Apple is already placing orders for components and final manufacturing for its forthcoming NFC-savvy iPad 2.0 and iPhone 5 devices, bringing new manufacturers into the supply line and plotting for early and mid-summer ship dates (well, February production and May production cycles for some manifestation the following months) for the two devices, the latest reports claim.
Leaks from Pegatron overnight confirm the company has been contracted to manufacture ten million units of the next-generation iPhone -- that's ten million units in addition to an existing similar commitment to manufacture the Verizon iPhone 4.
Get ready to rumble
Meanwhile an additional report from the China Times seemingly confirms the iPad will go into manufacture in February with the iPhone 5 set to roll off of the production lines in May, just in time for its anticipated June debut, (assuming all the tests check out OK).60-70 million iPhones and perhaps 30 million iPads this year, plus tens of millions of iPod touch devices. These are also likely to gain NFC-based payment support in September.
Securing Apple's big iPhone orders has caused a little consternation at Pegatron (formerly part of ASUS). To meet the order schedule the company has cancelled its annual holiday break and will triple employee salaries for the period instead. iPhones are mainly in production at Pegatron's plants in Shanghai, China, though some iPhone manufacture is also scheduled to take place in its Suzhou, China plants.
Your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch 'iWallet'
We now know the future iPhones and iPad 2.0's will be NFC-capable, meaning the 'iWallet' is finally on its way. Benjamin Vigier, Apple's new Mobile Commerce Manager has huge experience in the NFC field, including stints at Starbucks and PayPal.
(Image above by kind permission of Patently Apple)
Apple may also seed free or subsidized NFC payments terminals to merchants in an attempt to popularize mobile payment solutions.
There could be smoke in such fire: Apple last year reportedly was looking to acquire contactless/near field communications tech firm, VIVOtech, a provider of "Contactless/near field communications (NFC) payment software, NFC smart posters, contactless readers/writers, and over the air card provisioning, promotion, and transaction management infrastructure software,".
iTunes payment systems
There could indeed be a slight chance Apple might acquire Square, in order to use its technologies alongside iPod touch and iPhone units to create such payment-taking kiosks.
Doherty claims Apple will revamp iTunes so it will hold not only users credit-card account information but also loyalty credits and points. Kind of the same thing I speculated on in this report. And yes, it puts iTunes up against conventional credit card firms.
Apple has a host of patents to protect such ideas, including the iPad, iBuy and iCoupons patents, patents for airline ticketing and boarding passes, product marketing, live event ticketing and more.
There had been some expectation which I confess I didn't share that the next-gen devices may also host Pico projectors -- miniature video projectors so you can share video or presentations from your mobile device -- this seems unlikely on the basis of a second report.
Power consumption, poor image quality and weak brightness mean devices integrating this technology are unlikely to appear before next year, reports claim. Despite this, Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics and RIM have introduced smartphones with integrated pico projectors. The quality and price of the technologies need to fall before any wide-scale consumer roll-out.
As discussed elsewhere (here, or here), next-gen Apple mobile devices are also expected to host cameras throughout, faster processors, much-improved graphics processors, more memory and are likely to be slimmer than before.
The next-generation iPhone (which some say may be called the iPhone 4S, rather than iPhone 5, but what's in a name?) may kick against this trend, integrating a hybrid CDMA/GSM radio for use on all global networks. Hosting such a radio may make the device thicker.
Apple meanwhile is thought to have acquired some huge chunks of the component supply chain in a recently-disclosed $3.9 billion supply deal. This deal is likely to make it even more difficult for competitors to bring their vapor-ware iPad competitors to market.
What do you think? Are you going to be buying one of these new Apple devices? Are you excited or repelled at the notion of your smartphone also becoming your 'iWallet'? What else would you like Apple's new crop of devices to do? Please let us all know in comments below, and I'd once again like to invite you to follow me on Twitter so I can let you know when these items are published here first on Computerworld.