WSJ: Foxconn rival Pegatron is primary budget iPhone manufacturer

By Christian Zibreg on May 29, 2013

We first heard from The New York Times that the world’s top contract manufacturer Foxconn is looking past the iPhone amid Apple’s slowing growth. Reuters previously ran an anti-Apple piece which asserted that Tim Cook & Co. are looking to shift from Foxconn to rival Pegatron, which currently builds the older iPhone 4/4S models.

On Monday, The Wall Street Journal ran a story claiming Foxconn is looking to manufacture, market and sell its own mobile accessories compatible with iOS devices. Moreover, the story goes, Foxconn is said to be expanding its high-margin retail operations and investing in content and services.

Today, the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper sheds more light on the subject, claiming Cook has re-shuffled Apple’s supply chain and re-iterating that Pegatron will be the “primary assembler” of Apple’s rumored low-cost iPhone, which the Journal expects to be offered “later this year”Read More

 

Martin Hajek’s new concept pictures budget iPhone running revamped iOS 7

By Christian Zibreg on May 14, 2013

The renderings use Hajek’s past budget iPhone concepts as the basis for the hardware. As for the software, he incorporated a round of nice concepts by 3D artist Dámaso Benítez, picturing a flattened iOS 7 user interface that Apple’s design head Jony Ive and his team are widely believed to be working on.

His mockups, Hajek explains on his personal blog, serve to illustrate “how Apple might introduce the new, cheap iPhone.” More awesomeness can be found right past the fold… Read More

 

Pegatron ramping up hiring for budget iPhone production?

By Christian Zibreg on May 9, 2013

Just a day after contract manufacturer Pegatron warned investors its second-quarter earnings could drop up to 30 percent due to softening demand for iPad mini, other tablets, e-books and games consoles comes word that the company has ramped up hiring as it needs an additional 40,000 workers on top of its existing 100,000 employees.

The 40,000 additional workers are needed to presumably assemble a rumored less-price iPhone model for Apple, Reuters speculated Thursday, reiterating it heard from suppliers that Apple is indeed “developing a cheaper model of the phone” in order to broaden its sales base to lower-income buyers in growth markets such as China and India… Read More

 

Reliable parts supplier confirms budget iPhone

By Christian Zibreg on May 6, 2013

We usually don’t put our faith in Apple rumors originating from Asian part suppliers who often just make stuff up in the hope of banking on free press to promote their business. But ETrade Supply is different. The parts and repair shop last year leaked accurate photos of the iPad mini display panel, as well as the iPhone 5 front and back panel, to name just a few.

This points to ETrade Supply having some solid sources in the Apple supply chain and probably inside Foxconn, Apple’s favorite contract manufacturer. In a blog post published Monday, the supplier claimed its was able to confirm with its sources that Apple indeed will be releasing lower-end iPhone models this year… Read More

 

Budget iPhone could be $350 mid-range device

By Ed Sutherland on May 3, 2013

Android is gaining ground largely by offering a cheaper alternative to Apple’s higher-priced iPhone and iPad. Case in point: Acer’s just announced $169 Iconia A1 Jelly Bean tablet. Now, for some time there’s been a drumbeat for Apple to respond with a cheap smartphone of its own, one sold unsubsidized and off-contract to cash-strapped buyers in emerging markets.

However, now comes a voice suggesting Apple doesn’t have to slash prices to improve its market standing. Instead, it could offer a mid-priced iPhone and in the process could cut rival Samsung’s U.S. operations off at the knees.

There’s no need for hokey plastic fake prototypes or leaks from “insiders.” Apple needs only to repeat what its done numerous times in the past, opine two Wall Street Apple observers at J.P. Morgan… Read More

 

Initial budget iPhone volumes could be modest

By Christian Zibreg on May 3, 2013

Look, DigiTimes is far from being accurate, but this Asian trade publication is nevertheless well-connected and occasionally accurate. According to its Friday report, Apple could initially launch a rumored less-pricey iPhone in small volumes, pegged at no more than three million units during its first quarter of availability. The publication speculates Apple could release the budget iPhone in small volumes in order to “test market response”Read More

 

Dubious budget iPhone plastic shell leaks

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 18, 2013

Apple’s rumored less-pricey iPhone is thought to minimize manufacturing costs by abandoning the pricey two-tone aluminum body, replacing it with a less expensive polycarbonate shell akin to the white G3 iMac – or similar to the plastic body of the iPhone 3G/3GS, if you will. Now, rumor-mills, but also big media such as WSJ and Bloomberg, have repeated this particular data point numerous times, but we have never seen any physical evidence supporting the plastic body theory.

That changed Wednesday as case manufacturer Tactus, which recently leaked purported iPad 5 shell, posted an image that allegedly represents the back shell of the budget iPhone. We couldn’t confirm its authenticity at press time so take this one with a pinch of salt, even more so knowing accessory makers often pull such stunts to get free press… Read More

 

Foxconn hiring assembly-line workers for next-gen iPhone production, WSJ and Bloomberg claim

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 15, 2013

Hon Hai Precision Industry aka Foxconn, which assembles iPhones and iPads for Apple, but also consumer electronics on behalf of other vendors, has started hiring assembly-line workers in the tens of thousands in preparation for Apple’s next iPhone, both Bloomberg and the credulous Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

People familiar with the matter tell the publications that the world’s largest contract manufacturer has been recruiting workers for the past month at its plant in Zhengzhou, eastern China.

The reports come following February indications pointing to Foxconn imposing a recruitment freeze across almost all of its factories in China after more workers returned from the Chinese New Year break than did last year, a move some attributed to the supposedly weakening iPhone demand… Read More

 

Technical challenges delaying iPhone 5S, budget iPhone, iPad mini 2?

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 11, 2013

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who actually has a pretty good track record in predicting Apple’s product plans, has some bad news for Apple fans. In a note issued to clients Thursday, he basically wrote that Apple’s next batch of iDevice upgrades may hit the market later than originally expected due to a number of “technical challenges” related to the inclusion of fingerprint sensor beneath the Home button.

The rumored budget iPhone may be delayed because its slimmer-than-usual polycarbonate casing is proving harder nut to crack, while the second-generation iPad mini continues to face challenges with its high-resolution Retina panels. Jump past the fold for the full disclosure… Read More

 

First budget iPhone part allegedly leaks: dual-head vibration motor

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 11, 2013

In what could be the first physical evidence of a part that may or may not be related to Apple’s rumored less-pricey iPhone, a reliable Japanese blog has posts an interesting image of a ribbon cable with a dual-head vibration motor, obtained by repair shop iLab Factory. While the flex cable looks like it connects to the iPhone’s standard volume rocker and mute switch, it’s the rotation motor which raises hope that this particular part could belong to the budget iPhoneRead More

 

France Telecom CEO: gold rush is over, budget iPhone is inevitable

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 4, 2013

Apple’s rumored less-pricey iPhone has been envisioned over and over again in some damn good renderings. The rumor mills have been churning out their fair share of whispers on a regular basis and both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg have thrown their credibility behind the meme. But despite all this crazy talk and tremendous speculation, Apple is seemingly unimpressed as the company’s marketing honcho kinda shot down the rumor, recently telling the press his company isn’t one to blindly pursue market share.

Be that as it may, analysts warn there’s only that much room to grow in the saturated high-end smartphone market. Therefore, conventional wisdom has it, Apple’s going to need a more affordable device sooner than later. This has now become a sentiment shared by one wireless carrier CEO who cautions of changing consumer behavior as a lot of folks are now unwilling to pay north of $600 for an unlocked smartphone… Read More

 

Colorized budget iPhone concept imagines translucent plastic shell

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 3, 2013

Apple’s rumored less-pricey iPhone has been widely reported by analysts, supply chain sources, pundits and big media as arriving later this year in a range of colors and encased in a super-thin plastic casing mixed with glass fiber. Taking it all in, concept artists Nickolay Lamm and Matteo Gianni have created created an interesting renderings depicting the four-inch device with a curved backside and a translucent plastic shell resembling Apple’s G3 iMac… Read More

 

Ceramic device body patent hints at budget iPhone

By Ed Sutherland on Mar 29, 2013

We are getting more hints at how Apple could create a cheaper iPhone, a device also dubbed by the press the iPhone mini and apparently meant to improve Apple’s standing in emerging markets such as India. In a new patent filing, the iPhone maker describes a production method similar to laminated fiberglass, but using ceramics. Zirconia and alumina could be combined to create a new kind of Unibody shell.

The use of zirconia would mesh both with a report earlier this month that a low-cost iPhone could include a fiberglass housing, while also potentially drawing on a 2006 Apple patent regarding zirconia as being radio transparent… Read More

 

Chatter hints June 20 iPhone 5S, budget iPhone launch

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 29, 2013

With Apple’s annual developers conference approaching fast, we’re starting to see some credible leaks pertaining to the iPhone 5S, Apple’s seventh-generation iPhone. We’ve already seen the leaked Home button and vibrator parts earlier this week and claimed speaker parts from before. And with analysts predicting a June launch for the device and Macotakara claiming earlier this month that Foxconn has already started the iPhone 5S production, now the same Japanese blog issues a new report that gives as the reportedly official announcement date for both the iPhone 5S and a more affordable model for emerging markets: Thursday, June 20… Read More

 

Analyst: budget iPhone won’t have Retina display

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 22, 2013

Apple’s rumored less-expensive iPhone aimed at emerging markets won’t just shave costs by having a polycarbonate body instead of Unibody aluminum design, it is bound to have a standard-resolution screen rather than Apple’s Retina display, like other iDevices. That’s at least what one analyst wrote in a note to clients Friday, based on the often unreliable supply chain checks.

He’s also calling for a June or July launch for both the budget iPhone and the iPhone 5S (a specs upgrade to the iPhone 5), which is the time frame that was mentioned previously in a few other recent reports… Read More