The iPhone 13 series will come with a larger battery capacity and wider 5G support than the existing models, a report has predicted, confirming previous speculation. Apple would also be embracing a new way of assembling iPhone cameras that could cut costs somewhat. Separately, component supplier Foxconn has predicted that there could be a shortage in the supply of the iPhone 13 components due to ongoing production restrictions. The new iPhone models are expected to launch sometime in September.
Market research firm TrendForce said in its latest press release that the iPhone 13 series would come with an all-new flexible charging board that would include a System-in-Package (SiP) to save some space. This would allow Apple to have a larger battery pack, which has already been rumored.
The company also predicted that the iPhone 13 models would have a next-generation SoC based on a 5nm+ node that could help improve performance and provide better battery efficiency over existing iPhone models. It is further assumed that the new iPhone versions will offer wider 5G connectivity using millimeter wave (mmWave). There could also be improved display and camera sensors, the note said. The iPhone 13 Pro models in particular were expected to receive an improved wide-angle lens with autofocus.
Apple is likely to see a 30 percent year-on-year increase in total iPhone shipments in the third quarter of 2021, thanks to the speculated September release of its iPhone 13 models. However, according to TrendForce, the fourth quarter could see a five percent year-over-year decline.
The Cupertino-based company is also expected to see an overall increase in iPhone sales for the second half of this year compared to the same period last year. Furthermore, the research firm estimated that iPhone models could account for 16.7 percent of all smartphone shipments this year.
TrendForce has also reiterated what it said in its June report that the iPhone 13 would be priced similarly to the iPhone 12 series.
“In terms of retail prices, the iPhone 13 series is expected to remain comparable to the iPhone 12 series, assuming Apple can effectively control production costs as the latest models do not have significant hardware upgrades. As a result of this aggressive pricing schedule, iPhone shipment is likely to maintain its growth trajectory for two consecutive years,” the company said.
A separate report from South Korean news site The Elec says Apple is changing the way its iPhone camera modules are assembled to cut costs.
According to the report, the company used pre-assembled cameras from suppliers LG InnoTek, Sharp and O’Film until last year. It is now changing that tradition by consolidating camera module production to Foxconn. This would help reduce production costs to some extent. However, it is not clear whether Apple is willing to pass on the savings to consumers.
Foxconn is said to have purchased test equipment from the Korean Hyvision System, which offers automatic test and measurement systems for mobile camera modules. The equipment would be used to test lenses such as wide angle, ultra wide angle and telephoto, in addition to optical axis and image sensors.
For the iPhone 13 models, Apple is said to have ordered 20 percent more components than the 90 million units it had booked for the iPhone 12 series. However, it is unlikely that the company would adopt its new production method for the upcoming iPhone 13 family as it is already speculated that it will be in production. Nevertheless, Apple may use Foxconn-assembled cameras on its iPhone units in the future.
Foxconn has reported strong second-quarter earnings, but the trend is unlikely to continue as it forecast modest growth of 3 to 15 percent in the current quarter. The Taiwanese supplier has cited a parts shortage as a key factor for its marginal growth, as reported by Reuters.
The shortage of components could have consequences for the iPhone 13 series, among others.
“The epidemic situation appears to be deteriorating in Asia,” said Foxconn chairman Liu Young-way. “As Asia is the main global hub for ICT components, it is necessary to closely monitor whether the epidemic will have an impact on the overall supply chain.”
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) also recently forecast that the global chipset shortage could persist through 2022.
Citing people familiar with the matter, a Bloomberg report last month said Apple had asked suppliers to produce 90 million next-generation iPhone models this year. This was 20 percent more than what Apple demanded last year. But with the parts shortage predicted by vendors including Foxconn and TSMC, it seems uncertain for the iPhone maker to meet the demanded supplies.