12-inch MacBook Air rumored to enter production in third quarter

By Joe Rossignol on Jun 23, 2014

A new report from a hit-and-miss Taiwanese source claims that Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook Air will enter mass production in the third quarter of 2014. The notebook will position itself between the current 11-inch and 13-inch models in the MacBook Air lineup, strengthening Apple’s position in the small-to-medium, ultra-thin notebook market. But that’s not all… Read More

 

iPhone 6 models could launch sooner than expected

By Christian Zibreg on May 27, 2014

Apple is expected to launch larger-format iPhones this year and the current crop of rumors are confidently pointing towards the 4.7-incher being released around September, with the bigger 5.5-inch model reportedly delayed until year-end or into early-2015 over component issues.

A new report by DigiTimes, a hit-and-miss Taiwanese trade publication, alleges that the launches of the new handsets could be closer than expected after all. Specifically, it seems Apple has commissioned its manufacturing partners to start churning out the bigger model within a month into the manufacture of the 4.7-inch variant… Read More

 

Apple poaching Broadcom talent as rumors of in-house baseband chip development intensify

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 9, 2014

Following talk of Apple’s rumored initiative that would have it develop its own baseband chips for 2015 iPhones and iPads in-house, AppleInsider has learned the firm’s recently poached a pair of longtime semiconductor engineers from chipmaker Broadcom.

Both men are experienced at building RF hardware and have led the effort to produce baseband transceivers used by Nokia and Samsung devices.

Apple counts Broadcom as its supplier: the iPhone 5s uses a Broadcom touchscreen controller and the handset’s Wi-Fi chip by Murata is based on Broadcom’s BCM4334 module, according to a teardown analysis by repair experts over at iFixIt… Read More

 

Apple allegedly working on its own baseband chips for 2015 iPhones and iPads

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 8, 2014

As you know, Apple’s in-house teams have been designing the engine that drives the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Apple TV devices for years now. However, the company still sources one crucial piece of silicon from a third-party: it buys baseband modems that provide the iPhone and iPad with cellular connectivity from Qualcomm. But even that could soon change, if a new rumor is an indication.

DigiTimes, the hit-and-miss Taiwanese trade publication, is reporting that Apple is planning to form a research and development team to engineer baseband processors for iPhones fully in-house. The move would empower the firm to take an even greater control of its chip destiny.

In years past, Apple acquired several fabless semiconductor makers such as PA Semi and Intrinsity for their talent and technology. Apple now has over a thousand silicon and wireless engineers who design A-series of chips in house by licensing CPU and GPU blueprints from ARM and Imagination Technology, respectively, optimizing their designs for speed, low power consumption and iOS… Read More

 

Rumor: Retina MacBook Air and iPad Pro due in second half of 2014

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 26, 2014

Following a forum post by a reputable user on the Chinese website WeiPhone claiming Apple could soon release a new 12-inch MacBook model without a fan and featuring the Retina display and a redesigned trackpad, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes is now reporting that a new version of the company’s ultra-thin notebook, the MacBook Air, is getting a Retina display treatment later this year, around the same time when a rumored 12.9-inch iPad Pro is reportedly dropping as well… Read More

 

Apple apparently moving to fully automated iPhone battery production

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 24, 2014

DigiTimes, the hit and miss Taiwanese trade publication, is reporting this morning that Apple is moving from labor-intensive iPhone battery production to fully automated production lines in 2014. The move is said to stem from Apple’s desire to reduce its manpower demand and is expected to prompt other consumer electronics vendors to follow suit, as per supply chain chatter… Read More

 

Apple has reportedly put its ‘iPad Pro’ project on hold

By Cody Lee on Mar 14, 2014

Folks looking forward to Apple’s rumored 13-inch tablet may want to pick something else to pine over for a while. According to a new report, the Cupertino company has shelved its so-called ‘iPad Pro’ project due to various developmental issues.

Citing supply chain and channel inventory sources, Digitimes is reporting today that multiple vendors are running into problems producing larger tablets. The biggest hurdle seems to be a lack of support from platform developers and ecosystems… Read More

 

Apple said to phase out non-Retina model from MacBook Pro lineup

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 5, 2014

After reportedly making the decision to axe the iPad 2 “in the near future”, now comes word that Apple’s non-Retina 13-inch MacBook Pro model is next on the chopping block. If true, this would streamline the company’s notebook offering after the non-Retina production winds down in the second half of 2014, in time for a refresh around Intel’s forthcoming Broadwell processors.

The move would reduce the Mac notebook lineup to non-Retina MacBook Airs (which may or may not get a Retina treatment later this year) and all-Retina MacBook Pros, potentially leaving future MacBook Pro buyers without a built-in CD/DVD optical drive… Read More

 

Rumor: Taiwanese companies land Apple A8 packaging orders

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 27, 2014

An Apple-designed mobile processor for this year’s iPads and iPhones will be probably labeled ’A8‘ and supply chain rumors have asserted that the world’s top independent semiconductor foundry, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), will share orders with Samsung, whose multi-billion dollar Austin, Texas plant used to exclusively churn out Apple’s A-series chips.

Like the A7, the A8 is said to use package-on-package design which combines the CPU part and mobile DRAM in a single package for increased performance and optimized power consumption… Read More

 

Rumor: Apple seemingly targeting Fall launch for 12.9-inch iPad Pro

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 17, 2014

According to Taiwan-based supply chain makers, Apple is accelerating development of a rumored large-screen iPad, the iPad Pro, and is gearing up to launch the device by the end of the third quarter, indicating a Fall launch alongside the expected refresh to the existing iPad lineup.

As the unnamed sources asseverated, Apple has also asked its component suppliers and manufacturing partners to prepare for new models of 7.9 and 9.7-inch iPads… Read More

 

Rumor: TSMC to start churning out Touch IDs for the next iPhone this summer

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 14, 2014

According to industry sources, Apple has seemingly commissioned Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to build Touch ID fingerprint sensors for a next-generation iPhone, dubbed by the press the iPhone 6.

The manufacture of the sensors should start in the second quarter of 2014 at TSMC’s twelve-inch fab, using the company’s 65-nanometer process, according to a report the Asian industry publication DigiTimes filed on Tuesday… Read More

 

Rumor: surface finish treatment issues holding back mass production of iWatch

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 2, 2014

According to the latest supply chain chatter, Apple’s unannounced iWatch wearable device is facing production difficulty stemming from weak yields.

The point at issue here is that the surface finish treatments dealing with the device’s body are reportedly showing unexpectedly low yield rates of less than 50 percent.

Needless to say, that’s totally unacceptable for mass production.

According to a report coming straight out of Taiwan where the bulk of Apple’s component suppliers and manufacturers are located, both the iPhone maker and the chip giant Qualcomm – which is also pursuing a smartwatch of its own – are finding it difficult to produce tiny wearable devices using metal injection molding (MIM)… Read More

 

New rumor calls for 12.9-inch iPad in October 2014, iPhablet in May 2014

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 23, 2013

A new rumor out from Taiwan alleges that Apple will release a large form-factor iPad with a screen measuring 12.9 inches diagonally in October of next year, primarily aimed at the education market. The next iPhone, the one with a larger screen compared to today’s four-inch iPhone 5s/5c, is apparently scheduled to go on sale in May 2014.

I’m not buying the May release date because Apple has never released an iPhone in May. Besides, this would break Apple’s tradition of releasing new iPhones in Fall, the practice Tim Cook established with the iPhone 4s introduction on October 4, 2011… Read More

 

TSMC to account for bulk of 14nm Apple A9 chips in 2015, industry sources claim

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 18, 2013

After reporting that Apple supplier Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will share next year’s production of A8 chips with Samsung, the sometimes-reliable Taiwanese publication, DigiTimes, today said that the world’s largest independent semiconductor foundry will account for more than half of total A9 chip output in 2015, with only one-third of chip manufacture to be handled by Samsung.

The South Korea-based Samsung up until this year used to exclusively produce Apple designed mobile processors for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices, but Apple’s been looking to distance itself from the company in order to prevent Samsung engineers from getting an early glimpse into its upcoming chip tech… Read More

 

Retina iPad mini production bottlenecks easing

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 27, 2013

It looks like Apple’s suppliers and manufacturers in Taiwan in China are finally catching up with demand. First we learned that Foxconn is finally ramping up iPhone 5s production, with handset ship times being lowered earlier this week to three to five days for online orders.

And now, despite the initial rumors of shortages concerning the new iPad mini with Retina display it would appear that production bottlenecks are easing quickly, with the Cupertino company reportedly having ordered a total of nearly four million Retina iPad minis in the month of November… Read More

 

Apple reportedly shaking up supply chain to preserve more profits

By Cody Lee on Nov 20, 2013

Apple has long been known for its supply chain prowess, mostly thanks to one man: Tim Cook. Before taking over the CEO position in 2011, Cook was the company’s chief operating officer and oversaw a number of successful product rollouts that garnered impressive profits.

But according to a new report, the iPad-maker isn’t resting on its laurels. Apple is apparently adjusting its supply chain model from having OEMs being responsible for both component procurement and production, to purely production, as it moves to raise its product margins… Read More

 

Rumor: Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant stops iPhone 5c production

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 18, 2013

The world’s top contract manufacturer, Taiwan-based Foxconn, is responsible for approximately one-third of total iPhone 5c volume and now the company is allegedly winding down handset production at its factory in Zhengzhou, northern China, and shifting capacity to the flagship iPhone 5s, according to “industry sources” who spoke to DigiTimes, an industry publication with a mixed track record.

The story somewhat corroborates last week’s article by a Chinese blog which said another iPhone 5c manufacturer, Pegatron, slashed iPhone 5c production significantly because the flagship iPhone 5s was selling better to early adopters than the iPhone 5c, which is basically the last year’s iPhone 5 repackaged in colorful cases… Read More

 

Five-inch iPhablet to comprise one out of each four iPhones in 2014

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 11, 2013

Analysts think Apple will respond to competition by producing not one, but two large-screen iPhone models in 2014. According to Piper Jaffary’s Gene Munster (infamous for its Apple-branded television set prediction), the iPhone 6 will make its debut in September 2014 and it’s going to be a “blockbuster” release thanks to a blown up screen.

His peer, Peter Misek over at Jeffries, thinks the iPhone 6 will offer a 4.8-inch screen. If anything, Samsung has managed to prove that phablets sell: the company predicts shipping a total of hundred million units of the five-inch Galaxy S4 smartphone and the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3 devices this year.

Whichever way you look at it, phablets have quickly gone from a niche category to being the hot new form factor. How does this change in market dynamics affect Apple? Read More

 

New report reaffirms iPad mini with Retina display will be in short supply at launch

By Cody Lee on Oct 30, 2013

When Apple announced the new iPad mini with Retina display at its media event last week, the only launch date given was ‘November.’ The move seemingly confirmed previous chatter that the company has been having a hard time making the tablet.

And today, a new report out of Taiwan adds to the narrative, claiming that the mini’s initial supply constraint is directly related to its hi-res display. Apparently Sharp, who is responsible for 40% of the Retina mini panels, is seeing poor yield rates… Read More

 

iPhone 6 may adopt IGZO screens as Sharp finally commercializes tech

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 21, 2013

Apple has long wanted to make a switch from the traditional LCD IPS display technology utilized on iOS devices to Sharp’s cutting-edge IGZO technology.

Unfortunately, Apple’s been unable to offer an IGZO iPhone because the struggling Japanese giant had been facing tremendous technical hurdles preventing mass production of these sophisticated panels.

According to the latest supply chain chatter, Sharp has now successfully commercialized production of IGZO panels for smartphones and will begin manufacturing them at its Kameyama Plant Number 2 before the end of 2013… Read More

 
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