Suppliers say Apple ramping up iDevice chip orders

iPhone 5 teardown (iFixit, A6 chip)

We’ve witnessed recently a mishmash of wildly unlikely predictions, genuine-looking iPhone 5S production shots, plenty of various other leaks and big media confirmations, all seemingly pointing to Apple flexing its manufacturing muscle ahead of upcoming new product launches.

Hot on the heels of this chatter, a Taiwanese trade publication chimed in Thursday claiming Apple’s chips suppliers are seeing a boost in orders from Apple, which could be interpreted as another solid indication that the company is ramping up production as it gears up for the next iDevice refresh cycle…

DigiTimes, otherwise pretty accurate with these things, cited unnamed supply chain sources as saying Apple’s orders for microchips for the third quarter have nearly doubled over the prior quarter.

Microchip suppliers say overall shipments in the second half of 2013 could account for as much as 70 percent of the total for the year, a sign of a major production ramp-up.

Apple started to reduce its chip orders in the fourth quarter of 2012, and maintained the slow pace of orders until second-quarter 2013, the sources said.

Shipments for iPhone components from the IC supply chain, for example, fell to about 20 million units quarterly during the period, the sources noted.

The source estimated microchip orders for the next-gen iPhones to hit 40 million units in the third quarter. That Apple is increasing its orders substantially coincides with the upcoming rollouts of the new iPhones and iPads.

The company is believed to be readying the iPhone 5S, the next iPad mini, the iPad 5 and even a brand new mid-tier iPhone model priced in the sub-$400 region. “Technical challenges” have apparently pushed back these roll-outs until Fall.

For instance, issues with a fingerprint sensor have reportedly delayed the iPhone 5S, which entered trial production last month. As for the iPad mini, Apple is still finalizing the device so a Retina model may not see the light of day until early-2014.

A redesigned full-size iPad with iPad mini style bezel is expected in Fall.

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