Apple has reportedly instructed suppliers to produce up to 96 million iPhones for the first half of 2021, a nearly 30% year-on-year increase. A late surge in demand for the iPhone 12 is said to have led to the decision.
Nikkei Asia. says its sources tell it that the new orders include the latest iPhone 12 models, as well as the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE. However, industrywide components shortages could make Apple’s goal unattainable.
The tentative full-year forecast that Apple shared with its suppliers suggests it plans to build up to 230 million iPhones in 2021, including both old and new models, the people said. This would mark a 20% rise from 2019, though the target will be regularly reviewed and revised in response to any changes in consumer demand, they added.
“The planned production for the next quarter and the following quarter have been decided and the outlook is quite bright,” an executive at a key Apple supplier told Nikkei. “The iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max are especially stronger than we estimated, while the demand for iPhone 12 is in line with the forecast, but iPhone 12 mini is a bit sluggish,” the person added.
GF Securities analyst Jeff Pu told Nikkei that most suppliers and market watchers are optimistic about 2021 demand, and he believes iPhone shipments will “certainly” return to growth next year. However, Pu also cautioned that next year’s “iPhone 13” might not perform as well as Apple’s first 5G iPhone has.
“We are a bit conservative about its next new iPhone lineup which is set to be released in the second half of 2021,” Pu said. “We don’t see the excitement for the new model in 2021 after its first 5G iPhone lineup this year,” he added.
Apple is expected to follow suit in 2021, offering four iPhone variations in the same sizes as the iPhone 12. (A 5.4-inch iPhone mini, a 6.1-inch low-cost iPhone, a 6.1-inch Pro model, and a 6.7-inch Pro Max model.) No major changes are expected, and the 2021 iPhones are expected to have basically the same feature set as this year’s iPhones, with the exception of improved camera capabilities, a faster A-series processor, and an improved 5G chip.