Foxconn hiring points to summer iPhone 5, report says

March 27, 2012

A report from M.I.C. Gadget mentions that Foxconn is in the midst of a hiring drive for production of the iPhone 5, causing some to speculate that the next iPhone will be coming in June, instead of in the fall.

Apple reworked its iPhone release schedule to show off its newest iteration in the fall instead of the summer, and it seems unlikely — no matter who’s hiring — that the company would cut the product life of its most successful iPhone to date.

That said, it’s Apple and if the company is planning a total refresh for its next iPhone — which, if it follows in the footsteps of the iPad, will be called the “new iPhone” — it may decide to unveil the handset at its Worldwide Developers Conference. Most people expect that the next iPhone will have the same LTE technology that’s currently in the iPad and have also revived rumors that it will have near-field technology that will allow users to do things such as pay or quickly exchange contact information with their phones.

While the rumors about production on the iPhone 5 are drawing attention, news of the recruitment drive actually came from the end of a report about workers at Foxconn’s plant in the Shanxi Province who are striking because of a pay dispute. According to a report from the Taiwanese publication Want China Times, workers were told all employees would get a pay raise, but walked out when only managers and technicians received a pay raise.

Foxconn has long been criticized for its working conditions, and the upheaval could also explain why the company is looking to hire. The company is one of Apple’s largest suppliers and was one the first companies in the iPhone-maker’s supply chain to be audited by the Fair Labor Association. The FLA’s first report is expected sometime before the end of March.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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