6.1-inch ‘iPhone 12’ Production to Begin in July Ahead of Other 2020 Models

Volume production of Apple's forthcoming 6.1-inch "iPhone 12" models will start in July-August ahead of the rest of the company's flagship iPhone lineup this year, according to a new report by DigiTimes.


Apple is widely rumored to be launching four new ‌‌iPhone‌‌ models in the usual September or October timeframe, although supply constraints and delays in production ramp-up could cause a staggered launch compared to previous years.

Of the four new models coming this year, rumors suggest that Samsung will supply the displays for three models: the 5.4-inch entry-level ‌‌iPhone 12‌‌, and the 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch "‌‌iPhone 12‌‌ Pro" models. The fourth new model, a 6.1-inch ‌‌iPhone 12‌‌ with similar specs to the entry-level model, is where BOE and LG are said to be supplying displays.

The reason given for the earlier production timeline for the two 6.1-nch models is that they will use touch modules that need to be outsourced from other supply chain partners, whereas the 5.4-inch and 6.7-inch OLED panels provided by Samsung will come with the panel maker's Y-OCTA Touch technology. Samsung's Y-OCTA flexible display tech has the touch sensor placed directly on the OLED panel without the need for a separate touch layer.

Today's report chimes with display analyst Ross Young's report last month detailing the resolutions and features of Apple's upcoming All-OLED ‌iPhone‌ lineup. That report also claimed that panel production on components for the new 2020 iPhones will begin at the end of July, although it didn't say anything about specific models going into production ahead of the rest.
Related Roundup: iPhone 12

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Samsung Expected to Provide Nearly 80% of OLED Displays for iPhone 12 Lineup

Despite Apple's focus on diversifying its suppliers for various components in its products, Samsung Display is expected to still provide nearly 80 percent of the OLED displays used in this year's "iPhone 12" lineup, according to a preview of a DigiTimes report that will be published in full tomorrow.

Samsung Display has obtained nearly 80% of the overall panel orders for Apple's next-generation iPhone series tentatively dubbed ‌iPhone 12‌ slated for launch later this year, according to industry sources. LG Display and BOE are other panel suppliers for the upcoming iPhones.
Samsung was the exclusive display supplier for Apple's first OLED ‌iPhone‌, the ‌iPhone‌ X back in 2017. LG came on board the following year as a second supplier, and BOE is now reportedly entering Apple's supply chain for the 2020 phones as Apple goes all-OLED in its flagship lineup for the first time.

Apple is widely rumored to be launching four new ‌iPhone‌ models in the usual September or October timeframe, although supply constraints and delays in production ramp-up may lead to a somewhat staggered release as we've seen in recent years.

Of the four new models coming this year, rumors have indicated that Samsung will supply the displays for three models: the 5.4-inch entry-level ‌iPhone 12‌ and 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch "‌iPhone 12‌ Pro" models. The fourth new model, a 6.1-inch ‌iPhone 12‌ with similar specs to the entry-level model, is where BOE and LG are said to be supplying displays.
Related Roundup: iPhone 12

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DigiTimes: Future AirPods to Include ‘Ambient Light Sensors’

Apple is reportedly looking to integrate light sensors in a new model of AirPods in the next couple of years, according to a new report today. In a paywalled article, DigiTimes reports that ASE Technology could be involved in manufacturing the sensors:

Apple is expected to incorporate ambient light sensors (ALS) in next-generation ‌AirPods‌ devices in the coming 1-2 years, and Taiwan's ASE Technology may handle the backend process for the new component, as it has moved to purchase more packaging machines, according to industry sources.
The preview of the report doesn't specify what function the ambient light sensors would provide, but it's possible they would replace the optical sensors that ‌AirPods‌ currently use to detect when they're being worn.

However, it's unclear why Apple would want to use a more advanced type of sensor to replicate this existing functionality. DigiTimes' sources often provide reliable information, but the site has a mixed track record when it comes to interpreting that information and accurately deciphering Apple's plans. On that basis, it's conceivable that the sensors could be related to rumored health monitoring features like heart rate and/or blood oxygen saturation from the ear.

Clip-on finger pulse oximeters work by shining red and infrared light through the blood vessels and a light detector measures the volume of blood oxygen based on the amount of light that passes through the finger. These sensors can also be used to measure pulse rate.

In hospitals, ear-based clip-on pulse oximeters work on the same principle and shine light through the earlobe. Part of the light is absorbed by the skin and the part not absorbed reaches the light sensor on the other side.

It's unclear whether Apple could achieve a similar function without redesigning the way ‌AirPods‌ and AirPods Pro sit in the ear. As things stand, a more likely candidate for the technology would be Apple's fitness-oriented earphones: Powerbeats Pro sport an over ear design similar to Freewavz's true wireless earphones, which feature integrated pulse oximeters for measuring blood oxygen and heart rate.


Early last year, DigiTimes claimed that Apple would release next-generation ‌AirPods‌ with "health monitoring features" in the first half of 2019. While Apple launched second-generation ‌AirPods‌ in March 2019, health monitoring smarts were conspicuously absent.

DigiTimes receives a flood of data from the Asian supply chain, some of which it claims pertains to prototypes or test products that never make it to market or change significantly before launch, skewing its accuracy. Given that caveat, it's possible Apple held back the health monitoring features for a future ‌AirPods‌ model. We certainly know Apple has explored how it might incorporate health monitoring features into future ‌AirPods‌.

One Apple patent describes an earbud-based fitness monitoring system which integrates an advanced biometric sensor that can detect physiological metrics including temperature, heart rate, perspiration levels and more, through skin contact and via built-in motion sensors.

Blood oxygen monitoring is useful for measuring fitness and recovery, but it can also reveal health conditions like sleep apnea and other issues. Apple is expected to activate the feature in a future Apple Watch model, and CEO Tim Cook has highlighted Apple's interest in health as a major focus that may actually end up being "Apple's greatest contribution to mankind."
Related Roundups: AirPods 2, AirPods Pro

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Apple’s ‘AirPods Studio’ Over-Ear Headphones Have Reportedly Kicked Off Production

We've been hearing quite a bit recently about Apple's long-rumored over-ear headphones, said to be called "AirPods Studio," and it looks like a launch may be coming in the relatively near future.

Artist mockup based on Beats Studio3

Rumors have generally suggested a summer or fall launch for ‌AirPods Studio‌, with a report earlier this week claiming that suppliers in Vietnam will begin shipments to Apple in June or July, but a new report from Taiwanese site DigiTimes indicates that production on the new headphones is already underway.
As Apple is likely to accelerate dropping its wired earphones, the vendor will resume normal shipments for AirPods 2 in the second half of the year and its new over-ear headphones, dubbed ‌AirPods Studio‌, has also kicked off production, all securing growth momentum for rigid-flex boards suppliers for the devices, including Unitech Printed Circuit Board and Compeq Manufacturing, the sources said.
The mention comes in a larger story about circuit board suppliers for the whole ‌AirPods‌ lineup and doesn't include any further details on the ‌AirPods Studio‌, but it certainly looks like a launch is coming sooner rather than later.

Apple's virtual Worldwide Developers Conference, which kicks off exactly one month from today, could be a good opportunity to introduce the new headphones, although they are not necessarily a developer-focused product and so Apple may opt for a separate launch so as to not distract from the focus of the event.

Among the ‌AirPods Studio‌ details revealed in recent rumors are a $349 price point matching the Beats Studio3 pricing, a pair of models in premium leather-like and more breathable fitness-friendly fabrics, ear and headband padding that attaches magnetically for easy swapping, and embedded sensors for head and neck detection and automatically routing left and right audio channels to the appropriate earcups regardless of which way the headphones are worn.
Related Roundup: AirPods Studio

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Apple’s Augmented Reality Glasses Again Rumored for 2021 Launch

Apple's rumored augmented reality glasses will launch in 2021, with "small-volume" production expected to start in the first half of the year, according to paywalled information shared by DigiTimes.


Apple to roll out AR glasses in 2021

Apple is expected to roll out its augmented reality glasses in 2021, according to sources at related suppliers, which are gearing up to kick off small-volume production for the device in the first half of the year.
The full report will not be published until tomorrow and the brief excerpt offers no further information, but it comes on the heels of an extensive report earlier this week from Front Page Tech host Jon Prosser detailing what he has heard about the glasses.

Prosser says the glasses will be called "Apple Glass" and start at $499, with prescription lenses available for an additional cost. In line with previous rumors, he says Apple Glass will rely on a paired iPhone for most of its functionality, allowing the glasses themselves to be as slim and light as possible.

According to Prosser's sources, Apple's original plans involved unveiling Apple Glass at the annual ‌iPhone‌ event in September or October, but restrictions on in-person gatherings could push the debut back to a March 2021 event. Either way, Apple was said to be targeting a late 2021 or early 2022 launch, which lines up with today's report from DigiTimes.
Related Roundup: Apple Glasses

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Apple Shares iPhone 12 Camera Module Orders Between Three Suppliers

Three of Apple's suppliers will share camera module orders for its forthcoming "iPhone 12" lineup, according to sources from Taiwan's handset supply chain (via DigiTimes).


Rumors have suggested Apple will complete its transition to an all-OLED iPhone lineup in 2020 with one new 5.4-inch device, two 6.1-inch models, and one 6.7-inch handset.

Rumors suggest the 6.7-inch ‌iPhone‌ and one 6.1-inch model will be higher-end OLED devices with triple-lens cameras, while the 5.4 and 6.1-inch models will be lower-end iPhones with dual-lens cameras and a more affordable price tag.

LG has reportedly landed camera module orders for the two high-end 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch devices, with module shipments expected to reach 35-40 million units in 2020. Sharp and O-film are said to have grabbed orders for the two lower-end 5.4-inch and 6.1-inch phones, with camera module shipments expected to hit 50-55 million units this year.

Sharp is thought to account for 60 to 70 percent of those shipments, with the remaining 30-40 percent going to O-film. Production of the camera modules will reportedly begin in July.

Rumors suggest there will be a new TrueDepth camera system that cuts down on the size of the notch on the front. There are also rumors of a 3D triple-lens rear camera system that uses a laser to calculate depth information for objects in the room, improving both photography and AR capabilities.

The new 3D camera, which sounds like the LiDAR Scanner feature that Apple added in the 2020 iPad Pro, is expected to be limited to the high-end ‌iPhone‌ models

Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says the 6.1 and 5.4-inch iPhones are expected to go into mass production in September, while mass production on the larger 6.7-inch ‌iPhone‌ will be delayed until October because of its more complicated design. If production is delayed until October, at least some of the iPhones could launch later than originally expected.

According to the latest industry estimates cited by the report, shipments of new iPhones are likely to reach 70 million in 2020, with the 6.1-inch models (both lower-end and high-end ones) to serve as the driving force, accounting for 50 percent of total shipments. The 5.4-inch model meanwhile is expected to make up 30-35 percent and the high-end 6.7-inch one 15-20 percent of shipments.
Related Roundup: iPhone 12

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Report: In-Display Fingerprint Scanner Market Grew Eightfold in 2019

Global shipments of fingerprint-on-display (FoD) sensors grew nearly eightfold in 2019, according to tech market research firm Omdia (via DigiTimes).

A total of 228.3 million FoD sensors were shipped in 2019, up 674% from 29.5 million in 2018, said Omdia. With FoD sensors having reached the sweet spot for market pricing, FoD shipments are expected to continue rising at a tremendous rate in 2020, expanding to more than 400 million units, Omdia indicated.
Apple stopped using its capacitive Touch ID sensor in its flagship iPhones when it introduced Face ID in 2017's iPhone X, which ditched the Home button in favor of an extended screen.

Apple has since pushed ahead with Face ID, adding it to every flagship ‌iPhone‌ since, and even including it in the iPad Pro. Meanwhile, most other smartphone brands have adopted fingerprint-on-display scanners as an advanced biometric identification technology to replace capacitive fingerprint chips. More than 70 smartphone models integrated FoD in 2019, according to Omdia.

Despite Apple's decision to move away from the technology in favor of face recognition, rumors persist about the company's interest in using under-screen fingerprint scanners in its mobile devices. Just last month we heard a report that Apple could feature the technology in an ‌iPhone‌ by 2021, while an anonymous leaker with a fairly accurate track record claimed Apple is developing a new iPad Air with under-the-screen ‌Touch ID‌.

Those rumors also lined up with reports last year from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Barclays analysts, Bloomberg, and others who said they expect Apple to release an ‌‌iPhone‌‌ with both Face ID and under-display fingerprint authentication in 2020 or 2021.

Apple has explored various in-display fingerprint scanner solutions in the past, including fingerprint sensing MicroLED displays, but has not developed in-screen fingerprint technology for a consumer device. Meanwhile, ‌‌Touch ID‌‌ has found a new lease of life on Apple's MacBook keyboards and the latest-generation iPhone SE.

With rumors suggesting Apple is working to gradually reduce the size of the notch housing the TrueDepth sensor, which powers Face ID, the most likely scenario is a biometric authentication system that combines both facial and finger sensing tech, enabling a future all-screen device featuring unparalleled mobile security.
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DigiTimes: Global Smartphone Market Facing 15% Decline in 2020

The global smartphone market is unlikely to recover from the impact of the global health crisis in the second quarter of 2020, according to DigiTimes.

Global smartphone shipments are expected to contract by 15% on year to 1.15 billion units in 2020, as major brands including Samsung Electronics, Huawei and Apple all have slashed their shipment targets for the year in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest estimate of Digitimes Research.
Apple in mid-February announced that its financial guidance for the March quarter would fall short due to the global health crisis. During its January earnings call, Apple said it expected to see revenue of $63 to $67 billion in the March quarter, but that is no longer a goal the company will be able to meet.

Apple cited lower customer demand in China and constrained ‌‌iPhone‌‌ supplies worldwide as the factors leading to lower than expected revenue.

Apple's primary ‌iPhone‌ assembler Foxconn has also slashed its 2020 revenue outlook after strict quarantines were implemented at its main base in China.

Today's DigiTimes report claims that Apple has cut its iPhone 11 orders for the second and third quarters of the year owing to the impact of the crisis.

Most of the factories in China that supply devices and components to Apple are back to churning out products, but Apple suppliers are said to be worried about how much demand there will be for the current ‌iPhone‌ models and the new iPhones expected in the fall.
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DigiTimes: New AirPods to Feature AirPods Pro Design Without Noise Cancellation

Apple plans to release new AirPods with the same design as the existing AirPods Pro but without active noise cancellation, allowing for a lower price point, according to supply chain sources cited by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes.


The paywalled report claims that Apple originally planned to unveil the new AirPods in May 2020, and while Apple has apparently not yet made any adjustments to that release schedule, the supply chain sources believe that Apple may have to postpone the launch to the second half of 2020 or even 2021 due to the global health crisis.

An excerpt from the report:
Apple may have to defer the launch of its new AirPods Pro to the second half of 2020 or even 2021, according to sources at related suppliers.

Apple originally planned to unveil the new AirPods Pro in May 2020, but the schedule may be pushed back, as Apple has been unable to send staff to the production lines in Asia to inspect the status of the TWS earbuds due to the coronavirus outbreak, the sources noted.

But Apple so far has not yet made any adjustments to the earbuds' release schedule, the sources said.
The report refers to the earphones as new AirPods Pro, but it is quite possible these could end up being regular third-generation AirPods.

The current lineup includes second-generation AirPods with a wired charging case for $159, second-generation AirPods with a wireless charging case for $199, and AirPods Pro with a wireless charging case for $249.

Over the weekend, leaker Jon Prosser said new AirPods are "ready to go" and will "probably" launch next month.
Related Roundups: AirPods 2, AirPods Pro

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DigiTimes: New AirPods Pro Likely Deferred Until Second Half of 2020 or Later

Apple is likely to defer the launch of new AirPods Pro to the second half of 2020 or some point in 2021, according to supply chain sources cited by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes.

A paywalled preview of the report:
Apple likely to defer new AirPods Pro launch
Apple is likely to defer the launch of its new AirPods Pro to the second half of 2020 or even 2021, according to sources at related suppliers.
Last month, DigiTimes had reported that Apple's suppliers would kick off production of a new entry-level version of AirPods Pro between the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second quarter, but it would not be surprising if that timeframe has changed due to the impact of the global health crisis.

Earlier this month, leaker Jon Prosser claimed that Apple was planning to release so-called "AirPods X" around September or October with a BeatsX-like design for sports and running. Prosser said those "AirPods X" are likely the same product as the entry-level AirPods Pro that DigiTimes has been referring to.

"AirPods X" were first rumored by the seemingly prescient Twitter user "l0vetodream" in early March, but details remain slim.

Prosser more recently said that Apple has new AirPods ready to launch, possibly alongside a 13-inch MacBook Pro refresh next month, suggesting that a third generation of the standard AirPods could also be on the horizon.
Related Roundup: AirPods Pro
Buyer's Guide: AirPods Pro (Buy Now)

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