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Hon Hai Reported to Make New-Version iPhones for Apple

2008/04/29 | By Ken Liu

Taipei, April 29, 2008 (CENS)--Foreign institutional investors believed Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd. had won orders to make 25 million units of Apple's latest iPhone and would begin to ship the phones in June this year.

The newest version is the third generation of this phone, weighing only 110 to 120 grams vs. first generation cousin's 158 grams and running on 3G mobile technology. Adopting plastic casing instead of aluminum-magnesium casing largely brings down the gear's weight and cost by nearly one third. In addition to weight advantage, the latest version is also more energy efficient and externally smarter. LCD screen on the phone measures 2.8 inches diagonally, a downsize from first generation's 3.5 inches.

Industry watchers pointed out that the casing-material change has helped Hon Hai lure the orders away from Foxconn Technology Co., Ltd. and Catcher Technology Co. Ltd. with its profession in manufacturing of precision plastic components for information-technology products. Foxconn and Catcher were contracted to supply aluminum casing to first-generation iPhone.

Components suppliers in Asia pointed out that Apple has asked them to ready materials for the new phones by the end of next month. They are asked to deliver components enough for 300,000 phones in the initial stage and components enough for three million phones in June.

Foreign institutional investors expected Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs to announce the latest version of iPhone in mid-June at a regular conference addressing Apple software technology and his company to make the phones available in the market late that month.

Apple has sold around 5.13 million iPhones in North America and Europe since it rolled out the first one in June last year, falling short of projected seven to eight million phones. Industry watchers ascribed the slower-than-expected shipments mostly to some inconveniences. In North America, Apple's exclusive contract supplier of the phone, telecom carrier AT&T, failed to connect many phone holders to its service. In Europe, consumers could not be bothered to buy older iPhones, which are not equipped with 3G mobile technology and pricy.

Industry watchers believed in light of the choppy past Apple would build 3G or even 3.5G mobile technology into the latest phones and would not be collaborating with only one telecom provider to supply the newest phones. Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) is said to have acquired franchise to sell the phone.