We'll see many more of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhones next year, since the company apparently plans to ramp up their production.
On Tuesday, Nikkei Asia reported that the powerful tech company aims to manufacture as many as 96 million of its signature phones in the first half of next year. It cited "multiple people familiar with the matter" as sources. If their number is accurate, it would represent a year-over-year production increase of almost 30%.
According to the article's sources, the dramatic increase is due to a surge in demand for the company's durably popular handsets because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many people throughout the world are using their phones more thanks to mandatory or self-imposed lockdown regulations that keep them in place and drive them to find avenues for entertainment or communication.
The production increase would involve more than just Apple's recently launched iPhone 12 line. The article's sources said that the company would also produce the older iPhone 11 and SE models in this manufacturing round, presumably to satisfy increased demand from more budget-oriented consumers.
Per Nikkei, a provisional full-year forecast that Apple provided its suppliers suggests it's aiming for total production of as many as 230 million iPhones in 2021. If reached, that number would be 20% higher than the 2019 tally.
If the vast majority of those handsets were shipped, they would mark a reversal of a recent trend for Apple. In both 2018 and 2019, its total smartphone shipments declined from years prior. Even in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, that metric had been trending down: Shipments were off by 1% year over year in the first nine months of 2020.