updated 07:42 pm EST, Thu January 9, 2014
New factory being built near Shanghai to handle expected demand
An unsourced report from a Taiwanese trade paper has reported that electronics manufacturer Pegatron will supply approximately half of the future "iPhone 6" orders from Apple. The company says it is building a new factory to meet future demand, and expects to grow revenues by Tw$68 billion ($2.6 billion US) over the course of 2014. Pegatron already produces iPhones and other items for Apple, and various electronics for other manufacturers.
The new factory is being built in Kunshan, a suburb between Souzhou and Shanghai. The Kunshan plant is scheduled to become operational in the middle of the year -- just in time to ramp up for iPhone 6 production, assuming Apple intends to introduce a new model next fall. Pegatron has not specifically said that the new facility is for Apple production, saying only that it will help the company meet demand over the next 2-3 years. Pegatron also makes game consoles and computers, but its present Shanghai facilities are mostly used for Apple products.
Little is known about the future "iPhone 6," other than that Apple is under pressure to produce a new design that features a somewhat larger screen. If Apple follows its own tradition, the future iPhone will also feature a redesign from the current iPhone 5 shape. There have been reports that Apple is prototyping various screen sizes in an effort to find one that allows for the best user experience, with speculation saying that a future "iPhone 6" screen could run between 4.7 and 5.7 inches. A rumor suggests that Apple will retain the 8MP camera currently in the iPhone 5s, but this is unverified and would seem unlikely.
The company has staunchly retained the slim two-inch screen width (four inches diagonally) through all its models thus far, saying that users like being able to control all functions of the phone using one hand. While the screen size has not been seen to have hurt iPhone sales, another market of users who don't mind needing two hands or a stylus to operate their "phablet" devices, and there is concern that the obviously larger screens of those devices is persuading some customers to choose Android devices.
Currently, Pegatron is largely responsible for assembling the the iPhone 5c and iPad mini, but there has been talk that Apple would like to shift more business to Pegatron due to the company's quality of work and ability to take some of the load off Foxconn, Apple's primary device assembler. Pegatron reported revenues of Tw$882 billion in 2013, the majority of that from Apple orders.