Release of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s highly anticipated iPhone 6 could be delayed after a deadly dust explosion at a metal polishing factory in eastern China. The explosion occurred in a factory of Kunshan Metal Products on Friday when a cloud of inflammable aluminum dust ignited. The explosion killed 75 people and injured about 200.
Production halted at Foxconn’s factory
After the explosion, Chinese authorities halted factor production as the State Administration of Work Safety officials carry out factory inspections. Factories that polish metal, including units of Foxconn Technology Co Ltd (TPE:2354), have also halted production, according to Chinese website TechWeb. As a result, the launch of iPhone 6 could be pushed back. Foxconn recently hired about 100,000 workers in China to meet the anticipate massive demand for the iPhone 6.
Mass production of the iPhone 6 reportedly began last month. Reports from multiple sources, including German carrier Deutsche Telekom, pointed to a September launch of the device. However, latest rumors suggest that the 4.7-inch version of the device will hit the shelves on Tuesday, October 14. The 5.5-inch model is expected to enter mass production later this month for early 2015 launch.
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Galaxy Note 4 to challenge iPhone 6
The body of iPhones is made up of aluminum alloy, which is polished at Foxconn’s factories. The iPhone 6 is widely expected to run the recently unveiled iOS 8, which has several health & fitness features. The Cupertino-based company is expected to unveil its wearable device iWatch at the same time. Apple is reportedly in talks with Visa Inc (NYSE:V) to join forces for a mobile payment platform.
The iPhone 6 is likely to face tough competition from Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930)’s Galaxy Note 4. The Korean electronics giant badly needs a hit product to improve its profitability. Samsung will reportedly launch the Galaxy Note 4 on September 3, just weeks before the iPhone 6 arrives. The Korean company’s phablet will likely sport an ultraviolet sensor to help protect users from cancer.