An inside look at how iPads are made [video]

By on April 12, 2012 at 9:30 AM.

An inside look at how iPads are made [video]

Apple’s iPad and the conditions under which it is built are topics that surface regularly on technology blogs and in the mainstream media. While the company did recently initiate a review by the Fair Labor Association, human rights organizations regularly take Apple to task for not doing more to ensure factory workers employed by its China-based manufacturing partner Foxconn are treated well. Foxconn and parent company Hon Hai employs hundreds of thousands of workers, however, and hundreds more travel from around the country each day to line up and apply for jobs at Foxconn’s various plants. Marketplace Shanghai bureau chief Rob Schmitz was recently given a rare opportunity at operations within Foxconn’s Shenzhen iPad factory, and his crew was permitted to film a number of active stations on the iPad assembly line that have never been seen before. The result is an inside look at some of the fascinating technology that goes into building the world’s most popular tablet. Marketplace’s video follows below. More →

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New Apple CEO goes where Steve Jobs would not

By on March 29, 2012 at 9:10 AM.

New Apple CEO goes where Steve Jobs would not

Steve Jobs took particular care to ensure the company he created continued to operate at the high levels he demanded after he left. Thanks to the processes he put in place, the procedures he pined over and the products he helped mastermind, Apple’s last quarter was the biggest ever among technology companies, and Apple is currently the most valuable company in the world. But current Apple CEO Tim Cook has brought change to the company he now runs, and how that will affect Apple in the long term remains to be seen. As Cook continues to separate himself from his predecessor in a number of ways, the executive visited China recently to put himself on the front lines of Foxconn’s new iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, China, which will employ 120,000 people according to Bloomberg. Foxconn’s facilities recently underwent an Apple-prompted series of inspections by the Fair Labor Association, which is expected to release a report on its findings soon. Another image of Cook at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou factory follows below. More →

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ABC looks inside Foxconn during ‘a trip to the iFactory’ [video]

By on February 20, 2012 at 10:00 AM.

ABC looks inside Foxconn during ‘a trip to the iFactory’ [video]

ABC recently became the latest news organization to be given a look inside consumer electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn’s facilities in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China, and the Nightline special that resulted from the trip will air on Tuesday. In the meantime, ABC News has posted a 90-second teaser video containing footage from reporter Bill Weir’s trip to China. Apple, of course, is the only Foxconn partner mentioned in the preview so we can expect the forthcoming report to focus on the Cupertino-based company’s wares, but the teaser promises a never-before-seen look at Foxconn’s facilities so it could be an eye-opening segment. Foxconn and its premier partner Apple have once again taken center stage in a human rights debate that recently saw protesters deliver a petition to Apple’s Grand Central Terminal store demanding the technology giant play a more active role in improving working conditions in the Chinese factories that assemble its hardware. ABC’s teaser video follows after the break. More →

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Nokia to shed 4,000 jobs as manufacturing shifts to Asia

By on February 8, 2012 at 8:30 AM.

Nokia to shed 4,000 jobs as manufacturing shifts to Asia

Nokia plans to eliminate 4,000 jobs as part of a major cost-cutting effort that will see much of its manufacturing shift to Asia. The cuts will be made across three Nokia plants — 2,300 workers will be shed in Komarom, Hungary, 700 will lose their jobs in Reynosa, Mexico and 1,000 more in Salo, Finland will be laid off. Each of the three plants will continue to operate at reduced capacities, and the move is part of a larger effort to cut costs following the €1 billion loss Nokia reported last quarter. “Shifting device assembly to Asia is targeted at improving our time to market. By working more closely with our suppliers, we believe that we will be able to introduce innovations into the market more quickly and ultimately be more competitive,” Nokia EVP of Markets Niklas Savander said in a statement. “We recognize the planned changes are difficult for our employees and we are committed to supporting our personnel and their local communities during the transition.” Nokia’s full press release follows below. More →

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Texas Instruments to close plants in Texas and Japan

By on January 25, 2012 at 12:15 AM.

Texas Instruments to close plants in Texas and Japan

Texas Instruments announced recently that, even though it reported better than expected chip sales during the fourth quarter of 2011, the company will shut down its plants in Texas and in Japan. Texas Instruments has seen an increased demand for its mobile chips but will close the two factories during the next 18 months while increasing its employee numbers at different plants. The move is an effort to cut costs, Reuters said. The company reported a fourth-quarter profit of $298 million, down from $942 million during the same quarter last year. Revenue also fell from $3.53 billion last year to $3.42 billion during the fourth quarter. “Everybody feared we’d end the holiday season with abysmal sales,” Cody Acree, an analyst with Williams Financial, told Reuters. “The reality is that end-demand is better than TI customers had originally feared. We’re not calling for great growth but we’re not heading into the abyss.” More →

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