Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn has signed on to produce all of the high-end iPhone 12 Pro Max models this year according to Tencent Tech. They have begun hiring for the peak season where they will produce more than 80% of the iPhone 12 series phones. The report also confirms that we will see four iPhone 12 models: iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Max, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max.
This hiring spree is normal for Foxconn and other iPhone manufacturers, as they have to prepare to produce many iPhones between now and the iPhone 12 release. The iPhone 12 release has been delayed at least a few weeks as Apple confirmed themself during their 2nd quarter earnings call. This is probably a later start on iPhone production than normal for Foxconn as there have been many supply chain issues caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
In late July last year, Bloomberg reported that Apple ordered parts for up to 75 million iPhone 11 series devices. Soon after the devices released, Nikki Asian Review reported that Apple increased their production by about 10% to make another 7 to 8 million phones. According to the report Apple will be producing around 80 million iPhone 12 series devices this year. This is more than Apple originally requested in 2019 and 2018.
Apple probably sees more demand for the iPhone 12, so they are increasing the iPhone production from previous years. They may not be anticipating the supercycle that some analysts see selling a lot of iPhone 12s and may not order enough phones for that high demand. If many are enticed by 5G and potential design changes on the iPhone 12 and more than expected choose to buy this could result in devices selling out quickly. Apple could also see less demand this year due to economic woes caused by COVID-19, so it makes sense that they aren’t ordering too many phones.
While Foxconn is currently using a human workforce to produce the iPhones, they do use some robots and have plans to automate more of their workforce. In the future, we could see less information about orders and supply chain leaks because of iPhone manufacturing being automated.