After years of perceived languishing in the eyes of many investors, Apple finally appears poised to release a long-elusive new product with its iWatch later this year. Some question just how much the wearable device will ultimately propel Apple's already massive corporate ship, but the net effect certainly won't be negative.
However, the most exciting storyline in terms of immediate financial impact in Apple's fall launch cycle will undoubtedly be the next version of Apple's iconic smartphone, the iPhone 6, which is set to clear a key hurdle in the coming weeks in its journey from rumor to reality.
The iPhone 6 gets the green light
As recently recounted by Bloomberg, Apple is set to officially initiate production of the iPhone 6 with its assembly partners in China as soon as early July, which keeps Apple fully on schedule to once again target its typical mid-September iPhone unveil.
This news comes on the heels of, and helps substantiate, the recent spate of rumors that longtime Apple assembly partner Foxconn plans to hire as many as 100,000 workers to help it handle the massive influx of work Apple's iPhone build-out should bring. Further lending to the notion that Apple's iPhone 6 is set to enter production, Taiwanese industrial assembly giant Pegatron, which has rumored to have received as much as 30% of Apple's total iPhone 6 build order, has also been rumor to be ramping its hiring as well.
Purportedly leaked rumors from within Apple's East Asian supply chain, which are heavily reported on by potentially dubious Asian publications, are always worth taking with a grain of salt. However, given the recent degree of activity and consistent coverage from a number of well-respected publications (Bloomberg being a case in point) that also claim inside sources, it seems like this recent spate of iPhone 6 production rumors are the real deal. Take it to the bank: Apple's iPhone 6 is finally headed into production.
Big things in store for Apple
Moreover, the Bloomberg piece also supports the common claim that Apple indeed will further fragment the iPhone lineup along screen sizes with its iPhone 6. The claim that Apple will launch both a 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch phone has been perhaps the most pervasive rumor to date, and this rumor only further substantiates the idea.
The two-screen-size dynamic is especially key here for Apple to maximize the iPhone 6's massive financial potential. With this iPhone launch, Apple will have the most direct exposure to key emerging markets, China most specifically, where demand is strong for smartphones with screen sizes larger than 5 inches. This, combined with the fact that roughly 50% of Apple's current iPhone installed base runs legacy models, sets the stage for windfall profits for Apple when the iPhone 6 hits the market later this year.
So while rumors will continue to swirl regarding Apple's critical profit driver, the recent claims that Apple's iPhone 6 will finally go into production next month certainly seem believable. And thankfully for Apple investors everywhere, things should only get more exciting for Apple as we fly toward what should be a fall to remember for the world's largest tech giant.
Andrew Tonner owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.