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

China Mobile subsidiary briefly accepting pre-orders for iPhones in possible soft launch

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With the iPhone launch on the biggest carrier in the world’s most populated market confirmed for 18th DecemberFortune spotted what appears to have been a soft launch in the city of Suzhou. The city is one of the richest in China, so would be a logical place for an early launch.

The attached screen grab comes from a website owned by a subsidiary of China Mobile Limited in Suzhou, a city of 5 million just west of Shanghai.

The site went live late Monday local time, when it began taking pre-orders for the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C …  Read more

Apple announces Tech Talks for 2013, focus on iOS 7

Screen Shot 2013-09-25 at 19.24.53

In April 2013, when WWDC sold out in a matter of minutes, Apple said that they would hold tech talks later in the year. Apple has now sent out the details for these events, with a clear focus on getting developers up to speed with iOS 7.

The talks are going to be held in San Francisco, New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, Berlin and London. Unusually, Apple is holding two events in each city this year, one for app development and one dedicated to game development. Topics revolve around the new API’s in iOS 7, to further encourage developer adoption of the new technologies. The talks are being held across October, November and December.

Registered developers must apply by September 27th 2013, if they want to attend. Developers can attend either the app developer day or the game developer day, not both.

Apple in Shanghai court over Siri speech recognition patent infringement claims

Siri promo video (text message reply 001)AFP reported Apple is in court in Shanghai, China again today, but this time it’s over a lawsuit alleging the company copied components of Siri’s speech recognition software. According to the report, Shanghai-based Zhizhen Network Technology Co. claimed in pretrial proceedings that Apple infringed its patent related to voice recognition technology via Siri. While the suit notes that development of Siri began in 2007, there is no mention of Nuance. Apple currently partners Nuance with to implement the speech recognition component in Siri, and it is also a market leader that presumably has its own arsenal of speech recognition related patents.

Zhizhen says it patented its “Xiao i Robot” software in 2004, while Apple’s Siri, which made its debut with the release of the iPhone 4S in 2011, was first developed in 2007.

“The company will ask Apple to stop manufacturing and selling products using its patent rights, once Apple’s infringement is confirmed,” Si Weijiang, a lawyer representing Zhizhen, told AFP.

“We don’t exclude the possibility of demanding compensation in the future,” he added.

The company is behind Siri-like software called ‘Xiao i Robot’ that it claimed was first developed before Siri in 2004. The technology is apparently available on some smart TVs and enterprise applications, but it doesn’t appear to be available as a consumer-facing app for smartphones or tablets. The video below appeared online when the company originally filed suit against Apple last year, and it shows the Xiao i Robot software running on a Lenovo smartphone:

First look at the assembly process of an iPad at Foxconn factory

Marketplace reporter Rob Schmitz is the second reporter ever to get an inside look at Foxconn, the manufacturing plant where Apple’s products are made. Today, Schmitz posted a video showing our first-ever look at the assembly process of an iPad as it goes down the assembly line at the Foxconn plant in Shanghai, China. It is interesting to look at how machines streamline some of the process. Schmitz also noted a few other interesting points, such as workers switching positions every few days while making $14 a day when first starting.

 

Read more

Apple, Steve Jobs posthumously granted patent application for Shanghai Apple Store design

Late last year, the New York Times did a great interactive feature on the 323 Patents that Steve Jobs was granted as CEO of Apple.

From Patently Apple today:

Today, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple a design patent for their flagship Shanghai Apple Store which opened its doors in September 2010. One of the designers credited for this incredible architecture is the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

He keeps racking them up… Read more