Foxconn gives a shoutout to Apple products after profits climb 13 percent

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Apple’s lead manufacturer Foxconn reported a 13 percent rise in net profit to 106.7B new Taiwan dollars (US$3.5B) following record iPhone and iPad sales, reports the WSJ. More than 40 percent of the company’s revenue comes from Apple.

The news comes a few days after Apple supplier Pegatron reported a 22 percent rise in earnings.

Hon Hai’s results were underpinned by demand from Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple, which sold 51 million iPhones in its fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 28, 2013—up 7% from the same period the previous year [...]

Apple also said it sold a record 26 million iPads in the quarter, compared with 22.9 million in the year-ago period …

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Apple’s supplier responsibility report highlights progress on working conditions, boosts focus on environment

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Apple’s eighth annual Supplier Responsibility Progress Report highlights the progress made on reducing child labor and enforcing working hour limits, and shows a significant increase in the environmental standards Apple’s suppliers are expected to meet.

The number of cases of underage workers fell from 106 last year to 11 this year. Compliance with Apple’s requirement of a maximum working week of 60 hours hit 95 percent, with 97 percent meeting the requirement of at least one day off a week. Apple reported that the average working week of a supply chain employee was less than 50 hours …  Read more

Apple aggressively pushing to take Arizona sapphire plant live in February for ‘critical’ product component

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In November of last year, Apple announced that it would be opening up a new manufacturing plant in Mesa, Arizona. Since that time, little information has come out about the plant except that it would be utilized to manufacture sapphire crystal for future Apple devices. The plant will be operated by Apple in tandem with GT Advanced Technologies. Earlier this year, we learned via (now removed) Apple job listings that the plant would involve components for future iPhone and iPod product lines.

Now, we have tracked down documents (with the help of analyst Matt Margolis) showing correspondence between U.S. Foreign Trade Zone officials and Apple’s Deputy Director of Global Trade Compliance. The documents were made public today by the Foreign Trade Zones Board. The papers indicate the materials Apple will utilize to manufacture sapphire, share details about Apple’s “aggressive” plan to take the facility live, and provide a description of how the sapphire will be used in future Apple products…

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Foxconn execs charged with taking bribes to award iPhone supply contracts

Photo: Thomson Reuters

Photo: Thomson Reuters

Several former execs at Foxconn have been charged with taking bribes from companies supplying the company with iPhone components, reports the WSJ.

Following a year of investigation, prosecutors said Thursday they have detained a former Foxconn general manager for allegedly taking kickbacks from supply chain partners. Prosecutors said three other former Foxconn employees were released on bail [after being charged] …  Read more

Poll: Would you buy a 13-inch iPad?

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With further rumors of a larger iPad in the works – the latest one Chinese site Pad News claiming that Apple is testing several variants of a 12.9-inch iPad – we thought it would be interesting to gauge the level of interest.

The specifics of this claim fall well into sketchy territory. Pad News suggests a 4K display, which wouldn’t match iPad resolution ratios (though as the current iPad is close to 2K, something close to 4K wouldn’t be impossible). It also suggests a launch date of April – given that Apple switched iPad launch dates from the spring to the fall, switching back again doesn’t seem terribly likely.

The core rumor, however, has been around for quite some time. Several different sizes have been suggested, but 12.9 inches is the one most commonly cited. This idea first emerged back in May, attached to the world’s least likely name, and gained credibility (without the silly name) when reported by the WSJ in July …  Read more

iPhone 5s production in numbers: 500K phones a day, 600 workers per iPhone

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WSJ piece on Foxconn ramping up production of the iPhone 5s to meet demand provided an interesting glimpse at some of the numbers involved.

Foxconn operates 100 production lines, which are now operating at maximum capacity 24/7 to turn out 500,000 iPhones 5s handsets per day according to the report. Each iPhone represents the combined work of around 600 people. The unnamed Foxconn source said that this amounted to 100 people more than for the iPhone 5c due to the increased complexity of the high-end phone …  Read more

Sketchiest of Apple television rumors suggests 4K 55- & 65-inch screens next year at $1500-2500

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One of the many Apple Television concepts out there (image: theverge.com)

Among the less likely of the many rumors surrounding  Apple’s long-expected move into full televisions is one reported in Bloomberg today, suggesting that Apple will launch 55- and 65-inch 4K televisions in the final quarter of 2014 with pricing in the $1500 to $2500 range.

Masahiko Ishino, an analyst at Advanced Research Japan Co, claims the displays will be made by LG, the GPUs by Samsung and the frameless glass cover made from Corning Gorilla Glass 3, with Foxconn assembling the products …  Read more

iPhone takes 51% share of smartphone activations at Verizon in Q3, unit sales flat compared to Q2

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Graph by Benedict Evans.

Verizon has just reported their results for the third quarter, with smartphone sales topping 7.6 million units. While the press release does not disclose details about iPhone performance, on Verizon’s conference call, the company announced that iPhones were responsible for just over half of all Verizon’s smartphone activations, compared to about 43% in Q2. It is important to remember the distinction between activations and sales, with activations including passed-down devices to spouses or children as well as the strong iPhone reseller market.

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KGI’s Ming-Chi Kuo provides details on new iPads coming in Q4

Mingchi-Kuo-ipad-2013.

An analyst note from a usually reliable Ming-Chi Kuo (郭明錤) seemingly confirms our expectation that Apple will not announce new iPads on September 10th, but at a separate event later in the year.

The note makes supply chain forecasts suggesting that assembly production of the iPad 5 and iPad Mini 2 will start with low-volume production this month, and enter mass-production in the final quarter. If the tablets were to be announced on September 10th, we would expect them to be much further along the production cycle by now.

As expected, both iPad models are said to use the A7X processor, which should see be a particularly noticeable improvement on the existing A5-based Mini.

There were a couple of surprises in the note …  Read more

Apple gears up for expansion in China with more than 200 senior job openings

Photo: news.cn

Photo of Beijing Apple Store: news.cn

Apple appears to be preparing for increased focus on the Chinese market, with more than 200 (mostly) senior job openings appearing on LinkedIn, reports the WSJ. Some of these were added in the past three weeks, many within the last few days. Digitimes reported yesterday on Apple also seeking senior engineers in Taiwan.

With the developed market close to saturation point, the BRIC markets – Brazil, Russia, India and China – are key to Apple’s future expansion. Worldwide, smartphones represent only just over half of the total cellphone market, generating massive potential for future growth.

Apple’s challenge in China is as much a political one as it is marketing-based …  Read more

Apple CEO Tim Cook says Made-in-USA Mac will be assembled in Texas

Screen Shot 2013-05-21 at 11.37.11 AM

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…

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