The COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse impact on the smartphone industry, affecting everything from shipment figures to delaying the pace of innovation to a variable extent for different players in the industry. However, it appears that the demand is going to surge again, and one particular smartphone maker that is going to accordingly adjust its production goal is Apple. As per a NIKKEI Asia report, Apple has set a production goal of 96 million iPhones in 2021’s first half, thanks to a higher demand for its 5G-ready iPhone 12 family during the pandemic. The aforementioned number amounts to a 30% surge on a year-over-year basis.
“The Cupertino-based tech giant has asked suppliers to build some 95 million to 96 million iPhones, including the latest iPhone 12 range and the older iPhone 11 and iPhone SE, multiple people familiar with the matter told Nikkei Asia — though industrywide shortages of key components could threaten that target,” says the report. Apple has reportedly told suppliers that it has set a production forecast of 230 million iPhones in 2021, which includes both the latest iPhone 12 portfolio as well as older models.
The tentative plan of making 230 million units in 2021 almost matches Apple’s existing annual shipment record of 231.5 million units it logged back in 2015. The net yearly production target for the next year also marks a 20% increase compared to last year. However, nothing has been set in stone and the final numbers might vary depending on the consumer demand patterns over the coming months.
“The planned production for the next quarter and the following quarter have been decided and the outlook is quite bright,” an executive from a key Apple supplier was quoted as saying by Nikkei. “The iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max are especially stronger than we estimated, while the demand for iPhone 12 is in line with the forecast, but iPhone 12 mini is a bit sluggish.” While the industry is going through a severe component shortage, Apple has reportedly stockpiled on processor chips to make sure that the industry-wide supply crunch doesn’t affect its shipment roadmap.