An iPhone 5 ad in Taipei. (Photo/Chen Chun-wei)
Taiwanese companies in Apple's supply chain have begun preparations to produce parts for new iPhone models likely to be launched in the third quarter of this year, First Capital Management said in a research note Monday.
With the smartphone industry gradually maturing, Apple is expected to adopt a dual screen-size iPhone strategy this year to cater to the growing trend toward larger displays and better resolution, said the company, a subsidiary of First Financial Holding.
Apple will launch a 4-inch iPhone 5S, an upgraded version of the iPhone 5, and a brand new iPhone model with a 4.8-inch display in the second half of the year, the research note said.
In preparation for the launch of these two new iPhone models, local parts manufacturers have begun preparing materials for test production in the second quarter and shipments in the third quarter.
Combined shipments of the iPhone 5S and 4.8-inch new iPhones will reach 32 million units in the third quarter and 67 million units in the fourth quarter, the research note predicted.
Besides Apple, other major smartphone makers are also expected to release various flagship devices with displays in the 4.7-5 inch range, the report said.
While smartphones with 4-inch screens will remain mainstream items, more devices with displays larger than 5 inches will also gain popularity during the year and rise from 20% of the market to as high as 40%, First Capital Management predicted.
Meanwhile, Apple will reportedly set up a research and development center in Shanghai.
The Shanghai Commercial Commission said in a Jan. 23 post on the microblogging website Sina Weibo that construction of the Apple R&D center was finished and was scheduled to begin operations this summer.
It further said Apple will pay more than 50 million yuan (US$8 million) in annual rent to use the facility.