Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Looming: An Asian media report suggests that one of Apple’s (AAPL) leading supply chain partners is preparing to start mass production of the next-generation iPhone, AppleInsider notes. Sources tell China Times that Pegatron is hiring “thousands” of employees for its new factory in Kunshan, China, and plans to begin producing the iPhone 6 during the second quarter. Pegatron and Foxconn will reportedly share production of the new iPhone. Pegatron’s factory will hit full production of the new handset in the third quarter. If the report is accurate, it supports a likely September release for the iPhone 6. Recent rumors indicate that Apple will launch two next-generation iPhone models this year, one featuring a 4.7-inch screen and the other featuring a 5.5-inch display. Some reports have suggested that Apple could launch the new iPhones as early as June. However, Apple has consistently launched new iPhones in September and October since the 2011 release of the iPhone 4S.
Confirmed: On Tuesday, Apple launched an 8GB version of the iPhone 5c in a number of overseas markets, Re/Code notes. The new iPhone 5c model is currently listed in Apple stores and carrier websites in Australia, China, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. An Apple spokesperson told Re/Code that “the 8GB model provides a more affordable option for markets where LTE is becoming more established.” Unlocked versions of the 8GB iPhone 5c are priced about $70 below the 16GB iPhone 5c model in those markets. The 8GB iPhone 5c will likely not be sold in the U.S. Launched in September, the iPhone 5c has not sold as well as Apple had hoped and has been overshadowed by the pricier flagship iPhone 5s in developed markets. Some recent rumors had suggested that Apple would discontinue the iPhone 5c when it launches its next-generation iPhone later this year.
Succession: As it adds a new iPhone 5c model, Apple is withdrawing its oldest iPad model. In a statement, Apple said that is “replacing” the iPad 2 with the fourth-generation iPad. The 16GB version of the fourth-generation iPad will now start at $399. It becomes the new entry-level iPad model. With the withdrawal of the iPad 2, the iPad Mini becomes the only iOS device to feature an non-Retina display. Reports that Apple would drop the iPad 2 first surfaced in February.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.