Failed sapphire plant to become global command center for Apple cloud

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 2, 2015

Apple’s dream of engineering an unbreakable iPhone has shattered spectacularly to pieces after its ambitiously conceived manufacturing facility in Mesa, Arizona has failed to produce sapphire-hardened sheets of glass on an industrial scale, prompting its partner GT Advanced Technology to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. But that doesn’t mean there’s no just as grand plan B for the mega-facility.

Bloomberg is reporting, and Apple has confirmed, that the Arizona plant will become a “command center” for Apple’s worldwide network of data center. Read More

 

Claimed iPad Pro manufacturing mold shown in leaked photo

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 8, 2015

A photograph of a manufacturing mold for the rear shell of an ‘iPad Pro’ was posted Thursday to China’s Weibo microblogging service, indicating that Apple’s ostensibly larger iPad model could be entering mass production pretty soon.

As first reported by MacRumors, it wasn’t immediately clear whether the supposed mold is for an actual iPad Pro shell or for a dummy unit which was posted online back in May 2014. Read More

 

Apple rumored to be switching to OLED screens for future iPhones

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 8, 2015

Apple is teaming up with its contract manufacturer Foxconn on building OLED-based screens for future smartphones and wearables, GforGames reported Thursday citing a fresh report from Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, one of the leading newspapers in Japan.

Foxconn is said to be working with touch panel company InnoLux, also an Apple supplier, to put together an ecosystem which will allow the production of sixth-gen low temperature poly-silicon films, aimed at entering mass production in 2016. Read More

 

Tim Cook ‘deeply offended’ by BBC’s allegations of factory worker mistreatment

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 19, 2014

An undercover documentary released yesterday by the BBC about working conditions in Pegatron’s iPhone factories has reportedly sent CEO Tim Cook and the rest of Apple’s executive team through the roof, The Telegraph reported Friday.

BBC’s investigative report makes fresh allegations about continued poor working conditions at the iPhone manufacturing facility on the outskirts of Shanghai. The documentary’s found poor treatment of workers after Apple’s stated several times that it’s cleaned up its act.

The full video of the BBC documentary surfaced on YouTube this morning though it’s probably going to get taken down soon so we’ve embedded it for your viewing pleasure. Read More

 

Foxconn’s upcoming $2.6 billion plant rumored to produce iPhone sapphire screens

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 26, 2014

Its deal with GT Advanced Technology — which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after failing to ramp up sapphire production in time for the iPhone 6 launch — has collapsed but Apple isn’t giving up on the precious gemstone entirely yet.

A report Wednesday by Focus Taiwan alleged that Foxconn’s upcoming $2.6 billion facility in central China will be churning out screens for Apple’s mobile devices that use synthetic sapphire crystals for increased durability and protection. Read More

 

Apple said to discontinue iPhone 5c in 2015

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 26, 2014

According to the latest supply chain chatter, Apple may discontinue its unapologetically plastic handset, the iPhone 5c, by the summer of next year.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Taiwan’s Industrial and Commercial Times said Wednesday that the Cupertino firm will be phasing out the iPhone 5c around mid-2015, ostensibly because the company is pleased with high demand for the latest 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 smartphones.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently made a similar suggestion, estimating Apple would wind down production of both the iPhone 5c and 4s in 2015 after promotional plans. Read More

 

Foxconn building $2.9 billion plant to churn out displays exclusively for Apple

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 20, 2014

Foxconn, the world’s top contract manufacturer and Apple’s favorite gadget assembly shop, is planning on burning NT$80 billion, or approximately $2.6 billion, on a brand new manufacturing facility in Taiwan that will produce displays exclusively for Apple, Bloomberg reported Thursday morning.

The plant will employ more than two-thousand workers and is being built after “an urgent request for exclusive capacity” from Apple, indicating that the iPhone maker is anticipating growing demand for its devices in the coming years. Read More

 

Apple keeping Arizona plant despite GT Advanced bankruptcy

By Cody Lee on Nov 18, 2014

Apple plans to keep the sapphire production factory it built with GT Advanced in Mesa, Arizona, according to a report from Bloomberg. The outlet says the company has told officials that it’s committed to bringing jobs and manufacturing to the area, despite GT’s bankruptcy.

“They’ve indicated their commitment to us: They want to repurpose that building and use it again,” Mesa City Manager Christopher Brady told Bloomberg. “Apple is focused on preserving jobs and promised to “work with state and local officials as we consider our next steps.” Read More

 

DigiTimes: Apple getting ready to ramp up Apple Watch production

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 13, 2014

Apple’s suppliers are “gearing up” to ramp up Apple Watch production ahead of its early-2015 release, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes said Thursday. While not the most accurate of sources, DigiTimes usually gets supply chain rumors right.

Apple’s retail boss Angela Ahrendts recently told employees that the Apple Watch will be launching in Spring 2015. The device will start out at $349 for the entry-level model with aluminum chassis and plastic band.

The stainless steel model should be priced at $500, with an 18-karat gold variant commanding a price tag between $4,000 and $5,000, according to the rumor-mill. Read More

 

TSMC reportedly lands contract to build A8X processor for iPad Pro

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 15, 2014

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s leading independent semiconductor foundry, has landed a contract to fabricate Apple’s upcoming A8X mobile processor, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes reported Wednesday.

The chip, which leaked on claimed photographs earlier this week, is said to feature faster graphics.

In addition to an improved GPU, it reportedly incorporates twice as much RAM as its A8 counterpart, which powers the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. As such, the A8X should power Apple’s rumored ‘iPad Pro’ tablet with an ultra high-resolution 12.9-inch screen. Read More

 

GT Advanced requests permission to shut down sapphire plant

By Cody Lee on Oct 10, 2014

Apple partner GT Advanced has asked the court’s permission to “wind down” operations at its manufacturing plant, reports Recode. The news comes less than a year after GT announced its high-profile deal to make sapphire for Apple, and just a few days after it filed for bankruptcy.

On Monday, the company shocked investors by announcing that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It’s believed that GT spent most of its cash trying to produce sapphire display covers in time for the iPhone 6, but fell short of expectations and lost out on the order. Read More

 

DigiTimes: 12″ Retina MacBook Air in limited production now

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 8, 2014

Apple’s rumored MacBook Air with a twelve-inch Retina screen has allegedly entered limited production, according to sources with Apple’s supply chain Wednesday morning who spoke to DigiTimes, a Taiwanese trade publication.

Apple has reportedly commissioned contract manufacturer Quanta Computer to start building the ultra-thin notebook in small volumes in October, with output expected to increase gradually beginning November.

Apple is holding a media event next Thursday so a Retina MacBook Air could be on tap along with new iPads, a (possibly) refreshed Apple TV hardware and what not. Read More

 

Samsung confirms building 14nm A9 processors for 2015 iPhones and iPads

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 2, 2014

Echoing previous rumors, Samsung of South Korea confirmed to reporters Thursday that it will start churning out mobile processors for Apple before end of the year, ZDNet reported. The chips, likely to be branded under the “A9” moniker, will be manufactured on Samsung’s cutting-edge 14-nanometer process technology.

The confirmation came through the mouth of Kim Ki-nam, president of Samsung’s semiconductor-making arm and head of System LSI business.

Speaking to reporters at company headquarters in Seoul, Ki-nam quipped that his company’s fortunes “will improve positively” once sales are boosted thanks to the lucrative Apple chip deal. The new mobile processor should make their way into 2015 iPhone and iPad devices. Read More

 

Quanta Computer to kick off mass production of Apple Watch in January 2015

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 30, 2014

As Apple shoots to bring its smartwatch to market in early-2015, news reports Tuesday asserted that the Cupertino firm has commissioned contract manufacturer Quanta Computer to start mass producing Apple Watches in January 2015, citing supply chain rumors first mentioned by Apple Daily [Google Translate] and reposted by GforGames.

Apparently Taiwan-based Quanta is the only manufacturer tasked with building the device, the story goes, contradicting earlier rumors that mentioned both Quanta and Inventec, an iPad supplier, as Apple Watch manufacturers.

The Apple Daily report gives hope that the fashionable smartwatch could hit store shelves in time for Valentine’s Day 2015. For what it’s worth, a recent article by The Information alleged that “Apple would be lucky” to ship the device by Valentine’s Day. Read More

 

Apple pushing Foxconn to hire aggressively to cope with strong iPhone 6 demand

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 30, 2014

As Apple’s recently released iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus continue to face strong demand from fans around the world, the Cupertino firm has reacted by pushing its favorite contract manufacturer, Foxconn, to hire more workers to help assemble the handsets, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes reported Tuesday.

A large-scale aggressive hiring for Foxconn facilities in Shenzhen and Zhengzhou is currently underway, with sources noting that working on assembly lines is no longer as attractive as before for workers in China. Read More

 

Despite its highest daily output ever, Foxconn still struggling to boost iPhone 6 production

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 17, 2014

Despite huge investment it’s made in production lines, workers, sophisticated machinery and tooling equipment, Foxconn, the world’s largest contract fabricator, is having issues keeping up with massive iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus demand, The Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog reported Wednesday.

“For iPhone 6 Plus, we are still ramping up the production line,” sources tell WSJ. ”Another reason for the limited supply is the shortage of 5.5-inch displays”.

Another person at a display component supplier told the paper that Foxconn is scrapping almost half of the 5.5-inch panels due to quality control issues. The output rate of the 4.7-inch display is reportedly better at 85 percent.

Manufacturing woes stem from the in-cell display technology which allows for a thinner and lighter screen assembly by integrating touch sensors into the liquid crystal display. Read More

 

Apple supplier accused of forcing overtime and endangering workers

By Cody Lee on Sep 4, 2014

An Apple supplier has once gain come under scrutiny for labor violations. Both Green America and China Labor Watch are reporting that Catcher, who is responsible for making iPad and MacBook casings for the company, is endangering and exploiting its workers.

At its factory in Suqian, China, Catcher is accused of failing to provide adequate protective equipment for employees handling toxic materials, and various other safety violations. The manufacturer is also charged with forcing overtime: 10+ hours per day, 6 days a week. Read More

 

Chinese sources: mass production of 4.7″ iPhone 6 begins, 5.5″ and new iPads start in September

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 25, 2014

As the purported parts and cases thought to belong to the iPhone 6 continue leaking out, Apple is now said to have started mass production of a 4.7-inch handset variant. As for a bigger 5.5-inch version, the handset is understood to enter production in September, alongside upcoming new iPads.

If true, there may after all be some truth to the rumors that the two phones won’t launch simultaneously in order to avoid cannibalization. Just yesterday, for instance, the hit-and-miss DigiTimes said the 4.7 and 5.5-inch models of the iPhone 6 will launch separately as Apple wants to “avoid competition between the two models”Read More

 

WSJ: TSMC starts shipping 20nm A8 chips to Apple

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 10, 2014

It’s been long rumored that Apple for years has been working with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s largest independent chip foundry, on building its in-house designed processors that power the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Apple TV devices.

Thus far, several conflicting reports have indicated that TSMC has been running test production of the upcoming A8 processor for months now, with other sources insisting that the Taiwanese chip foundry was unsuccessful kickstarting mass-production over ongoing yield issues.

A report Thursday by The Wall Street Journal has it on good authority that TSMC finally began shipping its first batch of microprocessors to Apple in the second quarter… Read More

 

Foxconn confirms it’s starting to deploy robots to help assemble iPhones

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 7, 2014

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., Ltd., also known in the Western world as Foxconn, the world’s largest contract manufacturer, will soon start deploying sophisticated robots to help assemble iPhones, CEO and Chairman Terry Gou announced during a shareholder meeting Monday.

Foxconn assembles a range of consumer electronics products for other companies, including iPhones and iPads. The plan to replace factory workers with robots was first announced two years ago, but hit roadblocks due to high cost of robot deployment… Read More

 
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