COVID-19 Stories November 30

The iPhone City lockdown has ended, allowing free movement of residents and workers in Zhengzhou, China. The move will help relieve pressures at the Foxconn plant after a massive production disruption that is estimated to have cost Apple around a billion dollars a week in lost iPhone sales.

The ending of COVID-19 restrictions in the city will allow Foxconn to exit the closed-loop production process, which has been a key factor in the plant’s recent troubles

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COVID-19 Stories November 24

Foxconn admits it made a “technical error” that resulted in newly recruited iPhone workers being paid less than they had been promised. The admission follows violent clashes between workers and police at the world’s largest iPhone plant in Zhengzhou, China.

The company has pledged to correct the error for those who stay, and has offered compensation to any new recruits who no longer want to work there …

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COVID-19 Stories November 23

Violent clashes between iPhone workers and police have been seen in video footage from Foxconn’s primary iPhone assembly plant in Zhengzhou, China. You can see the video clips below.

Workers say that promised bonuses (referred to in local reports as “subsidies”) have not been paid; that there is inadequate food and medical supplies for workers locked into the facility; and that the company is failing to properly separate infected and uninfected employees …

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COVID-19 Stories November 10

The COVID-19 disruption to iPhone 14 production at Foxconn’s primary assembly plant was bad enough for Apple to issue a warning about limited availability, and Foxconn has now issued a warning about the impact on its own prospects for the current quarter.

Foxconn says that revenue from consumer electronics assembly will fall in the all-important holiday quarter, which is usually a busy one for the company …

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COVID-19 Stories November 9

China’s COVID-19 outbreaks are getting worse rather than better, with another major manufacturing and export hub under lockdown.

Some 4 million people in Guangzhou have been told to stay home, in what government officials have described as the worst outbreak since the start of the pandemic

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COVID-19 Stories November 2

The Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou – colloquially known as iPhone City – is entering a week-long lockdown from today, following a growing COVID-19 outbreak within the facility.

Given that the plant was already operating closed-loop production, where workers live and work within the campus for up to a month at a time, it’s not immediately clear what form the iPhone City lockdown takes, but one report refers to it as a “seven-day closure” …

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COVID-19 Stories November 1

Foxconn has more than tripled iPhone worker bonuses as it fights to persuade them to remain working in extremely tough conditions amid a COVID-19 outbreak within its largest iPhone assembly plant.

For those who go further, and agree to forgo their leave this month, the bonus could amount to a 1,000% increase – from 1,500 yuan ($200) to 15,000 yuan ($2000) …

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COVID-19 Stories October 31

iPhone workers have reportedly been walking out in significant numbers after an outbreak of COVID-19 at the world’s largest iPhone assembly plant in Zhengzhou, China.

Some are worried about the risk of the infection, while others are unhappy about Foxconn’s stringent lockdown policies, which allow the plant to continue operations …

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COVID-19 Stories October 26

A reported Foxconn COVID-19 outbreak in Zhengzhou – known locally as iPhone City – has been confirmed by the company, with some impact on iPhone 14 production.

However, Apple’s primary iPhone assembler says that the number of cases is low, and iPhone 14 production remains “relatively stable.” Foxconn has introduced tough lockdown rules to minimize the spread …

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COVID-19 Stories September 8

The controversial Apple data center in Guiyang, China, has been hit by the latest citywide COVID-19 lockdown to be imposed by the government.

The data center is currently taking emergency measures, including closed-loop operation, in an attempt to keep the iCloud server online …

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COVID-19 Stories August 26

Twitter COVID-19 misinformation labeling has got the company more into trouble as it made literally dozens of embarrassing errors this week. It mistakenly applied the label to factually correct tweets from doctors and scientists, in some cases suspending their accounts.

Twitter has offered its apologies to those affected, and promised to review its procedures to prevent any repetition …

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COVID-19 Stories August 1

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple has enforced a masking mandate for its corporate employees and retail staff. Although this mandate has been revised multiple times since then, there are still some locations where Apple employees were required to wear a mask. Now the company is dropping the mask mandate “in most places” for corporate employees.

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COVID-19 Stories July 25

Full-on Foxconn COVID-19 precautions are back in effect, at the request of the city government in Shenzhen, China. The company has been asked to return to closed-loop production, where workers live in dormitory accommodation on the campus, and are prohibited from physical contact with anyone outside the factory complex – including family members.

While Foxconn is downplaying the measure, it is raising concerns about a repetition of Shanghai-style lockdowns that could create extremely difficult conditions for workers and other residents, as well as significantly disrupting production …

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COVID-19 Stories June 3

App-assisted molecular COVID-19 test combines PCR accuracy with lateral flow convenience

Who could have imagined five years ago that we’d all be swabbing our throats and noses at home to find out whether we have become the latest pandemic victim? But that’s life now, and while everyone knows about lateral flow and PCR tests, few know about the third option available: molecular COVID-19 tests …

COVID-19 Stories June 1

The Shanghai COVID-19 lockdowns have caused massive disruption to Apple’s supply chain in China, and the company has reportedly responded by moving some iPad production to Vietnam – the first time it has ever done so.

Apple suppliers have also been asked to stockpile components in readiness for any further supply chain disruption, which is causing concern for some …

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COVID-19 Stories May 26

Millions of children who used remote learning apps during the pandemic have had their personal data – and even behavioral information – shared with advertisers, says a new report.

This includes apps which students were required to use by their schools, says Human Rights Watch …

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Apple’s iPhone production plans for 2022 are said to be around 220 million units – some 20M lower than the consensus estimates of analysts. It would also represent zero growth on 2021.

The Cupertino company is facing a perfect storm of obstacles in the run-up to the launch of this year’s iPhone lineup …

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COVID-19 Stories May 25

iPhone 14 availability is at risk in the worst-case scenario, says a new report today, as preparatory work for production has fallen behind schedule.

Apple and its suppliers are said to be working hard to make up for lost time, but this is proving “challenging” given COVID-19 shutdowns in China

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COVID-19 Stories May 9

More details have emerged following eye-opening video footage of MacBook Pro workers breaking through barriers and fighting with guards at a Quanta plant in Shanghai.

While frustration at highly-restrictive ‘closed-loop’ production practices was the key issue for workers, it appears that two other factors played a role …

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COVID-19 Stories May 6

Video footage (below) has been shared, showing hundred of MacBook Pro workers breaking through COVID barriers intended to keep them inside a Chinese plant. Some can be seen fighting with guards dressed in white protective coveralls.

The plant, owned by Quanta Computer, is operating under strict lockdown conditions which go even further than the “closed-loop” production system used at many facilities making Apple products …

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COVID-19 Stories April 20

Analysis has shown that a full half of the top 200 Apple suppliers are located within areas of China at risk from COVID-19 lockdowns. These include not just high-profile companies responsible for final assembly of Apple products – Pegatron, Quanta, and Compal – but also critical component suppliers.

One top Chinese tech exec has warned that tech production in the area “will come to a complete halt” unless things change within the next 10 days …

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COVID-19 Stories April 19

The world’s biggest iPhone assembly plant – nicknamed iPhone City – has escaped COVID-19 shutdowns, as three other key Apple suppliers in China were last week forced to halt production.

Foxconn managers say that production is “proceeding well,” with 200,000 workers at work in the facility …

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COVID-19 Stories April 15

Apple’s supply chain is being badly hit by COVID-19 lockdowns in China, with the situation getting worse, say analysts. It follows Apple production being halted at three key suppliers, affecting iPhoneiPad, and Mac assembly. This has already seen shipping dates slip for build-to-order MacBook Pro models.

The worst-case scenario could see iPhone production falling behind by as many as 10 million units …

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COVID-19 Stories April 12

The latest COVID-19 lockdown measures in China have seen Apple production halted at three key Chinese suppliers. One of these in particular could significantly hit iPhone availability.

Assembly of iPhones, iPads, and Macs has been suspended in the electronics production hubs of Shanghai and Kushan …

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