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Apple places iPhone 6 orders on top of solid earnings

It’s on! Apple has given the manufacturing go-ahead for its much anticipated iPhone 6, a larger screen smartphone designed to give the company a competitive product in a fast changing market.

Sources in Apple’s supply chain say the company has placed orders for 70 to 80 million iPhone 6 large screen smartphones. The new phone will be launched in September.

For years, small was good when it came to mobile phone design, and Apple’s compact iPhone was regarded as the epitome of elegant design. But as smartphone functionality increasingly embraced web browsing, watching videos and other screen-intensive activities, larger screens have become more desirable.

Phones from Samsung and others have moved to larger screens. Now Apple, once the leader, is following. A number of surveys and market reports have shown that consumers, particularly those in developing markets, are increasingly demanding larger screens.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has placed orders with the Asian manufacturers that actually make its iconic devices for up to 90 million large screen (4.7 inch) iPhone 6s. They are to be ready for a planned launch in September, Apples’ traditional release date after the northern summer holidays and before the end of year holiday buying season.

Apple’s biggest manufacturing partners are C

Apple is also planning a 5.5 inch phone, but that is unlikely to be released this year because of manufacturing problems. It may be announced in September, but availability will be very limited until manufacturing glitches are sorted out.

The report notes that Apple’s order is large than that it placed for the first manufacturing round of the interim 5c and 5s iPhones, which were announced last year. That means it is expecting larger sales.

It will need them. Apple announced its quarterly results earlier today. They showed a 13% year on year increase in iPhone sales, slightly lower than expected and a lower growth rate than the overall smartphone market. That means a reduced market share.

Apple’s revenues for the quarter were US$37.4 billion. That was lower than analyst’s forecasts, but Apple’s gross margin was 39.4%, up from last year’s 36.9%, which was much better than forecast.

Apple is still a very profitable company, with recent rises in its share price reflecting the market’s confidence in its future. Now, about those larger screens …

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