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Apple may order more iPhone 7 handsets than previously expected

The company is reportedly ordering a hefty number of units from manufacturers -- significantly higher than Wall Street has been expecting.

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Apple may expect demand for the iPhone 7 to top that for the iPhone 6 shown here.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Apple may be counting on healthy sales for this year's iPhone despite the gloom and doom predicted by many analysts.

The company has reportedly asked its suppliers to manufacture 72 to 78 million new iPhones by year's end, Barron's Asia reported Monday, quoting from Taiwan's Economic Daily Times.

If true, that would be a big bump from the 65 million anticipated by Wall Street analysts and the highest level of iPhone production over the past two years.

Last year's iPhone 6S and 6S Plus seemingly didn't offer the sexy features needed to convince buyers to upgrade, leading Apple to its first drop in iPhone sales. To recapture lost sales and compete with rivals such as Samsung, Apple needs to equip its iPhone 7 lineup with the right stuff to snag people in search of a new phone.

Rumors have been flying that the iPhone 7 would add such features as dual speakers, a glass casing, a rear camera flush with the phone's surface, and dual cameras (but only on the iPhone 7 Plus). However, the sense among certain analysts, such as KGI Securities' Ming-Chi Kuo, is that the iPhone 7 won't offer enough must-have features to enthrall phone buyers. Rumors, even if accurate, may only tell part of the story, and perhaps Apple has more up its sleeve for the iPhone 7 than analysts think.

Foxconn will remain the key supplier of the iPhone 7, according to the Economic Daily Times, but rival Pegatron will contribute toward production.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.