During this morning’s Senate hearing regarding Apple’s tax strategies, Apple CEO Tim Cook provided opening statements regarding Apple’s perspective on the issues. Notably, during a time in which Cook was discussing Apple’s United States-based operations and strategies, the Apple CEO said that Apple’s upcoming Made-in-the-USA Mac line will be assembled in Texas…
China Business (via The Register) claims that Apple has returned between 5m and 8m iPhones due to quality issues. It’s not known which handsets are affected.
Details of just what went wrong are sketchy, as the source for this tale is an anonymous Foxconn staffer chatting to China Business. That report, after being forced through a couple of translation engines, suggests Apple sent back at least five million iPhones, and maybe as many as eight million, “due to appearance of substandard or dysfunctional problems.” Read more
Apple has updated its official China website homepage to offer its respect and sympathy following the disastrous earthquake that has affected the country over the past few days.
The acknowledgement present on Apple’s site reads as follows:
Our deepest condolences to those who were taken away by the Sichuan Yaan earthquake, and respect to all the rescuers. May those who have passed away rest in peace, and may the survivors stay strong.
The company has also offered a statement that pledges cash donations and new Apple devices to help schools that have been affected:
In this difficult time our hearts are with the Sichuan earthquake victims. In addition to cash donations to help the victims ride out the storm, we will also commit to donating brand new Apple equipment to some of the schools in the affected region, and the local Apple staff will be on standby to provide support.
Apple has reportedly pledged 50 million Yuan in total. (Thanks to Richard Lai from Engadget for the translations.)
Bloomberg reports that Apple has asked Foxconn to take on additional staff at its Zhengzhou factory, where the only Apple product made is the iPhone – suggesting that production may be ramping up for the iPhone 5S and low-cost iPhone launches … Read more
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, better known by its parent company name Foxconn, posted record quarterly profits in the final quarter of last year, citing increased production and improved efficiency of iPhones and iPads, as reported by Bloomberg.
Net income rose 5.6 percent to $1.2 billion, ahead of analyst expectations, but may face more challenging times ahead … Read more
Update: While it’s hard to read too much into these reports, Foxconn told The Wall Street Journal the freeze on hiring is a result of ”a high employee return rate following the Lunar New Year holiday.”
According to the report from Financial Times, Apple’s major assembly partner Foxconn has halted new hiring at its facilities due to a slow down in production for the iPhone 5:
The suspension in hiring by China’s largest private sector employer and the biggest assembler of Apple products, is the first such countrywide move since the 2009 downturn, prompted by the financial crisis. It underscores the weakening demand for some Apple products, which has put pressure on the US company’s battered share price.
Foxconn confirmed it is not currently hiring in its plants located in mainland China, and FT reported the company’s employees were informed that hiring would stop until at least the end of March “in response to reduced orders for the iPhone 5.” While the iPhone 5 doesn’t seem to be experiencing a slow down, according to the latest numbers from Strategy Analytics, the March time frame would line up nicely with rumors of iPhone 5S production beginning in March. Many analysts are calling for a June or July launch of the next-generation iPhone, and Apple could begin initial production as early as next month if true. The decreased production at Foxconn is likely thanks to the expected falloff in new sales in the months following the busy holiday season. Less likely is speculation that Apple could be switching manufacturers.
Recruiters in China told FT that Foxconn has stopped hiring specifically for the iPhone and iPad production lines in many of its factories: