iTunes carrier billing expands in Japan, Taiwan and Switzerland

Following initial launch of iTunes carrier billing in Russia with Telefonica’s O2 and in Germany with VimpelCom’s Beeline unit nearly a year ago, Apple has now brought this alternative option to customers in Japan, Taiwan and Switzerland, according to reports from CNBC and Mashable.

Carrier billing lets customers without access to credit or gift cards have their app and media purchases charged directly to their monthly mobile phone bill or deducted from their prepaid amount.

Report: Apple working on advanced screen display tech that’s thinner, brighter, and lighter

A late evening report from Bloomberg’s Tim Culpan has shed a bit of light on Apple’s plans regarding the future of its display technology for iPhones, iPads, and other devices. Culpan’s report shows that Apple has opened a secret lab within a Taiwanese science park, and has no less than 50 engineers working on advanced versions of LCD and OLED display technology.

Apple’s goal, according to the report, is to create screens that are thinner, lighter, brighter, and more energy-efficient than the screen technology used in current production iPhones and iPads. The report emphasized Apple’s keen interest in OLED technology in particular, since it requires no backlight, a fact that can help meet the improvements in energy efficiency and thinness that the Cupertino firm is seeking.

Japanese manufacturers banding together to secure more iPhone orders

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.

Suppliers projecting 50M iPhone shipments in Q1

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.

Launch of 12-inch Retina MacBook may be pushed back to 2015

Taiwan’s Economic Daily News is reporting tonight that the launch of the 12-inch MacBook with Retina display may be pushed back due to Intel processor delays. The long-rumored hybrid laptop was expected to finally launch later this year.

The problem is, the new MacBook, said to strike a better balance of performance and portability, is believed to be tied to Intel’s 14-nanometer Broadwell chips. These chips have been delayed several times, and now may not land until 2015…

Foxconn and Pegatron go on hiring sprees as iPhone 6 production ramps up

As the iPhone 6 enters production over the next few months, a new report claims that Apple manufacturing partners Foxconn and Pegatron are in the process of recruiting new employees from mainland China. Foxconn in particular is said to be hiring a record-breaking 100,000 employees to help assemble the smartphone, which could be released in both 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch models… 

Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission fines Apple $700k over iPhone pricing

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple has been fined 20 million New Taiwan dollars, or roughly $670,000 USD, by Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission for interfering with mobile service providers and handset distributors’ pricing.

The Commission found Apple guilty of violating article 18 of the country’s Fair Trade Act after discovering emails from the Cupertino company to Taiwan’s three main service providers, telling them how much their iPhones should sell for…

Foxconn starts selling own TVs in Taiwan

The New York Times in May said Apple’s favorite contract manufacturer Foxconn was looking beyond the iPhone due to slowing sales of the Apple smartphone caused by the broader tech biz slump. As you know, Foxconn also builds consumer electronics for Sony, Amazon, Dell and many other Western brands.

Conventional wisdom says the manufacturer’s been growing concerned about its reliance on Apple orders accounting for well over half of its total revenues. Today, The Wall Street Journal is out with a report saying Foxconn has teamed up with the convenience store chain 7-Eleven to push its own television sets in Taiwan.

Interestingly enough, it was reported last year that Apple had been working with Asian suppliers on several designs for its rumored TV sets that Foxconn was supposed to build…

Apple said to be working with Corning, Foxconn and others to build iTV

Apple is in the early stages of building its long-rumored television set, working with glassmaker Corning, Foxconn, G-Tech Optoelectronics, Foxconn, and Innolux, according to a new report out of Taiwan this morning.

Citing supply chain sources, the outlet says that the companies all met two weeks ago in the US to discuss the production of Apple’s so-called iTV. The set will come in 55″ and 60″ models, and be available early next year…

Apple on a hiring spree for Taiwan’s upcoming R&D center

Earlier in the month, VR-Zone learned Apple was looking to establish a research and development (R&D) center in Taiwan where talented engineers will be working on the next-generation of iPhone product development, reporting directly to Apple’s headquarters in California.

DigiTimes today expands on the story, reporting the company is now actively recruiting engineers to fill a bunch of various roles, including packaging, quality control, hardware and software. Apple’s recruiting efforts are said to have already attracted the attention of many IT engineers in Taiwan…

Apple reportedly setting up R&D center in Taiwan to create future iPhones

It is no secret that Apple operates a few research and development centers overseas. In Israel, for instance, the company runs three R&D centers: one in Haifa, another stemming from its acquisition of the flash memory developer Anobit and the third opening soon in the Israeli city of Ra’anana.

Yet another R&D facility is scheduled to open later this year in Pudong, Shanghai and now we learn that an all-new R&D center dedicated to iPhone development will be opening in Taiwan, where most of Apple’s suppliers are located…