Why Apple really has to get the next iPhone right

Apple is asking suppliers to make 70 to 80 million units of its new larger screen iPhone, a lot more initially than its current model. (Reuters)

Apple's under a lot of pressure to deliver on its next generation of the iPhone -- the iPhone 6, if the company keeps to its naming scheme. And it's not only because it's under some customer pressure to wow with the next iPhone.

The iPhone is the most important piece in the Apple solar system. How important, you ask? Since it was first released in 2007, the iPhone has more or less taken over the company. Just take a look:

This generation's launch is particularly important for the company, because many of the Apple faithful sat out the last round of upgrades -- opting to hold on to their iPhone 4 or 4S models -- and are itching for a new model. Apple is set to report its third-quarter earnings after the market closes Tuesday, and some analysts are cautioning that iPhone numbers will be pretty low, as people hold off buying the iPhone 5c and 5s ahead of the expected fall refresh.

That new model is expected to have a larger screen than its current 4-inch display, in order to keep up with the competition and with consumer appetites for watching video. In fact, rumor has it that there may actually be two models of larger-screened phones in the works, one with a 4.7-inch screen and one with a 5.5-inch screen.

To deal with the expected demand and make sure it produces enough of both models, Apple has reportedly asked its suppliers to produce at least 70 million phones for the fall —  as opposed to the initial 50-60 million order the company placed for the 5s and 5c, the  Wall Street  Journal reported Tuesday.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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