According to the Commercial Times (Forbes coverage here), a Chinese-language newspaper, Apple has awarded a 12 million unit contract for the iPhone to Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision (known to you and I as Foxconn).
Details are sketchy and Apple is confirming nothing but the report also claims that the iPhone will launch sometime during the first half of 2007. If this is the case then it's possible that Apple CEO Steve Jobs may show off the handset at the Macworld Expo early in January 2007.[poll id=27]
Manufacturers would do well try to torpedo any iPhone before it can gain any real tractionIf this report is correct, this will bring to an end months of speculation. It's certainly going to be interesting to see Apple enter (or should that be re-enter) the cellphone market. It's going to be very interesting to see how both carriers and other cellphone manufacturers respond to this. I don't think that they are going to allow Apple to dominate this market in the same way it dominated the media player market. Existing manufacturers would do well try to torpedo any iPhone before it can gain any real traction.
I'm still interested in how Apple are going to get operator support for the iPhone (rumors are that Apple has gone to Cingular). Any iPhone from Apple is going to be bound to iTunes, cutting the wireless operators out of the lucrative market music download market (there the feeling is that if users are willing to pay ridiculous prices for daft ringtones, that they’ll be willing to pay ridiculous prices for music too), a market that they are just getting into. The enormous success of the iPod and iTunes is bound to make all the big wireless operators wary of letting Apple get a foot in the door, especially when you consider how much power the company now wields over the recording industry.