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
By Cody Lee on Nov 27, 2013
Yesterday we reported that online iPhone 5s availability had improved, with shipping estimates lowered to 3-5 days. Now, this newfound inventory could be the result of greater production yields, lower demand, or both.
But according to The Wall Street Journal, it’s likely the former. The news outlet is reporting this morning that Foxconn has boosted production capacity for the iPhone 5s, at the expense of the 5c, at the request of Apple… Read More
By Cody Lee on Nov 26, 2013
The new Mac Pro, which Apple first introduced at WWDC, is capable of driving up to 3 4K displays simultaneously. This is something the company has mentioned several times, leading to speculation that it has a 4K-flavored display on the way.
Although such a product hasn’t materialized yet, some new evidence has surfaced this week that could indicate it’s still on the way. Apparently, Apple supplier AUO is currently making 27-inch and 33-inch 4K thunderbolt-compatible display panels… Read More
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
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
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
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
By Christian Zibreg on Nov 13, 2013
‘Gadgets that build gadgets’ should have been the headline of the Bloomberg piece which details Apple’s multi-billion dollar investments in custom-engineered manufacturing equipment, machines and robots which dutifully churn out your shiny new iPads and iPhones with their diamond-cut chamfered edges, precision crafted down to the micron.
‘The Rolex of smartphones’ is impossible to mass-produce using the existing tooling and manufacturing techniques. Because Apple custom-designs everything, it shouldn’t surprise you that it also designs its own manufacturing processes, techniques and cutting-edge production equipment.
Just how does the company utilize its billions on these pricey robots? Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Nov 7, 2013
Current CEO Tim Cook under Steve Jobs used to run Apple’s vast network of suppliers and contract manufacturers and has largely been credited with turning the company into a well-oiled money-printing machine. But making sure trains run on time involves the incredible complexities associated with hiring tens of thousands of workers – and fast, too – who tediously assemble iPhones and iPads in factories located in China and Taiwan.
Apple and its manufacturing partners have been taking a lot of heat over worker treatment in these sweatshops so the iPhone maker eventually started tracking the work hours of 1+ million supply chain workers and took other proactive measures to ensure fair hiring.
But now, another issue is making headlines: the inhumane treatment of would-be employees by employment brokers who take high advance fees from workers and their families, contrary to Apple’s rules. Read on… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Nov 7, 2013
As officially confirmed earlier this week, Apple has teamed up with smartphone cover glass maker GT Advanced in a $578 million multi-year deal which gives the iPhone maker steady supply of sapphire glass, a crystalline form of aluminum oxide hailed for its unmatched scratch resistance and hardness second only to diamond.
GT will be investing big money in large capacity furnaces to forge the precious gemstone on an industrial scale at Apple’s upcoming eco-friendly, 700-employee facility in Mesa, Arizona. Although the deal is subject to “certain exclusivity terms” and GT expects “substantially lower” gross margins, it’s of strategic nature and will be cash positive to GT.
By some estimates, GT’s revenue next year could experience an unheard-of 15x increase based on the Apple contract alone… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Nov 6, 2013
Apple has long relied on Foxconn, the world’s top manufacturer, to assemble its gadgets. In small part, Apple also taps Foxconn’s rival, Taiwan-based Pegatron, on a regular basis for some orders. According to a new Wall Street Journal report Wednesday, Tim Cook & Co. have now contracted an additional two companies to help assemble iPhones and iPads amid growing demand for the products.
Mind you, it’s not like Apple suddenly stopped loving Foxconn – the company will continue to build the iPhone 5s – but the report makes a passing mention of Apple apparently being dissatisfied with the high repair costs over defective iPhone 5 units and ongoing labor controversies surrounding Foxconn… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Nov 5, 2013
Yesterday, New Hampshire-based materials manufacturing company GT Advanced announced a multi-year agreement with Apple to provide steady supply of the sapphire glass, a crystalline form of aluminum oxide known for its superior durability and scratch resistance. Apple relies on this pricey gemstone to protect the iPhone 5s’s Touch ID sensor and has been using it for camera lens cover on all iOS devices since the iPhone 5.
The strategic supply agreement is valued at more than half a billion dollars in cutting-edge equipment and some folks have combed through Apple’s patent filings for a clue to building next-generation iDevices with sapphire glass covers instead of Gorilla Glass.
Here’s a video tour of GT’s manufacturing process behind making the scratch-resistant, tougher-than-Gorilla-Glass sapphire displays for smartphones… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Nov 4, 2013
The Arizona State Governor Janice K. Brewer has just issued an interesting press release confirming that Apple will open a manufacturing plant in Mesa to build components for products. The manufacturing facility will create more than 700 high-quality jobs in the first year and “generate significant capital investment”.
She kept mum on details, but the “significant capital investment” rules out server farms and perhaps alludes at some sort of a new plant to assemble products other than the new Mac Pro, which is being assembled in a Texas plant. UPDATED with new info, jumps past the fold for the latest.. Read More
By Cody Lee on Nov 1, 2013
It looks like Apple’s Retina iPad mini production problems are worse than we thought. According to a new report, both LG Display and Sharp are having so much trouble mass-producing the hi-res panels for the tablet that the company has been forced to turn to rival Samsung for help… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Oct 23, 2013
Not that long ago, these three words – ‘Made in USA’ – stood out for American quality, craftsmanship and reliability. What a difference a few decades make! As everyone’s been building virtually everything in China, small wonder even Apple’s boss Tim Cook, like his predecessor Steve Jobs, suspects those manufacturing jobs won’t be coming back anytime soon. What might is (some) assembly work.
It was only recently that the nation’s tech brands began experimenting with doing final assembly domestically. Motorola, for example, is putting the final pieces of the Moto X in place at a Texas plant, previously a Nokia facility.
Apple, in the meantime, has always designed its products in California and tapped its vast network of suppliers and contract manufacturers in Taiwan and China to build its gizmos. That’s starting to change now as Apple’s next-generation Mac Pro marks the company’s return to the US in a limited manufacturing capacity.
The upcoming dream desktop is being assembled in a $100 million U.S. plant. And like Motorola’s, Apple’s facility is located in Texas. So, how does Apple build such a sophisticated and radically rethought desktop computer? Industrial designer Greg Koenig took a closer look at an eye-candy Mac Pro assembly video Apple played at yesterday’s keynote, here’s what he gleaned from it…
By Cody Lee on Oct 19, 2013
Marketing research firm NPD DisplaySearch has added to recent reports this weekend that Apple is telling its suppliers to cut iPhone 5c production and increase 5s output.
Citing ‘channel checks,’ the firm sent out a research note yesterday claiming that the Cupertino company is cutting 5c orders by 35%, and increasing 5s orders by 75%… Read More
By Ed Sutherland on Oct 16, 2013
Foxconn, the Tiawanese electronics assembler closely linked to Apple and other electronics firms, admits student interns who helped build Sony Playstation 4 consoles worked both overtime and at night in its China factories. Foxconn is the world’s leading contract manufacturer whose fortunes are closely tied to Apple’s.
In a statement last week, Foxconn said there were “a few instances” where interns worked shifts which violated company policies. However, the company which also assembles iPhones and iPads for Apple, said “immediate actions” will be put in place to prevent further incidents… Read More
By Cody Lee on Oct 16, 2013
Apple has asked its iPhone suppliers in China to cut down on production of its iPhone 5c model, according to a new report by The Wall Street Journal. This is the second time we’ve heard this in as many weeks.
Last week, it was reported by Chinese web site C Technology that Apple had cut their iPhone 5c orders in half—from 300K units per day, to 150K—spawning speculation that the device isn’t selling very well… Read More
By Cody Lee on Oct 10, 2013
When Apple announced that the pricing for the plastic iPhone 5c would only come in $100 less than its flagship 5s, the entire tech world let out a harmonious gasp. The handset, which we had all known about for months prior, was supposed to retail in the $300 range.
A lot of folks predicted that the higher pricing would lead to the device’s downfall. And it may have. Apple didn’t announce any sales numbers after the 5c’s opening weekend, and today, a new report is out claiming that the company is cutting production in half… Read More
By Cody Lee on Oct 2, 2013
Despite the fact that we’ve seen conflicting reports on the topic, the consensus seems to be that Apple is working on an iPad mini with a high resolution display. And it’s expected to introduce the tablet at a media event this month.
According to a new scoop from Reuters, however, even if such a product is unveiled in the near future, it may be a while before you can get your hands on one. The outlet says initial supplies for the slate will be severely constrained… Read More