The case manufacturers spent the months leading up to the public iPhone announcement betting their reputations
Keeping aside the weird bending cases of the iPhone 6 which were recently reported, the Apple smartphones have been doing exceptionally well with record breaking sales amounting to 10 million units. This has crossed the 9 million digit of the iPhone 5 and 5c from last year, going way ahead of the 4s that sold a paltry four million the year before, an amount that iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were able to surpass with their pre sales alone. However, these sales didn’t mean benefit for Apple alone. We are forgetting about the case manufacturers who put in as much effort on the launch of the iPhone 6.
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While Apple was busy plotting its feverishly hyped launch, case manufacturers spent the months leading up to the public iPhone announcement betting their reputations, as well as huge sums of money, on well-educated guesses about what the new iPhone might look like. This brings us to the view that the case manufacturers really have to take a big risk particularly when Apple is involved. For long the fruit company has held a reputation for being very secretive and this leaves the case manufacturers with the leaked specs. This is certainly a costly gamble on measurements not officially confirmed by Apple and in case their guesses don’t match the reality, the manufactured cases become worthless and the company eats the cost.
Peter Castellino, brand manager at Case-Mate, told Racked, "We actually have a team over in China dedicated to making sure everything goes smoothly for launch and that cases fit as soon as we're able to get the device in hand. There have been a couple iPhone launches where manufacturers have had issues with the form and fit of the cases because a specification or something has changed."
It is riskier for the manufacturers who want their cases out by the day the phone hits the shelves for sale but they mostly tend to cut down on the gamble by relying on a mix of both public leaks and sources inside Apple factories.
Tumi says that they employ a dual-development method of production in which the case aesthetic is locked in and materials are pre-ordered before the launch. The finality of the case has to be held back until the product dimensions are known and once they are known the production process has to be rushed through in order to have them ready on time. But this luxury isn’t for everyone of course. For instance the Baltimore Sun followed a local case maker who stalked spec leaks on tech blogs for months and ended up investing tens of thousands of dollars in untested iPhone 6 and 6 Plus merchandise. The company managed to fulfill thousands of order shipments but when it’s just guess, it cant always work out. This is what happened with Hard Candy in 2011 when their 4s case prototype didn’t turn out to be right. They had spent $50,000 on this development.