Report: Hon Hai source says 46 to 55-inch Apple TV set in testing, no panel supplier confirmed, 2013 launch unlikely

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Last week, a report from The Wall Street Journal claimed Apple’s much rumored HDTV set is now in the “early stages of testing” with partners Hon Hai Precision and Sharp. Today, we get more details surrounding the rumored product from the Taiwan national news agency’s English language Focus Taiwan. According to the report, citing sources close to Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the supplier is testing Apple television designs, but the possibility of the product shipping in 2013 is “unlikely”:

Nevertheless, the source said it is unlikely that shipments of the appliances will begin as soon as the end of next year.

While the report from WSJ claimed Sharp was involved in the initial testing of the product with Hon Hai, Focus Taiwan’s source claimed the possibility of Sharp displaying panels for the product is “not high”:

Asked whether the new Apple TV will use display panels produced by Japan’s Sharp Corp., the source said the possibility is not high.

The source also claimed that Apple is looking at displays ranging from 46 inches to 55 inches, meaning the company likely wouldn’t rely on Sharp’s plants best suited for production of 60+ inch panels: Read more

Foxconn chairman Terry Gou says company is ‘falling short’ of iPhone demand

According to a report from Reuters, citing a statement from Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou, Apple’s assembler is having a hard time keeping up with iPhone 5 demand. Gou confirmed previous rumors that the company is indeed “falling short” of meeting supply for iPhones and its other unit, Foxconn International Holdings, is assisting with production:

“It’s not easy to make the iPhones. We are falling short of meeting the huge demand,” Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou told reporters after a business forum.

Following the launch of the iPhone 5, reports claimed employees at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant went on strike over quality control concerns and lack of training. The same quality control issues were linked to scratching found out of the box on some iPhone 5 units, but it’s unclear how much these setbacks have contributed to iPhone 5 delays. Another unnamed executive speaking to The Wall Street Journal last month said the iPhone 5 is “the most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled. To make it light and thin, the design is very complicated.”

To speed up production of new iPhones, specifically the production of display components, Reuters suggested Apple could provide cash incentives to Sharp, one of its keep suppliers that was thought to have contributed to initial low supplies. Following rumors yesterday that Apple might even be considering making further investments in the failing company, Asymco’s Horace Dediu (via Fortune) speculated today that a $2.3 billion discrepancy in Apple’s 2012 financials might have already went to Sharp: Read more

Foxconn CEO Terry Gou: iPhone 5 will put Samsung’s Galaxy S III to shame

According to several local reports, Foxconn’s Terry Gou made some pretty bold statements at Hon Hai Precision’s annual meeting of shareholders on Monday. While there are a few translations, all seem to claim Gou urged customers to wait for the iPhone 5, “saying that the new model will put Samsung’s Galaxy III to shame.” A report from Focus Taiwan quoted China Times:

Gou said he has made it a lifetime goal to defeat Samsung — “a company with a track record of snitching on its competitors.”… He was referring to Samsung’s action in 2010 of snitching on four Taiwanese companies in an investigation by the European Commission on price-fixing in the flat panel industry…Samsung was exempted from the investigation by serving as a “tainted witness.” … Gou also urged consumers to wait for the launch of Apple’s iPhone 5, saying that the new model will put Samsung’s Galaxy III to shame.

Gou also apparently claimed that Foxconn’s Sakai plant “has an exclusive agreement with Corning Inc., an American manufacturer of glass, on large panel supply,” and his “competitors will not be able to secure any such material if they wished to.” We are going to wait to see if Foxconn issues a statement regarding these quotes, because we know a couple of stories in recent months misquoted Gou… Read more

Debunked: Apple is not acquiring Loewe, Foxconn CEO denies iTV rumors, Digitimes is ‘wrong most of the time’

Update May 16, 2012: German publication Handelsblatt (via Bloomberg) quoted Chief Executive Officer Oliver Seidl of German TV manufacturer Loewe as saying the company has had “no contact” with Apple regarding an acquisition.

Less than a month after posting a false claim about Apple’s CEO Tim Cook visiting the Valve HQ, ole’ Danny Dilger claimed this weekend that Apple is moving to acquire a German TV manufacturer called “Loewe.” Again, we did not run with the story, because we preferred to mock it instead via Twitter. Not only has that story been debunked, but more allegations about Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou having confirmed an Apple television are now being denied by the company. Oh, and Digitimes’ track record…

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Foxconn: We wish “Steve Jobs well”, expect Apple to “perform well in the future”

Interesting that Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn, issued a statement regarding Steve Jobs’ resignation from his CEO post at Apple. The Asian company wrote in a short email statement to Bloomberg:

Foxconn wishes Steve Jobs will get well. We think Tim Cook has shown good work as stand- in CEO during Jobs’s absences and expect Apple will perform well in the future. The relationship between Cook and Foxconn has been very close and we expect that the relationship will become even closer in future.

Asian companies are traditionally tight-lipped and shy away from commenting on their partners’ business dealings so it’s a bit surprising Foxconn would put out a statement, let alone touch on the subject of Steve Jobs well-being. On the other hand, Foxconn is Apple’s largest contract manufacturer and as such has been instrumental in  ramping up manufacturing to meet the growing demand for Apple’s gadgets around the globe. Read more

Foxconn will bring on 1 million robots in 3 years to replace workers

Foxconn’s founder and chariman Terry Gou said the company will replace an unspecified amount workers with one million robots in three years. Foxconn is the Asian manufacturer that is responsible for many components inside of Apple, Sony, and Nokia’s devices. Currently, the company has 10,000 robots and will expand to 300,000 next year, gradually opening the door to a total of one million robots in three years.

One interesting aspect of a robotized workforce is that it makes places with more expensive workers more competitive.

The robots will be used to accomplish basic tasks like spraying, wielding, and assembling. Foxconn currently employs 1.2 million people, therefore one million robots could potentially be a big hit on employment in China. Read more

WSJ: Thinner, lighter iPhone is expected this fall

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The WSJ reports on the next generation iPhone due this fall:

According to some suppliers of components to Apple, the new version of the iPhone is expected to be thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4 and sport an 8-megapixel camera. One person said the new iPhone will operate on Qualcomm Inc.’s wireless baseband chips. The current iPhone 4 uses memory chips made by Samsung Electronics Co. and baseband chips from German chip maker Infineon Technologies AG, according to a report by market-research firm iSuppli Corp.

Verizon execs have already said the next iPhone will be a GSM/CDMA world phone – which means it is likely that it will use Qualcomm’s Gobi chips (As the current Verizon iPhone and iPad currently do).  Numerous reports have also said it will contain a 8megapixel camera – from Sony and other manufacturers.

There is some question about whether or not these devices will meet production deadlines, however…

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Brazilian iPad production begins in late August or early September

Originally planned for late July, the Brazilian Minister of Science and Technology, Aloizio Mercadante told Globo that iPad production would being in Brazil later this Fall at Foxconn’s new plant outside of São Paulo. Roughly machine translated:

“The handle access to the company, which would be used to drain the production plant in Jundiaí (SP), was not ready in time, due to construction delays.In addition, there is a shortage of skilled labor in the country.The company has hired 175 engineers, who had to send them to China where they are doing stage.The company, however, need more than 200 engineers to the sector, “said the minister.

One reason for the additional factories? A 40% reduction in consumer costs, according to the post.  Not because the iPad is cheaper to make (though it could be) but the government won’t levy taxes on domestically produced products.

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