Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Non-Stop: The supply of Apple‘s (AAPL) new flagship iPhone is beginning to rise, reducing shipping times, as manufacturing of the pricey handset surges, the Wall Street Journal notes. Apple’s supply partner Foxconn, which handles the majority of production for the iPhone 5s, is now producing the new phone 24 hours a day. The company has allocated 100 assembly lines to build the iPhone 5s and has more than 300,000 employees working on the device. Its massive factory in Zhengzhou, China, is reportedly churning out 500,000 iPhone 5s units every day. The iPhone 5s debuted last month to limited launch-time supplies, creating a large backlog of orders for the phone. Recent rumors indicated that Apple was boosting orders for the iPhone 5s as consumers showed a marked preference for the higher-priced iPhone, compared to its less expensive sibling, the iPhone 5c, which also launched last month. Apple has reportedly trimmed orders for the 5c due to weaker consumer demand for the colorful handset. Foxconn is said to be running its factories at the maximum capacity to make the iPhone 5s at a time when Apple is rumored to be looking to expand its range of supply chain partners.
Calendar: Chinese media reports indicate that the world’s largest wireless carrier will begin offering the iPhone in mid-December, AppleInsider notes. According to the Xinhau News Agency, the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c will launch on China Mobile (CHL) on Dec. 18. The carrier — which has more than 700 million subscribers — is preparing to roll out its new 4G TDE-LTE network across China. The newest iPhones contain chips capable of running on the network — a shift from earlier iPhones which were incompatible with China Mobile’s technology. One analyst has estimated that there could be as many as 70 million potential iPhone buyers among China Mobile customers. A deal with China Mobile is seen as critical to bolstering Apple’s eroding position in the Chinese smartphone market.
Quick Turnabout: Consumers could soon see a lot more of Apple’s new Retina iPad Mini, DigiTimes claims. The new 7.9-inch tablet was quietly launched earlier this month with severely constrained supplies, prompting a soaring mountain of backlogged orders at wireless carriers, which were reported to have received few or no shipments of the new tablet. The inventory constraints were rumored to stem from manufacturing problems with the pixel-dense displays. Now, DigiTimes says that Apple has removed the bottlenecks with the production of the Retina screens, allowing it to ramp up production to meet demand. Apple is reported to have boosted Retina iPad Mini orders to 4 million units in November.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.