By Ed Sutherland on Nov 7, 2012
A detective story of sorts is unfolding in Silicon Valley. Did Apple spend $2 billion to prevent Japan’s Sharp going under and putting the iPhone 5 in jeopardy? That’s the belief of one analyst who did what all good investigators do: follow the money. Sharp was in financial trouble. It lost $1.3 billion in early 2012, was facing another $2.3 billion due in 2013 and lost a potential lifeline from Foxconn.
In late August came word that Sharp’s production of touchscreens for the then unreleased iPhone 5 had slowed. A delay could crimp the Cupertino, California company’s ability to meet the expected high demand for its new product. But just weeks after that dire warning, news broke in September that Sharp was producing “mass quantities” of the displays. What caused the sudden turn-around? Apple, some say… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Oct 31, 2012
Shares of Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer that assembles Apple’s iPhone, iPad and a number of products for other big names in tech, posted its third-quarter earnings yesterday. The results are stronger than expected and attributed to high demand for the iPhone 5, warm iPad mini reception and the incoming new iMac, which arrives in November and is already predicted to be in short supply.
On the other hand, investors are also concerned over Apple’s long-term growth prospect and Foxconn becoming too dependent on the Cupertino, California designer of shiny gadgets… Read More
By Cody Lee on Oct 20, 2012
If you were to ask someone what they thought of Foxconn today, chances are their response would be negative. And for good reason. Over the past few years, we’ve heard horror stories about the manufacturing giant regarding terrible working conditions and child labor, and we’ve seen the pictures of the windows with prison bars and the suicide nets.
And that’s exactly the kind of scene James Fallows, a journalist for The Atlantic, prepared himself for, as he set out on a tour of Foxconn’s famous Shenzhen campus. He was ready to see the dark, depressing work environment and the somber, joyless employees that he had read so much about in other reports. But it didn’t go at all how he expected… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Oct 17, 2012
Media reports about Scuffgate related to the widely reported quality-control issues with iPhone 5 manufacturing have subdued a bit as we head into the iPad mini press conference next Tuesday. That said, it’s a tad surprising Apple’s favorite contract manufacturer Foxconn would agitate spirits by explaining to The Wall Street Journal why the iPhone 5 is so difficult to manufacture.
Apple’s phone, in Foxconn’s words, is “the most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled”. Workers are assembling iPhones in two new plants they are not familiar enough with, using brand new production processes that take time to perfect. Build quality will improve over time as workers advance their skills, but only to the extent of the limitations regarding the handset’s anodized coating… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Oct 16, 2012
Foxconn is the world’s largest contract manufacturer and Apple’s favorite contractor. Its sweatshops in China are under a constant barrage of criticism regarding labor conditions. Apple and Foxconn have been working to cut long hours and increase wages (twice), but when you have to deal with a workforce of approximately one million individuals, it’s virtually impossible to deal with individual abuses that may occur.
Except, of course, that Foxconn has a pattern of underage labor and other serious workplace violations. Also, being the world’s biggest manufacturer doesn’t help because the media tends to zero in on Foxconn and Apple to make an example. The following story underscores how the two parties have not done nearly enough to prevent workplace abuses… Read More
By Cody Lee on Oct 12, 2012
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been hearing about problems within Foxconn’s production lines regarding the iPhone 5. Workers are unhappy with the complicated manufacturing procedures, and higher quality standards, and thousands have even gone on strike.
These problems are said to be one of the main factors in the iPhone 5 supply constraint Apple is seeing worldwide. It’s three weeks after launch, and the handset is still seeing shipping times of 3-4 weeks. But rumor has it that Apple is working on a solution… Read More
By Sebastien Page on Oct 6, 2012
We reported yesterday about a strike going on at Foxconn, the maker of the iPhone and virtually any electronics in the world. The report originated from advocacy group China Labor Watch, claimed that three to four thousand workers went on strike because of unreasonable demands from Foxconn asking its employees to work during the national holiday, but also because it raised the bar for quality standards without properly training its work force.
Foxconn was however quick at denying the news when it sent a statement to Reuters, basically explaining that everything is good in this perfect and beautiful world… Read More
By Cody Lee on Oct 5, 2012
When Apple introduced the iPhone 5, it noted: “We’ve developed manufacturing processes that are our most complex and ambitions. Never before have we built a product with this extraordinary level of fit and finish.”
While the end result of these complex methods — i.e. the iPhone 5 — appears to be making customers happy, the processes themselves seem to be causing problems at the factories. A new report is out this afternoon that thousands of Foxconn workers have gone on strike due to issues with iPhone 5 production… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Sep 29, 2012
Determined to prove the world it’s doing the right thing to prevent labor abuses in its supply chain, Apple has quietly updated the Labor and Human Rights web page with some interesting data points. The company’s suppliers in August employed 60 percent more workers than in January of this year.
Three percent of supply chain workforce was putting more than 60 hours a week into assembling Apple products, data suggests. Ending the industry practice of excessive overtime “is a top priority”, Apple writes.
It’s easier said than done considering the unemployment rate of China’s youth of 7.6 percent in 2012 and Foxconn’s reputation for shoddy working conditions and army style discipline in its sweatshops… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Sep 26, 2012
In addition to Mapgate and Scuffgate, another controversy involving Apple is making rounds on the web. Comedian and television host Conan O’Brien jumped on the opportunity to scold Apple over the rioting which swept the iPhone 5 plant in Asia. Take a look at the iShiv, a new tool designed to “revolutionize factory riots”. Because assembly line workers “just love the thinnest, lightest factory riot weapon yet”. The clip is right after the break… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Sep 24, 2012
A little riot shouldn’t delay iPhone production in China. Long-troubled Foxconn, which makes iPhones, among other electronic devices, said Monday it will resume operations Tuesday following a riot involving 2,000 people that sent 40 to the hospital. In a statement, the manufacturer denied anyone died or that the uprising was work-related.
“The cause of this dispute is under investigation by local authorities and we are working closely with them in this process, but it appears not to have been work-related,” the company said in a statement provided CNet… Read More
By Oliver Haslam on Sep 24, 2012
Apple’s relationship with Foxconn is already under scrutiny, but the iPhone maker is set to be posed yet more questions about working conditions after the news that a 2,000 person brawl erupted at one of its factories.
The Taiyuan facility was closed by Foxconn after a fight broke out about an apparently non-work related matter. Reports suggest that things escalated however once guards and factory workers began to fight.
Reports also suggest that around 40 people have been injured as a result of the disturbance… Read More
By Cody Lee on Sep 17, 2012
Between the new iPhone and iPod announcements, and now the preparation for official launch, talk of the iPad mini has been put on the back burner. This has a lot of folks wondering, is the rumored tablet still set for a fall launch?
According to a new report this afternoon, yes, the iPad mini is still on track to launch later this year. In fact, it appears that the slate has entered mass production, with Foxconn and Pegatron splitting the production… Read More
By Cody Lee on Sep 12, 2012
Talk about timing. Just hours ahead of Apple’s highly-anticpated iPhone event, a story has surfaced of a Chinese journalist who recently went undercover as a worker in one of Foxconn’s factories.
The reporter, who works for the Shanghai Evening Post, got a job at the manufacturer’s Tai Yuan plant in China’s Shanxi province, and spent 10 days working on one of its iPhone 5 production lines… Read More
By Cody Lee on Sep 6, 2012
There’s a weird story floating around the tech world today that Foxconn recently pulled Chinese students out of several colleges and forced them to work on the assembly lines in their factories.
The story stems from two separate, but corroborating, reports that say that Foxconn has been unable to find sufficient workforce to meet large iPhone 5 orders, so it’s forcing students to work… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Sep 5, 2012
As we approach the big event next Wednesday, leaks related to Apple’s next iPhone are multiplying with each passing day. Just a few minutes ago, a new report went online claiming that someone in China has been able to get their hands on an actual iPhone 5 unit. They made quite a believable video to prove it and it looks legit.
Best of all, the clip shows a white device with a taller display booting next to an iPhone 4S, giving us a good indication of the increased speed of the iPhone 5, courtesy of its rehashed, low-power dual-core variant of the A5 chip, souped up with 1GB of RAM. Have a look, the clip is right after the break.. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Sep 3, 2012
Following reports of contention between Apple’s favorite contract manufacturer Foxconn and the struggling Japanese electronics giant Sharp over the stake-sale price, The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that Sharp may agree to a lower price after all.
A new round of talks is reportedly focused not only on the sale price, but also on broadening the two companies’ business alliance, which includes the future of Sharp’s television assembly plants in Mexico and China rumored to be part of the Foxconn deal… Read More
By Cody Lee on Aug 30, 2012
Earlier this month, word got out that Hon Hai (aka Foxconn) was looking to up its stake in Sharp Corporation to 10 percent, or more, giving it a fairly large piece of the Japanese company.
The news fueled rumors of an Apple TV set, as Foxconn is Apple’s favorite manufacturer and Sharp, well, makes TVs. But according to a new report, the two sides have yet to reach a deal… Read More
By Cody Lee on Aug 22, 2012
Foxconn, Apple’s largest manufacturer of iPads and other iOS devices, has been taking heat for several years now for its poor working conditions. These conditions were said to be a major factor in a string of suicides at the company.
The bad press reached a fever pitch earlier this year, when The New York Times published a lengthy article that painted a bleak picture of the electronics-maker. But according to a new report, it’s turning things around… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Aug 17, 2012
Funny thing how, after a period of inconsistent rumor mongering, all the pieces of an Apple branded television set rumor appear to be falling in place. First, the Wall Street Journal threw its credibility behind the iTV meme yesterday with a pair of stories describing a set-top box, likely a next-gen Apple TV, that could tap iCloud to store shows the instant they air and work with premium cable TV content.
Then earlier today we’ve learned via an analyst note that the iTV could be in production as we speak and that Apple is planning to offer both a standalone $1,250 HD TV set with AT&T‘s UVerse and Verizon’s FiOS contract and content deals, as well as a much cheaper and more advanced set-top box for Comcast customers.
And just as I explained the intricacies of a cool gesture recognition technology that iTV is thought to incorporate, a new report from Japan says Apple’s favorite contract manufacturer Foxconn is now asking to double its planned stake in Sharp to as much as twenty percent, up from the originally agreed 9.9 percent… Read More