Facing delays, Apple is buying its own equipment to produce circuit boards

Apple has purchased “tens of millions of dollars” in equipment to produce the rigid flexible printed circuit boards it needs to build the new OLED iPhone 8, The Korea Herald reports. Apple doesn’t have its own production facilities, but has reportedly begun leasing the equipment to manufacturers to ensure its supply of the RFPCB components. The company was supposed to be securing the RFPCBs from Korea’s Interflex and Youngpoong Electronics and another Taiwanese company, but a source claims the supplier in Taiwan has backed out of the arrangement after the difficult work and strict quality controls made the project much less profitable. Interflex and Youngpoong Electronics are still expected to share the estimated 100 million RFPCB orders — with Apple shelling out to boost their capacities — but Apple is still looking for a new supplier in Korea to fill the gap.
The Chinese-language Economic Daily News claims all of the delays will push the iPhone 8 back to November or December, with only “small volumes” of the devices shipping initially. Yield rates are also reportedly a problem with all three key iPhone producers, with a source claiming they “have not yet reached levels that warrant mass production.” The 2017 4.7” and 5.5” iPhone models are expected to go into full production starting in August, a month or two later than usual. [via DigiTimes]

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