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


Samsung rumored to supply screens for iPad Air 2 and 12.9″ iPad Pro

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 30, 2014

Samsung Display, Samsung’s display unit and part of the company’s component-making arm, will supply Apple with high-resolution panels for an upcoming second-generation iPad Air and a rumored “iPad Pro”which is understood to feature a 12.9-inch screen, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes reported Tuesday morning citing Korean-news outlet inews24.

Although the Cupertino firm’s been distancing itself from the South Korean conglomerate amid ad wars and legal spats, the Galaxy maker is still an important supplier for Apple. And with its leading position in mobile screen production, Samsung is best poised to ensure that Apple has ample supply of high-resolution panels for the iPad Air 2 and the rumored iPad Pro. Read More


Rumor: Apple Watch has LG-made AMOLED screen

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 17, 2014

Apple has rejected tiny panels made by rival Samsung’s display-making arm for its wrist-worn smartwatch and has instead opted in favor of curved AMOLED screens made by LG Display, claims a supply chain report filed Wednesday by DigiTimes, a somewhat accurate Taiwanese trade publication.

Citing unnamed sources at LG Display, the publication reports LG Display will supply AMOLED panels for the Apple Watch. “Apple will reportedly not purchase AMOLED panels from Samsung Display and instead will have LG as the sole panel provider for the Apple Watch”, the sources indicated. Read More


Rumor: LG Display beats out rivals to become top iPhone 6 display supplier

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 19, 2014

If there’s any substance to a new supply chain report Tuesday, LG Display beat out rivals like Samsung, Sharp, and Japan Display as Apple had reportedly selected the South Korea-based firm as its top display supplier for the upcoming iPhone 6.

Based on a massive amount of orders, analysts are expecting iPhone 6 shipments in the ballpark of 70 million units during a three-month span.

The huge order should be enough to keep suppliers such as LG Display busy in the months ahead. RBC Capital Markets in a note to clients yesterday cited latest supply chain data, upping its forecast of Apple’s orders to as many as 80 million units of both 4.7 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 variants.

This compares to the 60 million iPhones ordered during the same period of last year… Read More


iWatch components said to be going into production this month

By Cody Lee on Jun 5, 2014

Cantor Fitzgerald’s Brian White reports that several components for the so-called iWatch are going into mass production this month. The analyst believes that Apple is planning to unveil the long-rumored smartwatch in September, perhaps alongside the iPhone 6.

White bases his report on his recent tour of Computex, Asia’s largest technology show, where wearables were by far the most talked-about products. There, sources from supply chain companies told him iWatch component production would soon begin ramping up… Read More


Apple adds Innolux as third iPhone 6 screen supplier, Samsung and Sharp lose orders

By Christian Zibreg on May 19, 2014

Although Samsung of South Korea should build Apple’s in-house designed A8 processor for the next iPhone and has remained the top iPad display supplier, it looks like the conglomerate won’t make it on the list of suppliers providing 4.7-inch display panels for the iPhone 6.

A new report by Taiwanese media alleges that Apple dropped both Samsung as Sharp as iPhone 6 display suppliers, instead adding Innolux as a third supplier of iPhone 6 screens.. Read More


Pegatron reportedly gearing up to start iPhone 6 production in Q2

By Cody Lee on Mar 18, 2014

According to a new report from the Commercial Times, Apple supplier Pegatron is gearing up to start mass-producing the iPhone 6. The production is expected to kick off in the second quarter of this year at its Kunshan, China-based plant.

The newspaper says that the manufacturer has already begun recruiting workers in China, and has even opened up a new factory space, in an effort to prepare for large orders from Apple. The new handset is expected to debut later this year… Read More


Apple reportedly secured three year’s worth of sapphire glass

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 19, 2014

With a larger of the two jumbo-sized iPhones rumored to arrive later this year rocking a massive 5.5-inch screen, Apple’s adamant to buy huge amounts of thin sapphire laminates, likely to strengthen the handset’s cover glass. We know Apple invested nearly $500 million in high-tech furnaces and equipment for its Arizona sapphire plant.

The firm is operating the facility in partnership with GT Advanced.

We’ve also known that Apple and GT have signed an exclusive multi-year agreement and now Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth has gone on the record claiming that Apple has acquired three-year supply of sapphire screens… Read More


TPK said to supply silver nanowire-based flexible AMOLED panels for iWatch

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 19, 2014

Apple is said to have commissioned Taiwan-based touch panel maker TPK to build flexible AMOLED panels for a rumored iWatch wearable device. According to a report by The China Times, highlighted by DigiTimes, the iWatch will include a flexible AMOLED display and 3D protective glass, with ‘3D’ likely referring to a curved appearance of the cover glass.

Moreover, the Apple wearable device could use silver nanowire touchscreen technology developed by TPK. Interestingly enough, TPK recently signed a deal with Japan-based Nissha Printing to mass produce nanowire layers… Read More


Good-bye, grainy selfies! Sony tipped as FaceTime camera supplier for 2015 iPhones

By Christian Zibreg on Feb 11, 2014

Your selfies will receive a significant and much welcomed upgrade next year as Sony – which last week announced plans to unload its computer business and spin off its TV segment – is gearing up to kick off production of front-facing cameras for next-generation iPhones in 2015, if a report from Japanese business site Nikkei is an indication.

The Japanese consumer electronics giant has been making iSight back cameras since the iPhone 4s, with current estimates in the ballpark of a hundred million CMOS sensors a year. It also makes cameras for Samsung and Huawei smartphones.

Therefore, landing that contract would mark a major win for both parties and a huge loss for OmniVision, which currently supplies CMOS sensors for the iPhone’s rather unimpressive front-facing camera… Read More


Apple reportedly shaking up supply chain to preserve more profits

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


Bloomberg details Apple’s sophisticated robots and production machinery

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


Retina iPad mini: first shipments due Friday, tight supply until 2014

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


Apple expected to increase holiday-quarter iPad screen purchases from Samsung

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


The harsh realities of getting a job in Apple’s supply chain

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


iPad Air shipping times begin to slip

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


Rumor: LG nears OLED iWatch deal, Google smartwatch due ‘within months’

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


iPhone 5s inventory expected to be extremely limited at launch

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


Infographic: the iPhone supply and manufacturing chain

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


Quality issues reportedly prompt Apple to cozy up to Samsung for iPad screens

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

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