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 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 13, 2013
Have you ordered your iPad mini with Retina display yet? If you’re still on the fence of buying the device, make up your mind sooner than later because the popular Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is expecting tight supply this holiday season.
Kuo is very reliable and this is the first time he posted estimates of the numbers so it pays to take his remarks at face value. Corroborating his analysis, Rhoda Alexander of IHS iSupply cautions that shipments of the supply-constrained device won’t double until the first quarter of next year, meaning shortages are to be expected throughout the Christmas quarter.
Meanwhile, early adopters are now reporting receiving an Apple Store-estimated delivery date of this coming Friday, November 15. Jump past the fold for the full reveal… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Nov 11, 2013
Samsung of South Korea may have gotten itself into hot water with Apple over patents and design issues, but its semiconductor unit continues to churn out unabated the Apple-designed engine which powers the iPhone, iPad and iPod devices. As for Retina screens, Apple originally sourced mobile displays from non-Samsung suppliers such as Sharp and LG Display.
Last we heard, recent yield and quality issues have reportedly prompted the iPhone maker to turn to its frenemy for help. Korea’s ETNews last Friday claimed Apple has asked Samsung for help as Sharp struggles to solve burn-in issues with IGZO panels for the iPad Air.
At the heart of the production issues is Japanese giant’s malfunctioning of the thin-film transistor display technology. Corroborating the report, a display research firm on Monday said Apple’s purchase of Samsung-made panels for the iPad is about to skyrocket in the fourth quarter… 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 Cody Lee on Nov 2, 2013
It’s been just 24 hours since the iPad Air launched, and already supplies are starting to weaken. Space gray seems to be the most popular color, as shipping estimates for 16GB and 128GB models have slipped to 5-10 days in several countries.
Even here in the US, shipping times have begun to slip. The T-Mobile variant of the space gray 128GB Air is showing that it ships in 5-10 days, and ship dates for nearly all other models of the tablet have gone from November 4 to November 6… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Oct 29, 2013
LG Display, a prominent Apple supplier that provides LCD panels for the iPad, MacBook and iMac devices, is apparently close to striking a deal to supply a portion of flexible OLED screens for Apple’s rumored iWatch wearable device. Furthermore, Apple is understood to have discussed the possibility of a similar deal with its biggest supplier Samsung, but talks apparently fell apart.
In addition to LG Display, the rumor also mentions Taiwan’s RiTDisplay as another possible iWatch screen supplier… Read More
By Cody Lee on Sep 17, 2013
With Apple not offering pre-orders on its new iPhone 5s, customers wanting to pick up the handset will either have to stay up late Thursday night to order it online, or head to their local retailer Friday morning.
But no matter which route you decide to take, make sure you act quickly—no dawdling. Early reports are indicating that iPhone 5s inventories, at retailers and carriers, are going to be very limited at launch… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Aug 14, 2013
Because of its size, popularity and visibility, Apple is being increasingly scrutinized for outsourcing gadget assembly to Asian contract manufacturers.
Although Tim Cook has pledged to bring some of the manufacturing jobs back to the United States with the new ‘Made In USA’ Mac Pro, critics still slam the company for sourcing product components from Taiwanese vendors. Per usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
For example, while iPhone screens are made by Asian vendors, its cover glass is being manufactured in the US by Gorilla Glass in Kentucky. As for the chips, the engine that drives the iPhone is Apple’s in-house design, fabbed by Samsung in Austin, Texas.
I stumbled upon a very nice infographic that details the source of the many iPhone components, including the speakers, vibration motor, rear earth metals and more, jump past the fold to have a look… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Aug 7, 2013
It’s no secret Apple’s been working around the clock to decrease its reliance on Samsung for components. I’m also sure you know the two frenemies have been entangled in a complicated web of lawsuits the world over for two years. Now, various market repots have indicated Apple months ago showed Samsung the door by introducing other mobile display makers to the iPad supply chain, namely LG Display and Sharp.
In an interesting reversal, research firm NPD DisplaySearch said Wednesday it believed Samsung actually gained on the iPad screen supplier LG Display because Apple in April and June reportedly sourced more 9.7-inch iPad panels from LG Display than from Samsung… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Aug 5, 2013
If a new report by the somewhat reliable DigiTimes is to be taken at face value, then Apple may shift production of its all-in-one iMac desktop from the current manufacturer Quanta to Pegatron. Now, Pegatron already builds older iPhones, has reportedly been commissioned to build Apple’s rumored plastic iPhone and used to make iMacs.
Nowadays most iMac orders are being fulfilled by Quanta, which also assembles the majority of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro notebooks… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Aug 1, 2013
Micron Technology on Thursday informed investors it has completed its $2 billion acquisition of Elpida Memory, the third-largest maker of dynamic random access memory chips (DRAM) and an important Apple supplier. The rumored move was expected given Elpida’s been struggling for some time amid heightening competition with SK Hynix and Samsung.
The struggling Japanese chip maker last summer filed for bankruptcy and has since been in talks to sell its business to U.S.-based Micron Technology Corp. Apple placed a huge order with Elpida ahead of the iPhone 5 production, indicating desire to maintain its bargaining power by keeping the memory maker running.
Elpida’s memory products power Apple’s latest iPhones and iPads and are also found inside Google’s Nexus 7 and other non-Apple gadgets… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 26, 2013
As part of its never-ending efforts to improve working conditions at overseas plants where its devices are being assembled, Apple has enlisted help of eight professors from top U.S. universities to establish an academic advisory board for its Supplier Responsibility program.
The academics will provide guidance and advice to improve working conditions within Apple’s worldwide supply chain and help provide “safe and ethical working conditions wherever its products are made”… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 25, 2013
During the June quarter, sales of Apple’s iPads declined fourteen percent from a year earlier. And as Mac and iPod shipments dropped, too, the iPhone stood out as Apple’s lone booming product – the company sold twenty percent more handsets than a year earlier.
Analysts and suppliers now speculate iPad shipments will keep on falling due to stiff competition in the table sector and the aging lineup – at least until Apple’s blockbuster Fall brings us an iPad 5, a cheaper iPad mini and maybe even a Retina iPad mini… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 23, 2013
Run for years by the then op-chief Tim Cook, Apple’s supply chain has become the stuff of the legend. Would-be watchers naively believe deciphering Apple’s next move is as easy as keeping tabs on the chatter coming out of Asia’s supply chain. Tim Cook, of course, begs to differ: on one of conference calls, Apple’s boss cautioned investors against drawing conclusion from any one data point as the company’s supply chain is a very complex beast.
So here’s something for investors and fans to chew on: ET News reported Tuesday that Apple is considering tapping Samsung Display to produce low-power Retina screens for the upcoming second-generation iPad mini because AU Optronics (AUO) was unable to deliver. Samsung would presumably make the screens alongside LG Display, Sharp and perhaps Japan Display, according to a previous February 2013 report… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 19, 2013
The somewhat reliable Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes yesterday changed course to say a second-generation Retina iPad mini upgrade is in fact launching this Fall, contrary to previous reports by Economic Daily News and NPD DisplaySearch, which called for a 2014 launch.
And in another sign of production ramp-up, DigiTimes reports that Apple’s touch panel suppler TPK is expecting its third-quarter performance to improve due to significant One Glass Solution (OGS) touch panel orders from Apple… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 18, 2013
We’ve witnessed recently a mishmash of wildly unlikely predictions, genuine-looking iPhone 5S production shots, plenty of various other leaks and big media confirmations, all seemingly pointing to Apple flexing its manufacturing muscle ahead of upcoming new product launches.
Hot on the heels of this chatter, a Taiwanese trade publication chimed in Thursday claiming Apple’s chips suppliers are seeing a boost in orders from Apple, which could be interpreted as another solid indication that the company is ramping up production as it gears up for the next iDevice refresh cycle… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jul 12, 2013
According to the latest chatter, Apple of California is looking to introduce new Taiwanese suppliers to its supply chain in a bid to diversify manufacture of iOS devices beyond the current production partners Foxconn and Pegatron.
The development comes just as Foxconn reported better-than-expected June quarter earnings on increased sales of its TV set making business.
Meanwhile, a city in China’s Henan Province is helping Foxconn increase its production capacity and inviting Apple to set up a domestic sales center… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Jun 13, 2013
There’s no escaping budget iPhone talk today. Reuters opened the morning discussion with a write-up calling for two large-screen iPhones in 2014 and citing sources insisting that an elusive less-pricey iPhone will get released later this year at a somewhat unbelievable price point of just $99.
Shortly after, the reliable Japanese blog Macotkara learned from its sources that the alleged budget iPhone will come in five colors borrowed from Apple’s iPhone 5 bumpers: black, white, pink, orange and blue. A Chinese newspaper now seemingly corroborates the chatter, writing that a bunch of Taiwanese suppliers are now shipping parts ahead of the handset assembly… Read More
By Cody Lee on Feb 16, 2013
When you think about Apple’s supply chain, the first—and only, for some—place that comes to mind is China. Images start propagating in the mind of oft-reported impoverished plants with thousands of factory workers building iPhones and iPads. But there’s much more to it.
The truth is, Apple’s supply chain is far more expansive, reaching all the way around the globe. As this new interactive map shows, the company receives components from suppliers, and production support, from the United States, Australia, Brazil and several other places… Read More