Apple bans potentially dangerous chemicals from iPhone and iPad assembly process (Update: Apple statement)

Photo: Sunday Mirror

Photo: Sunday Mirror

Five months after Chinese and American labor watchdog groups petitioned Apple to investigate the use of potentially hazardous materials in its iPhone and iPad assembly process, the company has announced that it will make changes banning the use of at least two chemicals, the Associated Press reported today. The chemicals in question are benzene and n-hexane, which are tied to lukemia and nerve damage, respectively.

After conducting a four-month study, Apple says it determined that there was no evidence to suggest that these chemicals posed a threat to workers assembling its devices in twenty-two factories, but announced that it would take steps to ensure that it would not become a problem in the future. To that end, both benzene and n-hexane have been banned from the assembly line.

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Foxconn reportedly hiring 100,000 new workers to assist with iPhone 6 production

Apple iPhone 6 (Mockup) 43

iPhone manufacturing partner Foxconn is in the process of hiring 100,000 new workers in order to ramp up iPhone 6 production, according to a new report from Taiwanese Economic Daily. Another iPhone manufacturer, Pegatron, is also said to be ramping up hiring in anticipation of the new smartphone.

Hiring frenzies like this are not uncommon as new iPhone models prepare to enter production, but in the case of Foxconn the figure represents a new record number of jobs.

According to the report, Foxconn is reportedly responsible for producing 70% of iPhone 6 orders. The report claims that the device will enter mass production in July. Leaked dummies have already given us an idea of what the phone will look like, including the LCD for the rumored 5.5-inch model.

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

foxconn-workers

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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Pegatron faces renewed labor scrutiny after death of under-age worker at iPhone 5c factory [Updated]

China Foxconn

Update: Apple has issued a statement stating that it sent medical experts to investigate and found no link to the boy’s employment. It has not commented on the fact that the worker was under-age, but it has been revealed that he used his 21-year-old cousin’s ID to get the job.

Last month we sent independent medical experts from the U.S. and China to conduct an investigation of the (Pegatron) factory. While they have found no evidence of any link to working conditions there, we realize that is of little comfort to the families who have lost their loved ones.

Apple has a long-standing commitment to providing a safe and healthy workplace for every worker in our supply chain, and we have a team working with Pegatron at their facility to ensure that conditions meet our high standards.

Original story:

China Labor Watch says Pegatron has failed to properly explain the deaths of five young workers at a factory making the iPhone 5c, including one who was found to be just 15 years old, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

Pegatron, the Taiwanese manufacturer that employed him, said the workplace environment at the Shanghai plant was not the cause of his illness. But a spokeswoman acknowledged that several other young workers at the factory had also died in the past few months [...]

“Considering the sudden deaths of five people and the similar reason of the deaths, we believe there should be some relations between the tragedy and the working conditions in the factory,” said Li Qiang, who runs China Labor Watch …  Read more

Wall Street Journal backs up analyst reports that Apple is reducing component orders for iPhone 5c

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The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple is cutting component orders for the iPhone 5c by up to a third, reiterating the news that Apple is curtailing iPhone 5c production. This backs up a multitude of reports by industry analysts, which said that iPhone 5c demand is weaker than Apple’s initial expectations.

Apple told its Taiwanese assemblers Pegatron Corp. and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. that shipments of the iPhone 5C in the fourth quarter would be cut, the people said. Pegatron, which analysts say assembles two thirds of the iPhone 5Cs, was told orders would be cut by less than 20%, said a person familiar with the matter. Hon Hai, which assembles the remaining low-cost iPhones, was told orders would be cut by a third, said two people familiar with the matter.

In the past, Apple CEO Tim Cook has cautioned against supplier shipments analysis as an indicator of sales performance, saying that Apple sources components from multiple manufacturers. However, the sheer number of independent reports about cuts to iPhone 5c suggests there is some underlying truth to the story. On the flip side, iPhone 5s sales seem to be booming, doing better than predicted.

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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