Apple has asked Foxconn to hire additional staff at its Zhengzhou facility, suggesting that production may be starting for the new iPhone and low-cost iPhone, a person familiar with the plans has informed Bloomberg.
“Workers have been recruited at Foxconn’s plant in Zhengzhou, eastern China, for the past month, ending a hiring freeze imposed in February, said the person, who asked not to be named because the plans haven’t been made public. The extra workers will assemble the new device as well as existing models and have been added at Apple’s request to boost capacity, the person said.”
As Foxconn resumes hiring, the massive facility currently employs between 250,000 and 300,000 Chinese workers, said Liu Kun, a spokesman of the Taipei-based company. But he didn’t specify how many new employees have entered the facility last month.
Rumours about the next-generation iPhone launch have been varied, but as you may recall, the majority of whispers pointed to a June release. If the iPhone 5S indeed arrives in June, it would mark less then a year since the launch of the iPhone 5.
To contrast the above whispers, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said last week that Apple could face technical challenges assembling the iPhone 5S, which might trigger launch delays.
Also, rumours that surfaced so far talked about the iPhone 5S’ selling point to be the fingerprint scanner — which does makes sense considering Apple’s acquisition of Authentec — and the voices are whispering about a lower-cost iPhone launch targeting developing markets. The budget iPhone is expected to arrive in multiple colours.
Update: The Wall Street Journal’s sources have revealed some numbers:
The Taiwanese company said Monday it has added about 10,000 assembly-line workers a week in Zhengzhou, its major production facility for iPhones, since the last week of March.
“We have been very busy recently as we will start mass-producing the new iPhone soon,” said a Zhengzhou-based Foxconn executive who has direct knowledge of production plans.