Apple will announce 4M more iPhone sales than supply chain data suggests, says Morgan Stanley

Photo: digitaltrends.com

Photo: digitaltrends.com

Predictions of disappointing Q2 iPhone sales could be unduly pessimistic, says Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty. She expects Apple to announce that it shipped 42M iPhones in the first quarter of the year (Apple’s fiscal Q2), rather than the 38M suggested by supply chain analysis, reports Business Insider. This would represent year-on-year growth of more than 4.5M handsets.

Huberty says that the supply chain may work in overdrive during the holiday quarter to generate extra product, and then ease back in the March quarter, thus giving an unreliable read out on sales.

Huberty bases her estimate on a method which sounds eccentric but has an excellent track-record …  Read more

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

supplier

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

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

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

iphone_production

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

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

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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Report: Apple forcing contract manufacturer Pegatron to choose sides, give up Asustek Zenbook orders

The high-profile Apple business with Asian contract manufacturer Pegatron Technology is facing scrutiny as the iPhone-maker is reportedly exercising its supply chain influence by asking Pegatron to drop new Ultrabook orders from Asustek or else it will lose orders for iOS devices. According to today’s article in Chinese-language Commercial Times, the similarities between Apple’s MacBook Air and Asustek’s Zenbook (released last year) instigated the Cupertino, Calif.-based firm to demand that Pegatron choose sides. As you know, the unique unibody metal enclosure of Apple’s notebooks is manufactured by Catcher Technology.

Pegatron currently assembles Asustek’s ultra-thin Zenbook family, but it will stop doing so by the end of March. As a result, Asustek will have to outsource the Zenbooks to either Compal Electronics or Wistron. Pegatron only recently landed iPhone orders and is hoping to assemble iPads, too. The Japanese blog Macotakara reported last month that Pegatron and Foxconn began assembly of iPad 3 for an early-March launch.

Even though the initial batch of Ultrabooks largely disappointed, upcoming models are looking to close the gap with lower prices and a unibody construction. Chinese-language Apple Daily reported in January (via DigiTimes) that Pegatron landed orders for at least five Ultrabooks by second-tier brands set to ship in April or May. One tiny interesting bit: Pegatron is an Asustek spin-off that happens to make Ultrabooks for other vendors, too.


Apple’s MacBook Air (left) and Asustek’s Zenbook (right). Image vie Ecoustics.com

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Another publication investigates Foxconn: CNN interviews an iPad assembler, Apple responds

After The New York Times published a lengthy two-part piece covering the controversial working conditions of Apple’s supply chain within Foxconn factories in China, other publications are doing their own investigative work to find out more informtion. The NYT’s second installment brought us the backstory of Foxconn worker Lai Xiaodong leading up to his death at a factory explosion in Chengdu. Today, CNN published a video of journalist Stan Grant who recently sat down for an interview with a current Foxconn employee and iPad display assembler:

“I can’t bear it anymore. Everyday was like, I get off from work and I go to bed. I get up in the morning, and I go to work. It became my daily routine and I almost felt like I was some kind of animal.”

The video starts off with Grant showing “Miss Chen,” who requested her name be changed for the interview, and the finished iPad she helps assemble on a daily basis but has never used. Miss Chen told CNN her Foxconn bosses informed her not to talk with media or “criminal liability shall be investigated according to law.” Chen, a poor Chongqing university student, said she took the one-month job with no experience on promises of “great benefits and little overtime.” Chen described her experience upon arriving at Foxconn:
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Report: Apple to double the capacity of next iPad battery, release two different models with high megapixel cameras

A report this evening from DigiTimes said the next iPad will have a monster battery that will more than double the current  6579 mAH to a whopping 14,000mAH.  Apple currently uses battery suppliers Simplo Technology and Dynapack who both denied to comment on the report.

Furthermore, Apple is set to unveil two versions of its next-iPad, “One for the high-end segment and one for the mid-range segment” according to another DigiTimes report.  Strangely, the report said the new iPads will be released at Macworld/iWorld in late January, a show that Apple has no plans to attend right now and bowed out of completely two years ago.

Apple is set to unveil its next-generation iPad – which will come in two versions – at the iWorld scheduled for January 26, 2012, according to sources at its supply chain partners

This is extremely unlikely; however, perhaps, a same-time but separate release could happen.  More details that are interesting were reported, as well….

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