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By all accounts, this year’s iPhone launch will be a big deal. Unlike the last few years, which have seen mostly-incremental improvements, Apple is expected to blow the doors off with the 10th anniversary iPhone.
We already have some idea of what the handset will look like, but a supply chain report now suggests that Apple will be ramping up production months before it usually does. That hints at one thing: Apple is expecting the iPhone 8 to sell like crazy.
The report comes from BlueFin Research via Barron’s, and suggests that Apple will ramp up production in June, months ahead of the usual schedule:
Interestingly, our present reads suggest a 300% increase in iPhone 8/X builds in the June quarter, now sitting at 9M. As a result, overall June quarter builds have increased from 45M to 48M, with the sharp increase in iPhone 8 offset somewhat by modest declines in legacy models. In the past, builds of upcoming releases began in earnest early in the September quarter, so this is a departure from AAPL’s normal build cadence.
The report specifically says that Apple will not release the phone earlier than usual, so ramping up production presumably means that Apple is planning for bigger sales than usual.
That would line up well with the rumored specs and features of the handset. We’re expecting to see an edge-to-edge display with very little bezel, including at the top and bottom. That would mean integrating the home button, speaker and front-facing camera into the phone. But it would also mean a serious design upgrade, and provide a big selling point for a phone line that’s been very samey for the last three years.