CBS probes Apple’s relationship with Foxconn


Flashless

After the NYTimes exposé and Tim Cook’s response, the question remains: Why is the media focusing on Apple and not questioning any of the other electronics companies that manufacture with Foxconn in China?

Obviously, Apple has the money, the brand, the prestige, and it grabs attention. However, it is not like Apple can make gold from straw. Apple simply cannot build its products anywhere other than China.

On the flip side, @NicePaul takes recent Forbes numbers and creates the following infographic that illustrates the opposite point:

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NYTimes: Why Apple builds its products in China

The NY Times just published an absolutely fascinating piece on Apple and why it builds almost all of its stuff in China. Go read it.  Clearly some of our politicians could learn a lot from it.

The short of it is that companies like Apple simply cannot manufacture products in the United States.  The cost (though it is cheaper in China) is not the reason, however.  Years ago, the Chinese government subsidized building cities of factories that can hire 3,000 workers to live in a dorm per day —or 8,700 Industrial Engineers in two weeks (it would take 9 months to do this in the U.S.).  Today’s gadgets require thousands of little parts that are all made in the same areas.  This whole global supply chain cannot be moved to the U.S.

The most interesting tale might have been the last minute decision to make the iPhone’s display glass:

In 2007, a little over a month before the iPhone was scheduled to appear in stores, Mr. Jobs beckoned a handful of lieutenants into an office. For weeks, he had been carrying a prototype of the device in his pocket.

Mr. Jobs angrily held up his iPhone, angling it so everyone could see the dozens of tiny scratches marring its plastic screen, according to someone who attended the meeting. He then pulled his keys from his jeans.

People will carry this phone in their pocket, he said. People also carry their keys in their pocket. “I won’t sell a product that gets scratched,” he said tensely. The only solution was using unscratchable glass instead. “I want a glass screen, and I want it perfect in six weeks.”

After one executive left that meeting, he booked a flight to Shenzhen, China. If Mr. Jobs wanted perfect, there was nowhere else to go.

 New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.

A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.

For over two years, the company had been working on a project — code-named Purple 2 — that presented the same questions at every turn: how do you completely reimagine the cellphone? And how do you design it at the highest quality — with an unscratchable screen, for instance — while also ensuring that millions can be manufactured quickly and inexpensively enough to earn a significant profit?

Other notable tidbits: Read more

NYT ‘Elections 2012′ iPhone app: Get live news, opinion, polls and election results on tonight’s Iowa caucuses

It’s Caucus Day in Iowa, and most Americans will be tuned into their favorite news channel to see who the winner will be.  This year, though, the elections entered the twenty-first century due to The New York Times’ “Election 2012” free iPhone application available through the App Store.

According to the NYT, the app gives iPhone users “news, opinion, polls and live election night results,” from its own publication and other top sources, while providing “the best campaign coverage anywhere.”

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Jobs viewed textbooks as the next business he wanted to transform…

The New York Times reveals yet another tidbit from the Steve Jobs bio: The next business he wanted to transform was the school textbook business.

He held meetings with major publishers about partnering with Apple, the book says. If textbooks were given away free on iPads he thought the publishers could get around the state certification of textbooks. Mr. Isaacson said Mr. Jobs believed that states would struggle with a weak economy for at least a decade. “We can give them an opportunity to circumvent that whole process and save money,” he told Mr. Isaacson.

It isn’t exactly clear how the business model would work in this case but perhaps the fruits of that labor will be seen in coming months and years.

Perhaps more tantalizing, the Times teases that in his resignation meeting, Jobs also peppered Scott Forstall and Phil Schiller with questions about the data capacity of 4G cellular networks and what features should be in future phones. (FaceTime?!)

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Jobs told Isaacson that he was either going to be one of the first “to outrun a cancer like this” or be among the last “to die from it”

Details from the upcoming Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson continue trickling in as big media got an early copy of the book. Both the Associated Press and the New York Times have published excerpts that offer a unique insight into the life of the famously private Silicon Valley luminary. According to a New York Times article from yesterday, after attempting to combat a cancerous tumor on his pancreas with a special vegan diet, Jobs then turned to the latest in modern medicine, which included an experimental gene therapy:

According to Mr. Isaacson, Mr. Jobs was one of 20 people in the world to have all the genes of his cancer tumor and his normal DNA sequenced. The price tag at the time: $100,000. The DNA sequencing that Mr. Jobs ultimately went through was done by a collaboration of teams at Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Harvard and the Broad Institute of MIT. The sequencing, Mr. Isaacson writes, allowed doctors to tailor drugs and target them to the defective molecular pathways. A doctor told Mr. Jobs that the pioneering treatments of the kind he was undergoing would soon make most types of cancer a manageable chronic disease. Later, Mr. Jobs told Mr. Isaacson that he was either going to be one of the first “to outrun a cancer like this” or be among the last “to die from it.

A 60 Minutes preview with Walter Isaacson also touched on Jobs’ cancer treatment, with the biographer revealing that Apple’s late CEO in hindsight was regretful for going with a special diet rather than chose to operate on it sooner. Another interesting tidbit from the New York Times article: Apple’s co-founder began designing his own luxury yacht back in 2009. This is a surprise since Jobs was many things, but not the kind of guy who would display his wealth:

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New York Times: iPhone announcement in weeks. Yes, we have more.

We passed up the New York Times iPhone story earlier because it didn’t really contain any new product information. We’ve been hearing early October for awhile now in terms of when the iPhone gets released.  Therefore, the announcement in ‘weeks’ isn’t news either.

Neither is the 8MP camera which I was on hand to hear Sony CEO Howard Stringer reveal earlier this year.  Nor the A5 processor which isn’t even a small stretch.  And the best bit:

two people with knowledge of the inner workings of Apple’s next-generation iPhones say either the iPhone 5 or iPhone 6 will include a new chip that is made by Qualcomm.

Helpful.

But here’s some real info: We’ve heard that there are indeed two different models of iPhone coming out next month (announced this month?)  We still think October 7th is the scheduled release date give or take any delays.  We’ve heard the low-end model, which is essentially an iPhone 4 look-alike (glass front and back), is rolling off the assembly line in big numbers right now.  Apple expects to have 10+ million of these things on hand for launch and full ramped production into the holiday shopping season.  These will be priced aggressively and be everywhere.

They will also be offered in both prepaid and post paid plans (this is a big deal – more to come on that).

But there is some bad news… Read more

Apple Store Grand Central Terminal expected to be approved “as early as next week”

The New York Times reports that Apple is close to approval on the Grand Central Station Apple Store that has been rumored over the past year:

When Apple proposed opening a store on the balcony overlooking the main hall, it submitted its bid in linen-lined boxes, as if it were a wedding present to transit officials, a source familiar with the application process said. The board is expected to approve the deal as early as next week, at its monthly board meeting.

Class.

(view from proposed store below – thanks Ken!) Read more

New York Times opens up in-app subscriptions

Using Apple’s set of APIs, the New York Times has opened up in-app subscriptions in their iPhone and iPad app reports Macstories. After setting a paywall not too long ago the New York Times has been looking for ways to get their users to sign up for the subscription. It appears the Times has found their way, through the app store, offering subscriptions for website, iPhone, and iPad access. The Times is charging users $15 for access to the website plus iPhone, $20 for website plus iPad, and a combo of all three for $35. If you’re interested download the apps here and here.

In this digital age, do you agree with the New York Time’s subscription model?

The New York Times raises a paywall beginning March 28, launches in-app iOS subscriptions

The New York Times made the announcement today that marks the end of free news on their website. From now on, you will be able to access up to twenty online articles per month free of charge. Reading the news on your smartphone will set you back fifteen bucks a month and five more bucks if you’re accessing their content from a tablet. They also offer a combined $35 per month plan that buys you full access to the New York Times website via the web, as well as smartphone and tablet apps.

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