Trial production of Apple’s next-generation A6 mobile processor has begun, Taiwan Economic News reports. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. has kicked off a test run of A6 chipsets — which could be 28-nanometer SoCs that feature dual or quad-cores and ARM-based architecture according to earlier reports — and Apple devices carrying the new chips are expected to be released in the second quarter next year at the earliest, according to multiple anonymous industry sources. Reports dating back to June suggested that Apple dumped Samsung following multiple patent disputes, and the company would instead utilize TSMC for production of its next-generation A6 processor. This new Taiwan Economic News report contradicts earlier rumors, however, which claimed that TSMC had begun its trial run of A6 chips last month. This could be a new test run, or earlier reports could have been misguided, of course. Taiwan-based TSMC is the world’s largest contract microchip manufacturer. More →
Apple plans to hold this year’s “iPod media event” on September 7th, Japanese-language news site Kodawarisan reported on Friday. The company’s September event has historically been dedicated to the iPod line, with Apple having unveiled its latest iPod touch, iPod shuffle and iPod nano models at last year’s event. With a new iPhone model due to be released in September or October, however, it seems very likely that Apple will use its annual September media event to unveil the iPhone 5 rather than just refreshed iPods. The spotlight has moved off of Apple’s iPod lineup over the past few years — Apple even removed its “iPod” branding from the Music app in iOS 5 — so it seems highly unlikely that the company’s line of media players will continue to warrant a dedicated event. Apple is also expected to launch the new iPad 3 in the near future, though a recent round of rumors suggest that might not happen until late November or even early 2012. More →
Apple is expected by many to break from its typical cycle of releasing new mobile device models annually when it launches the iPad 3 ahead of the holiday season this year. The new iPad model will supposedly feature a high-resolution Retina Display, and earlier reports suggested that the new tablet would be an “iPad Pro” model that would compliment the iPad 2 rather than replacing it. A new report from Taiwan Economic News claims that Apple’s third-generation iPad could launch at the iPad 2′s current price points, however, and Apple will then discount the iPad 2 in order to clear inventory. Apple’s original iPad models were discounted by $100 each — and by as much as $300 by third-party retailers — following the launch of the iPad 2, and Taiwan Economic News cites anonymous industry executives in claiming that Apple may use a similar formula to clear iPad 2 inventory once the next-generation tablet launches. The report also notes that Apple’s iPad 3 will launch “by this Thanksgiving or next year.” More →
Pegatron has been awarded a new contract to build Apple’s next-generation iPad tablets, Taiwan Economic News reports. According to the report, Pegatron underbid Hon Hai for a new contract to manufacture the iPad 3, which will become available some time near the Thanksgiving holiday according to an earlier report. Hon Hai, owner of infamous Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn, manufactures Apple’s current-generation iPad 2 tablet along with a number of other Apple products. Pegatron is seemingly working hard to increase its production share of Apple devices, however; the Taiwan-based manufacturer reportedly also won an order from Apple to manufacture a total of 15 million iPhone 5 handsets. While Apple is shaking up its manufacturing partners according to the report, it will reportedly retain the majority of its component suppliers including TPK Holdings (touch panels), Simplo Technology and Dynapack International Technology (batteries), Largan Precision (camera lenses) and Foxconn Technology (outer casings).
Updated to reflect changes in source report.
Apple has inked deals with numerous additional parts suppliers for its upcoming iPad refresh according to a new report from DigiTimes, further supporting the notion that the tech giant plans to unveil a new version of its market-leading tablet later this year. Citing industry sources, the report claims Taiwan-based component manufacturers including Novatek Microelectronics, Richtek Technology, Capella Microsystems and Integrated Memory Logic have been awarded contracts to supply integrated circuits for the iPad 3. Contrary to previous speculation that Apple’s next iPad would be a high-end “Pro” model, DigiTimes states that Apple is seeking to utilize lower cost parts from Taiwanese suppliers in order to “compete with an array of tablet PCs to be launched by rivals in the second half of 2011.” A more likely scenario, however, is that Apple may simply be looking to offset the added expense of the upcoming iPad’s Retina Display with cheaper circuits. Such a move could allow the Cupertino-based company to launch its next-generation iPad at the iPad 2′s current price points. Apple is expected to unveil its new iPad this fall alongside the iPhone 5. More →
Apple is recruiting additional staff at U.S. Apple Store locations ahead of the launch of its highly anticipated fifth-generation iPhone. MacRumors reports that Apple is contacting former employees and asking them to come back as part time workers from August 15th through September 15th. In emails reportedly sent from Apple to the former retail staff, Apple says it is looking for part time employees to assist with the “holidays, new product launches and back to school time.” Apple is all but confirmed to be launching the iPhone 5 some time between late August and mid-September. The fifth-generation Apple smartphone is expected to include a faster dual-core processor, more storage space and an 8-megapixel camera, and it might feature a redesigned case as well. Apple may also launch new iPod touch models and a new iPad with a Retina Display at the same time, though it will likely be a complimentary “iPad Pro” model as opposed to a new iPad 3 if it does in fact launch this fall. More →