Apple’s primary manufacturing partner Foxconn is said to be increasing its staff, shortly after a freeze on new hires following the holiday season, in order to get ready for a big push come summer when Apple debuts its next iPhone. That’s the latest from the Wall Street Journal, which reported today that Foxconn is adding around 10,000 new assembly line workers a week to its iPhone production facility, with unnamed executives at the company confirming that it’s in preparation for a new iPhone launch.
The Apple partner will begin mass production of the iPhone “very soon,” according to the Wall Street Journal’s sources, which fits perfectly with the anticipated early summer launch of an iPhone 5 successor. We’ve heard previously that manufacturers are preparing for a June 2013 launch, which suggests that we’ll see the device introduced at or around WWDC 2013. Apple has introduced new iPhones at its annual developer’s conference in the past, with the exception of the last two iPhones, which were revealed and put on sale in fall instead.
The Wall Street Journal’s report doesn’t specifically mention a launch window for the iPhone, only that it will begin mass production shortly. We know from watching Apple’s production cycles in the past, however that the company typically starts large-scale production for a launch somewhere between 3 and 4 months ahead of a product going on sale. This time around, Apple is expected to introduce an iPhone 5S-type device according to most early reports, retaining design elements of the iPhone 5 but with under the hood improvements.
Also accompanying a new flagship phone will be a lower-cost offering, which sources including the WSJ suggest could be introduced around the same time as this next-gen model. This would use plastic in its construction, and also come in a variety of different colors, early leaks suggest.
Apple recently launched the iPhone 5 on T-Mobile, which early indications suggest has spurred ample renewed interest in the device. A mid-year upgrade for their flagship smartphone could make this the most successful year yet in terms of iPhone device sales, depending on how attractive any new features introduced are to prospective buyers, especially given the impact a low-cost device might have on pre-paid and emerging markets.