Rumor roundup: 4″ iPhone in 2016, Apple Watch in-store availability at WWDC and more

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 3, 2015

A trio of supply chain reports out of Asia are making the rounds this morning. The first rumor suggests that one of a future-generation iPhones is a four-inch handset that should be released in Q1 2016.

The second report claims that Apple will formally announce walk-in purchases for its wearable device at its Worldwide Developers Conference next week.

And the third story informs us that an Apple and Samsung supplier is investing $260 million in a production facility to churn out 3D curved glass, suggesting the faint possibility of sapphire-protected screens on some iOS devices. Read More

 

Japanese manufacturers banding together to secure more iPhone orders

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 1, 2015

Though designed in California, the vast majority of Apple’s products are being assembled in China using parts predominantly provided by the vast network of suppliers from Taiwan.

But that may be changing now as Japanese manufacturers are reportedly making a concerted effort to secure more iPhone orders from Apple, according to DigiTimes on Monday.

Citing industry sources, the trade publication claims that Japan-based printed circuit board manufacturer Ibiden has bolstered up its manufacturing capacity as it hopes to solicit more orders from Apple. Read More

 

Apple Watch screen maker LG Display dominates 90% of market as Sharp posts huge losses

By Christian Zibreg on May 14, 2015

One Apple supplier’s misery is another Apple supplier’s fortune. Two of Apple’s key display suppliers — Sharp and LG Display — are not enjoying quite the same positive effects from working with the Cupertino firm. At one end of the spectrum is LG Display, an exclusive supplier of flexible OLED panels for the Apple Watch.

The company now dominates the smartwatch display market with a ninety percent market share thanks to its lucrative contract with Apple, as per Business Korea.

On the other is Japan-based Sharp, one of Apple’s display suppliers that has barely managed to avoid collapse after posting an annual net loss of a whopping $1.9 billion, according to The Financial Times on Thursday. Read More

 

WSJ: slow Apple Watch rollout due to faulty Taptic Engine

By Cody Lee on Apr 29, 2015

Faulty Taptic Engines may be behind the extremely limited availability of the Apple Watch, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. Citing sources familiar with the matter, the publication says that after mass production of the Engines began in February, quality testing found some of them to be unreliable.

The component, which Apple uses in its Watch to produce the sensation of being tapped on the wrist, is made by two suppliers: AAC Technologies Holdings Inc. and Nidec Corp. Apparently some of AAC’s Taptic Engines were found to break down overtime, so Apple has moved a majority of its production over to Nidec. Read More

 

Apple Watch selling out fast, shipping times slipping into June

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 10, 2015

At 12:01am PT Apple started taking pre-orders for the Apple Watch models through its online store and the Apple Store iOS shopping app. If you’ve managed to reserve your device for in-store pickup or home delivery on April 24, consider yourself lucky.

As MacRumors points out, pre-order shipping estimates for many Watch models have slipped to 4-6 weeks or later in less than six hours, with some models such as the 42mm Black Link Bracelet now set to ship in July. This means folks who just woke up and pre-ordered the device won’t get it until late next month or June. Read More

 

Apple warns of constrained Watch supply at launch

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 9, 2015

With less than 24 hours until Apple Watch pre-orders begin, the Cupertino firm has issued a media release advising customers to reserve their unit online because “we expect that strong customer demand will exceed our supply at launch”.

Moreover, the company will be now taking orders for the device exclusively online “during the initial launch period.” Read More

 

Apple reportedly having issues making Apple Watch’s screen

By Jake Smith on Mar 23, 2015

Apple is having issues manufacturing the 1.5-inch AMOLED screen for the Apple Watch, and as a result, has cut initial production and shipment targets in half, according to UDN Mobile.

Citing sources in Apple’s supply chain, the Taiwanese publication says Apple has cut shipments from between 2.5 to 3 million units to between 1.25 and 1.5 million units.  Read More

 

Samsung reportedly supplying advanced DRAM memory for upcoming iPhones

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 24, 2015

In addition to landing a contract to build Apple’s next-generation A9 mobile processor for 2015 iPhones and iPads, Samsung is said to be supplying the Cupertino firm with its advanced DRAM memory chips to be used in next-generation iPhones, as well as LG’s upcoming G4 flagship handset.

The South Korean firm files as the world’s biggest memory chip supplier. According to a report Tuesday by The Korea Times citing two people familiar with the deal, the contract is estimated to be worth billions of dollars and last at least for a year. Read More

 

Apple supplier Avago Tech rumored to provide 3D Touch technology for iPhone 6s

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 12, 2015

A report Thursday by the The Economic Daily News claims to have identified a company that will supply Apple with a pressure-sensitive touch technology for the next iPhone. US-based Avago Tech, which lists Apple as a key customer, will be the main supplier of a 3D touch technology for an ‘iPhone 6s’ refresh, supply chain sources assert.

For what it’s worth, recent reports by Tech News Taiwan and UDN did mention that the next iPhone might adopt the Watch’s Force Touch feature that uses tiny electrodes around the display to differentiate between a light tap and a deep press. Read More

 

Suppliers projecting 50M iPhone shipments in Q1

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 3, 2015

After shipping a record-smashing 74.5 million handsets during the holiday quarter, representing more than half of Apple’s total revenue for the quarter, the Cupertino firm could be poised to move about 50 million iPhone units in the first quarter of this year.

Tuesday, trade publication DigiTimes cited estimates by Taiwanese handset suppliers who expect shipments of iPhone devices to grow from the 43.7 million units in the year-ago quarter to as many as 50 million shipments in Q1 2015, a 14.4 percent annual increase. Read More

 

DigiTimes: 12″ MacBook Air with Retina screen ramping up for Q1 launch, replacing 11-incher

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 13, 2015

Contract fabricator Quanta Computer is ramping up production of the highly anticipated MacBook Air model with a twelve-inch screen as Apple preps to launch the forthcoming ultra-portable during the first quarter of this year, if a new report by DigiTimes, a Taiwanese trade publication, is an indication.

Well-informed blogger Mark Gurman recently claimed that Apple is expected to raise the bar on notebook portability by engineering a lighter, thinner computer without a fan that ditches standard USB ports, the SD Card slot, Thunderbolt I/O and the MagSafe power connector in favor of a single, fully reversible USB 3.1 Type-C port. 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

 

BBC investigation finds continued poor working conditions at Apple plant in China

By Jake Smith on Dec 18, 2014

The BBC launched an investigation into a Pegatron plant that Apple uses to manufacturer its products in China, and found poor treatment of workers, after Apple has stated several times that it’s cleaned up its act.

The British media giant found standards on workers’ hours, ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were being breached at the Pegatron factories. It even recorded workers falling asleep on the production line after a 12-hour shift. Read More

 

Apple Watch reportedly entering mass production in January amid ‘breakthroughs’ in yield issues

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 11, 2014

Instead of the previously mentioned February timeframe, the Apple Watch will be entering mass production in January as Apple’s component suppliers have reportedly solved yield issues concerning vital components such as the display and processor, according to a new supply chain report published by Taiwan’s United Daily News [Google Translate] and relayed Thursday by GforGames.

As a result, the device might hit store shelves in time for Valentine’s Day, as originally suspected.

According to a recent rumor, Apple’s retail boss Angela Ahrendts told staffers that the highly anticipated wrist-worn gizmo will be launching in the spring. Read More

 

Rumor: Apple switching to Samsung-made Apple Watch chips, iPhone 6 battery and flash storage

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 26, 2014

The latest scuttlebutt fresh out of Korea has it that Apple is considering switching to Samsung-made components for the new iPhones and Apple Watch, including iPhone 6 batteries manufactured by Samsung SDI and NAND flash manufactured by Samsung’s component making arm.

The story matches up nicely with a BusinessKorea report earlier this month which claimed Apple was considering changing its flash storage provider due to alleged issues with some 128GB iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units. Read More

 

Shipping times improve for select iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models

By Cody Lee on Nov 21, 2014

With the all-important Black Friday shopping weekend just around the corner, Apple continues to improve supply of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Shipping estimates for select models of the handsets have recently ameliorated for Apple’s US online store and in other countries.

Both 64GB and 128GB iPhone 6 models, as well as the 16GB iPhone 6 Plus, are now showing ship dates 7 to 10 days out for all colors across all major US carriers. And the 16GB iPhone 6 is now shipping in 5 to 7 days, with Personal Pickup available at a number of Apple Stores. Read More

 

GT Advanced creditors complain about getting ‘too little’ in proposed Apple settlement

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 19, 2014

As Apple moves to repurpose the Mesa, Arizona plant it sought to run with the now bankrupt GT Advanced Technology, Reuters is reporting Wednesday that GT’s creditors aren’t all too happy about the agreement.

Even though the iPhone maker is committed to keeping the Arizona facility alive despite the failed sapphire manufacturing agreement with GT, creditors in a bankruptcy court filing noted that GT “may have gotten too little” in the proposed settlement with Apple. 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

 

Apple apparently changes flash storage tech in 128GB iPhone 6 and 6 Plus over alleged issues

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 7, 2014

Following unconfirmed reports that an unknown portion of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus units with 128 gigabytes of storage exhibit random boot looping and unexpected crashes, Apple has reportedly switched to using a different type of NAND flash technology.

The new iPhones use triple-level cell (TLC) NAND flash technology, but BusinessKorea reported Friday that the Cupertino firm will be switching to multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus going forward. 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

 
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