12.9-inch iPad rumor is back with launch date, early launch for larger size iPhone included

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Mockups: T3

Rumors of a larger iPad have been bouncing around since May (complete with the world’s silliest name). They gained credibility (minus the name) when reported by the WSJ in July, and our poll certainly suggests there would be demand for it, with 24 percent of 9to5Mac readers declaring that they love the idea. There have, however, so far been few supporting specifics.

Digitimes is not always the most credible of sources, but it is today suggesting that the 12.9-inch iPad will be manufactured by Quanta Computer, launched in October and targeted at the education market, citing its usual anonymous “supply chain sources” …  Read more

Apple’s challenges in ensuring fair treatment of workers in complex supply chains

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Bloomberg has a lengthy piece illustrating just how great a challenge it is for Apple and other multinational companies to ensure the fair treatment of workers in complex supply chains.

When one of Apple’s suppliers like Flextronics wins a new contract, it needs to take on additional workers – lots of them, and fast. Those workers are recruited through employment brokers, which are required to adhere to Apple’s rules. But many of them are brought in from other countries, like Malaysia and Nepal.

Alok Taparia, the managing director of Transworld Manpower, another of the four Nepalese brokers retained for that drive, says he was given clear instructions: Workers shouldn’t be charged; Flextronics would pay the brokers. But Taparia and the other Nepalese brokers say Flextronics demanded so many men so quickly that there was no way to do it without tapping the country’s network of subagents, stretching into Himalayan villages reachable only by foot. As Apple itself has described in reports on its supply chain, the subagents always charge…

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

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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

Foxconn posts record profits citing increased efficiency of iPhone and iPad production

foxconnHon 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

Fix dings/dents/scratches on your iPhone 5 with this $99 original rear panel replacement

One of the biggest controversies surrounding the launch of the iPhone 5 has been the light scratching and chipping that some users have reported witnessing on the device’s coated aluminium backside. Apple’s Marketing Senior Vice President Phil Schiller called the scratching “normal” for aluminium products, as scratching on the coated surface reveals the natural silver color underneath making it more noticeable to users than an all-glass design. There have even been reports that quality control issues related to the scratching have lead to shortages and troubles in Apple’s supply chain.

While Apple is standing behind the design for the most part (they will swap your iPhone 5 for a new one if it’s scratched out of the box), there is another solution on the market for your scratched iPhone 5. iPhone5mod, the same people behind one of the first Lightning connector docks on the market, is today releasing rear panel replacements that it claimed are 100 percent original.

The standalone rear case is apparently “the same thing you are seeing and touching in your iPhone 5 right now.” It would not be all that shocking considering China-based iPhone5mod also claimed to have “original Lightning controller chips from Apple’s supplier” for its iPhone 5 dock.

The replacement part is available for $99 now in both black and white from iPhone5mod.com. Apple has been quick to issue takedown notices for the company’s products in the past, so there is a possibility these won’t last long.

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