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

 

Manufacturing issues may push ‘iPad Pro’ back to Q2 2015

By Cody Lee on Nov 12, 2014

KGI Securities’ Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple’s rumored 12.9-inch tablet may get pushed back again. In a new note to investors tonight, the oft-accurate analyst said manufacturing issues may delay the so-called ‘iPad Pro,’ which was originally expected to debut this fall, until spring next year.

More specifically, Kuo says he believes Apple will use oxide LCD technology for the device’s high-res display, which will give it quick response times and high color saturation. And due to the time needed for component yield and assembly, the iPad Pro may not enter production until Q2 of 2015. Read More

 

iPad Air 2 costs roughly the same to build as its predecessor

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 28, 2014

Apple’s latest iPad Air 2 costs roughly the same as its predecessor, an analysis from the research firm IHS quoted Tuesday by Re/Code has determined. An entry-level Wi-Fi-only model with sixteen gigabytes of storage costs an estimated $275 in parts, excluding costs associated with sales, marketing, advertising, packaging, software licensees, research and development and so forth.

It’s interesting that Apple pays about $60 for NAND flash chips in the high-end 128GB model and only $9.20 on memory for the low-end 16 GB devices. At retail, the difference between the 128 and 16GB model is $300. “Apple reaps a pretty good profit for all that memory,” IHS analyst Andrew Rassweiler observed. 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

 

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

 

Bloomberg: Apple preparing 12.9-inch iPad for early 2015

By Cody Lee on Aug 26, 2014

Bloomberg is reporting this afternoon that Apple is preparing a larger 12.9-inch iPad for early next year. Citing people with “knowledge of the matter,” the outlet says that the company’s suppliers are gearing up now, with production of the tablet scheduled to begin by the first quarter of next year.

The report revives a theory that has been bouncing around the rumor mill for more than a year now. Apple was originally expected to launch the 13-inch “iPad Pro” this fall, but is believed to have pushed back the project due to resources being used on the so-called ‘iWatch,’ and the new iPhone 6.
Read More

 

Weight, size, camera design, battery: more details about iPhone 6 emerge

By Sébastien Page on Aug 22, 2014

A new report shared by French publication iGen reveals more information about the two iPhone 6 models Apple is set to announce next month. Based on details obtained from a source inside Foxconn, the report sheds more light about the weight, size, camera design, and battery of models N61 and N56, code names for the 4.7 and 5.5 inch iPhones respectively. Read More

 

New close-up photos show iPhone 6 front panel, power button and more

By Cody Lee on Aug 13, 2014

As production for the iPhone 6 begins to ramp up ahead of next month’s unveiling, we’re starting to see more and more part leaks for the highly anticipated handset. We’ve seen several over the last few days, and this afternoon, new photos of alleged components surfaced.

This latest batch gives us a close-up look at what is said to be the front panel and display assembly for the 4.7-inch model of the iPhone 6, with its very clearly tapered edges. The photos also show the new Power button, which is expected to be relocated, and its Mute Switch… Read More

 

Apple suppliers beginning production of new iPads with anti-reflection coating

By Cody Lee on Aug 11, 2014

Bloomberg is out with a new report this afternoon regarding Apple’s new iPads. The outlet claims that the company’s suppliers have already begun producing the new tablets, which are expected to debut towards the end of this quarter or early next.

According to their sources, mass production of the full 9.7-inch iPad is already under way, and production for the new iPad mini is right behind it. Additionally, the tablets will evidently feature new anti-reflective coating, making them easier to read… Read More

 

Analyst predicts initial iWatch shipments may be limited due to sapphire issues

By Cody Lee on Jul 31, 2014

Noted KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo issued a new note to investors today regarding the upcoming iWatch. Echoing his thoughts from earlier this month, Kuo says he believes that only around 3 million units or so of Apple’s smartwatch will ship this year.

Citing supply chain sources, the analyst blames production issues for the device’s limited availability. More specifically, Kuo believes that Apple is running into problems with the iWatch’s sapphire cover lens, pushing mass production back until late-November… 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: Apple gearing up for record production of 70 to 80 million iPhone 6 units

By Cody Lee on Jul 21, 2014

Apple is gearing up for its largest initial production run of iPhones ever, according to a new report this afternoon from The Wall Street Journal. The Cupertino company is betting big on its larger-screened handsets, which it believes will garner record sales.

Citing sources “familiar with the matter,” the outlet says that Apple has asked suppliers to manufacture somewhere between 70 million and 80 million units combined of two larger display iPhones, one 4.7-inch model and one 5.5-inch, by the end of December… Read More

 
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