Apple cranking up iPhone 6 production to hit 70-80 million units

The next iPhone will see Apple crank up production to unparalleled levels, according to the latest rumour which has leaked out.

Apparently Cupertino has told manufacturers that it wants 70 to 80 million units of its 4.7in and 5.5in iPhones, so says the Wall Street Journal (via PC World), which makes this the largest production run for an Apple smartphone ever.

That quantity is ordered through to the end of 2014, in comparison to 50 to 60 million units for last year's iPhone 5S and 5C – so Apple is expecting to sell around a third more devices this time round.

That makes sense, as this time, the iPhone isn't merely a small evolutionary step forward – big changes are planned in terms of majorly increasing the screen size (and putting out a phablet variant), as well as switching to Sapphire glass (or some kind of blend), making the phone much thinner, and bringing the likes of NFC and wireless charging on board. Doubtless there'll be other improvements too – if Apple is looking at a much heftier amount of units shifted, it must be confident that this year's models will grab the attention of consumers.

The hitch is that the new (sapphire glass or blend of sapphire and traditional glass) displays have been causing manufacturing problems, and apparently component makers have been primed to turn out 120 million handsets by the close of 2014 to take into account a possible higher failure rate for the screen.

Rumours about this have been persistent – and particularly that the screen of the phablet device has caused even more issues at its larger size, which is possibly why that model will launch a month or so later than the 4.7in iPhone. The use of sapphire glass has apparently complicated matters further.

Production of the iPhone 6 is expected to be firing up this week, quite possibly as we write, ahead of a mid-September launch (at least for the 4.7in model).

For a full roundup of all the latest rumours and updates on the iPhone 6, check out our rolling live coverage.