Samsung one step closer to commercializing ultrathin graphene screens for wearables

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 4, 2014

Samsung has been the world’s largest maker of LCD panels since 2002. By 2004, the conglomerate was the world’s top manufacturer of OLED panels accounting for a 40 percent market share worldwide and as of 2010 has a commanding 98 percent share of the global AMOLED market.

Small wonder that Apple used to source most of its screens for iOS devices from Samsung up until 2012, when Tim Cook & Co. began slowly shifting display orders away from the Galaxy maker amid the ongoing patent spat.

But Samsung is not standing still. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal Friday, the Galaxy maker has claimed significant progress on graphene, described as the next wonder material… Read More


Alleged iPhone 6 production images show protruding camera lens, rounded LED flash

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 31, 2014

Is Apple’s next iPhone really going to have an unsightly camera bulge on the back akin to Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and many other Android handsets out there? You bet it will, if questionable images said to depict an iPhone 6 in trial production are anything to go by.

While there’s no way of determining the veracity of these photographs, we’ve managed to spot a few discrepancies which cast doubt on their legitimacy, so you too are advised to apply some skepticism… Read More


Apple apparently expanding operations at Arizona plant to increase sapphire output

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 28, 2014

As rumored yesterday, looks like Apple is indeed planning an expansion at its Mesa, Arizona plant to boost sapphire output ahead of the next-generation iPhone production. According to a new report Friday morning, the company is looking to double the number of high-tech furnaces that make sapphire boules in bulk.

Whereas previous records claimed Apple and its partner GT Advanced would use about 950 furnaces at the site, sources are now saying the firms want to equip the facility with some 1,700 furnaces. That could mean bolstering of yields to increase the plant’s output beyond an estimated 100 to 200 million sapphire displays per year.

Apple has poured a cool $576 million into the Mesa facility to secure an exclusive, multi-year output of sapphire products. It’s widely believed Tim Cook & Co. have found a way of strengthening the next iPhone’s screen by applying a thin layer of sapphire material on top of the handset’s cover glass… Read More


Strong demand for Apple products boosts Foxconn and Pegatron’s earnings

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 28, 2014

Demand for Apple’s latest products is as strong as ever, it would seem. After reporting sales of 51 million iPhones and 26 million iPads during the lucrative holiday quarter, as a result Apple’s key contract manufacturers – Foxconn and Pegatron – are seeing a nice rise in their earnings, too.

Pegatron, the primary manufacturer of the iPhone 5c and iPad mini, last week reported a cool 22 percent annual rise in earnings attributed to strong demand for mobile products. Apple is responsible for as much as 40 percent of Pegatron’s business so the manufacturer’s fortunes are closely tied to the iPhone maker’s.

As for Foxconn, they reported a 13 percent rise in net profit today. Foxconn is the world’s top contract manufacturer and Apple’s lead supplier… Read More


Rumor: Pegatron to start assembly of large-screened iPhones and iPad Airs this Fall

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 24, 2014

The Commercial Times newspaper reported last week that Apple’s contract manufacturer Pegatron is gearing up to kick off mass production of the iPhone 6 in the second quarter of this year at its China-based plant in Kunshan.

On Monday, The China Times newspaper claimed new information saying that Pegatron has landed orders for both large-sized iPhones and iPad Airs.

However, contrary to The Commercial Times story, Pegatron is actually said to start the operation of the Kunshan plant, which is located in China’s Jiangsu Province, in the third quarter of this year.

That facility will be solely dedicated to churning out Apple products. For reference, Pegatron is the primary manufacturer of the iPhone 5c and iPad mini… 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


Full production of GT-made sapphire starting in H2 2014, in time for Fall launch of iPhone 6

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 25, 2014

GT Advanced Technologies, a U.S.-based company Apple’s partnered with on mass-scale sapphire manufacture in its new Mesa, Arizona facility, today released earnings for the 2013 holiday quarter and said that 2014 will be a “transformational” year for the company. Plans to supply sapphire glass to Apple are “progressing well” as GT expects a very profitable second half of 2014.

Its projected revenues also indicate a Fall launch for the next iPhone model (or models, if you believe the rumors). According to GT, the company has “started to build out the facility in Arizona and staff the operation” during the previous quarter… Read More


Apple reportedly secured three year’s worth of sapphire glass

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 19, 2014

With a larger of the two jumbo-sized iPhones rumored to arrive later this year rocking a massive 5.5-inch screen, Apple’s adamant to buy huge amounts of thin sapphire laminates, likely to strengthen the handset’s cover glass. We know Apple invested nearly $500 million in high-tech furnaces and equipment for its Arizona sapphire plant.

The firm is operating the facility in partnership with GT Advanced.

We’ve also known that Apple and GT have signed an exclusive multi-year agreement and now Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth has gone on the record claiming that Apple has acquired three-year supply of sapphire screens… Read More


Rumor: Samsung not churning out Apple’s A8 chip for the next iPhone and iPad due to low yields

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 17, 2014

Apple’s upcoming A8 mobile processor is of course expected to power the next wave of iPhone and iPad devices, but the advanced chip apparently won’t be manufactured by Samsung, which fabbed all of A-series processors since the iPhone 4′s 2010 A4 chip.

According to a new report out of China, Samsung is experiencing yield issues and in turn has dropped out of Apple’s A8 chip production… Read More


Flextronics joins Apple’s supply chain as assemblers of ‘Made in USA’ Macs

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 14, 2014

As part of the 2014 Supplier Responsibility Report that was published yesterday, Apple has refreshed its Supplier Responsibility website with a newly updated list of component suppliers and major manufacturing locations where Apple’s gadgets are being assembled.

Bloomberg analyzed Apple’s public documents and discovered that Flextronics International Ltd. has now joined the company’s supply chain as assemblers of ‘Made in USA’ Macs. Although Flextronics now gets to assemble Macs in Apple’s $100 million Austin, Texas plant, Foxconn remains the largest manufacturer of Apple products, with seven assembly locations in China and Brazil… Read More


Google to automate production lines at iPhone manufacturer Foxconn with advanced robots

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 11, 2014

Future iPhones could be built by Google robots as The Wall Street Journal reports that the search monster is working with Apple’s favorite contract manufacturer, Foxconn of Taiwan, on automating production lines.

Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou reportedly met with Google’s Andy Rubin in Taipei to talk new robotic technologies meant to “speed up robot deployment” at Foxconn plants. The machines would run Google’s upcoming robotic operating system for manufacturers. The two men have reportedly been collaborating since last year to carry out Google’s vision for robotics.

Eagled-eyed readers will remember that Google’s boss Larry Page in March 2013 put former Android head Andy Rubin in charge of a moonshot project to create a new generation of robots… Read More


How Arizona wooed Apple to build sapphire plant

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 10, 2014

Apple last week began moving sophisticated equipment and furnaces into its new manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona. The plant, operated by a company called GT Advanced, should produce two times the current worldwide capacity of sapphire, enough for an annual production of about 100 million iPhones with a sapphire-protected cover glass.

But how exactly did State of Arizona attract Apple to build the plant in Mesa and create more than 700 high-quality jobs in the first year, and 4,000 more if successful? With the right package of incentives, perks and tax breaks, that’s how… Read More


iPhone with sapphire glass display allegedly in trial production

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 24, 2014

According to a new rumor by Taiwan’s Apple Daily, Apple’s favorite contract manufacturer, Foxconn, has ostensibly commenced trial production of the next iPhone, using sapphire as a display glass cover. The initial production run has been pegged at 100 units.

This doesn’t mean that the next iPhone will in fact ditch Corning’s Gorilla Glass for sapphire-strengthened display, mind you. Apple currently uses sapphire to protect iOS device cameras and Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5s from scratches and dings.

Earlier today, a video excerpt from ABC’s upcoming interview with CEO Tim Cook and other Apple executives brought the official confirmation of Apple’s plan to exclusively produce sapphire crystal glass components at its new facility in Mesa, ArizonaRead More


Tim Cook confirms sapphire Mesa plant, dodges questions on iTV, iWatch

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 24, 2014

As we told you yesterday, ABC News will broadcast a rare interview with CEO Tim Cook and other Apple executives this evening. And as Apple celebrates the Mac’s 30th anniversary with a nice interactive timeline and video on, the ABC interview is expected to offer some insight into the company’s culture of secrecy, the Mac’s importance to Apple’s bottom line and more.

An excerpt from the interview was played Friday morning on Good Morning America, offering a taste of the full interview scheduled to be aired later today at 6:30PM EST on World News with Diane SawyerRead More


Apple now hiring engineers for Arizona sapphire glass plant

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 14, 2014

It was confirmed back in November that Apple has secured multi-year supply of sapphire cover glass by prepaying north of $500 million towards the purchase of sophisticated furnaces that will churn out the protective material on an industrial scale.

The material production would be handled by a company called GT Advanced at a plant in Mesa, Arizona that would create 2,000 U.S. jobs. The iPhone maker has now begun hiring engineers for the Mesa plant for the positions that specifically mention iPhone and iPod manufacturing… Read More


Apple’s iWatch project reportedly plagued by screen, battery problems

By Cody Lee on Jan 7, 2014

A new report is out this afternoon claiming that Apple is experiencing multiple problems with its long-rumored ‘iWatch’ project. The company is said to be troubled by challenges related to the device’s screen technology, battery life, and manufacturing.

The device, believed to be a smartwatch of sorts, is expected to be Apple’s first big entry into the budding wearables space. It’s said to feature a display of up to 2-inches, and run a version of iOS capable of communicating with both iPhones and iPads… 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 taps Quanta for late-2014 iPad Maxi and iWatch mass production

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 25, 2013

Quanta Computer, an Apple supplier mainly responsible for assembly work concerning computers like the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, may have been tasked with building Apple’s two next big things, a rumored health/fitness wearable device and an assumed big screen iPad.

The company and its Fremont, California plant are listed on Apple’s Supplier Responsibility Page as a final assembler for Macs and now the notoriously hit-and-miss DigiTimes is reporting that Quanta has inked a deal to product the so-called iPad Maxi for the late-2014, in addition to iWatch production for the second half of next year… Read More


Foxconn looking to invest $40 million in new US plant

By Cody Lee on Nov 22, 2013

As part of its ongoing efforts to expand its North American operations, Foxconn is looking to invest over $40 million over the next two years building a high-tech manufacturing facility in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Bloomberg is reporting this week that the company, which counts Apple as its largest client, will spend $30 million on the new plant and $10 million in research and development at Carnegie Mellon University… 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

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