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

 

Apple allegedly shifting iMac production from Quanta to Pegatron

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

 

Micron buys Apple’s memory supplier Elpida

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

 

Apple taps U.S. university professors to advise Supplier Responsibility program

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

 

iPad to keep losing ground until new models arrive

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 miniRead More

 

Ongoing challenges forcing Apple to buy Retina iPad mini screens from Samsung?

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 reportRead More

 

Apple reportedly ordering large amounts of touch panels for next-gen iPads

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

 
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