Apple is reportedly working on a new MacBook. Reuters/Robert Galbraith

It appears Apple may have already started working on a new MacBook entry for this year. One of the Cupertino giant’s component suppliers has apparently began shipping LCM (liquid crystal monitor) modules for the tech giant’s new 13-inch laptop.

Industry sources told DigiTimes Tuesday that Apple is releasing a new entry-level 13-inch MacBook in the second half of this year. The sources also disclosed that touch panel maker General Interface Solution (GIS) has not only started shipping LCD modules for the upcoming device, but it is also expecting to receive more orders for the said component from Apple.

GIS Chairman Chou Hsien-ying has confirmed that his company has already started shipping LCM for notebooks. Surprising, he revealed that its shipments commenced in the fourth quarter of 2017. This suggests that Apple may have been developing its new MacBook for a while now.

GIS is expected to ramp up its LCM shipments to 600,000 units a month by the end of this year due to the new orders for LCM for the upcoming 13-inch MacBook and other models. Currently, the Taiwanese company is producing 300,000 units of LCM per month.

Despite the new LCM orders from Apple, the revenues of GIS are still expected to stay flight on year during the first half due to the lower shipments of its 3D touch panels for the iPhone X. GIS is one of the many Apple suppliers that are affected by the lukewarm sales and the declining demand for the first OLED iPhone.

The second half is looking great for GIS however. Analysts are expecting the company’s revenues to rebound due to its LCM shipments for the new MacBooks and the inevitable launch of the next-generation iPhones. Analysts predict that GIS’s revenues will grow at a double-digit rate this 2018.

The news comes just a day after IBT learned from Chinese media that Apple’s upstream suppliers Catcher Technology, Foxconn and Casetek Holdings are looking for other clients after the iPhone X failed to meet its expected sales. The Chinese manufacturers are reportedly in talks with potential clients working on augmented reality and virtual reality head-mounted displays, smartwatches, home appliances and electric vehicles.

Tech industry insiders are saying that shipments of the iPhone X from Foxconn are predicted to significantly lower this quarter and in the next quarter. Compared to the previously estimated 20-30 million and 15-20 million units for the first and second quarter of 2018, shipments are now anticipated to reach just 18 million and 13 million units, respectively.