assemble,” which could ultimately lead to shipment delays if Foxconn can’t build them fast enough.

The news conflicts with a report from yesterday that maintained Pegatron, a rival Taiwanese manufacturer to Foxconn, was tasked to build 15 million iPhone 5s for a September launch. Apple previously relied on Pegatron, formerly a subsidiary of Asus, to build CDMA (Verizon) iPhones earlier this year. But Apple has had a longer relationship with Foxconn when it comes to building iPhones, which has come under the fire for employee suicides and a difficult work environment over the past few years.

We’ll be exploring the most disruptive mobile trends at our fourth annual MobileBeat 2011 conference, on July 12-13 at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. It will focus on the rise of 4G and how it delivers the promise of true mobile computing. We’re also accepting entries for our mobile startup competition at the show. MobileBeat is co-located with our GamesBeat 2011 conference this year. To register, click on this link. Sponsors include Verizon Wireless, Qualcomm, Flurry, Greystripe, Box, Moolah Media, Tapjoy, AT&T Interactive, YuMe, Zong, Kontagent, Papaya Mobile, Acaltel-Lucent, Spil Games, BluePoint Security, PayPal, Xyologic, VSC, and Vantage Communications.


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