Foxconn takes on more staff to ramp up iPhone production?

Apple has asked manufacturing firm Foxconn to take on additional staff at its Zhengzhou factory, Bloomberg reports.

Foxconn apparently began hiring at the factory a month ago, adding to the current workforce of between 250,000 and 300,000 people.

Workers have been recruited at Foxconn’s plant in Zhengzhou, eastern China, for the past month, ending a hiring freeze imposed in February, said the person, who asked not to be named because the plans haven’t been made public. The extra workers will assemble the new device as well as existing models and have been added at Apple’s request to boost capacity, the person said.

The extra hiring is likely to support production of a rumoured low-cost iPhone to compete with offerings from Google such as the Nexus 4, which is available from just £239 on the Google Play store. Apple has been rumoured to be planning to introduce its next-generation iPhone as soon as the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference, which has itself been rumoured for its usual fall in June.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo just last week predicted that work on a fingerprint sensor would result in the iPhone 5S launching later than many expected. Kuo declined to mention a specific launch date for the 5S, or indeed a low-cost iPhone, however outlined three possible scenarios involving a launch taking place between September and November.

“Apple has to work out how to prevent interference from the black and white coating material under the cover glass,” Kuo said. “Apple is the first to attempt this function and technology, and time is needed to find the right coating material, which will likely affect iPhone 5S shipments.”

The company were landed with a similar dilemma when releasing the white iPhone 4. Apple reported issues with light leaking through the lighter material and the device finally launched many months later. Some users, however, still noted the issue had never been fully rectified. This, of course, was met with similar discontent caused by the iPhone 4’s initial antenna issues, causing the company to give out free ‘bumper’ cases to all affected users.

Despite the associated technical challenges Apple may have in assembling the iPhone 5S, we’re likely to see a mid-2013 launch as per usual.

Will you be looking to upgrade to the 5S? Do you think Apple can innovate sufficiently to regain some of the market share being eaten up by rivals such as Samsung? Let me know in the comments down below or over on our Twitter page; @GeekilyUK.

Ben Buffone

I'm a web designer, journalist and student in my last year of A-Levels. Joined Geekily in February 2013.

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