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 could cut Samsung from its list of part suppliers, an arrangement that is worth as much as $5 billion for Samsung, one analyst has suggested. “They have become more competitors and less partners and so I think Apple will definitely not be looking to Samsung as its go-to partner-of-choice for NAND flash,” Brian Marshall, a Gleacher & Co. analyst told The Globe and Mail. Apple could instead choose to get its NAND flash products from other companies, such as Hynix Semiconductor, Micron, and Toshiba. Similarly, if Apple were to bail on Samsung as a parts provider, the iPhone maker could look to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (TSMC) or Intel for processors, but it would also need to find another provider for LCDs. Samsung and Apple have been locked in multiple legal battles since Apple accused Samsung of creating “copycat” devices and sought to block the import of its products in the United States. More →
DigiTimes adds fuel to the fire Monday morning with a report that Apple is looking to add a second manufacturing partner for its popular iPad line of tablets in order to help meet demand when the company launches a new iPad model this fall. The report adds that either iPhone maker Pegatron Technology or Quanta Computer will likely gain the contract to build iPads alongside Foxconn. While the report refers to an “iPad 3” that will launch later this year, it has become increasingly likely that the new model rumored to launch in September will be a complimentary iPad variant as opposed to a new model. Dubbed the “iPad 2 Plus” or “iPad HD” by analysts and the media, the high-end iPad is said to feature specs similar to the current iPad 2 but with a double-resolution display, among other things. According to DigiTimes’ report, the new iPad model will launch either late in the third quater or early in the fourth quarter, with third-quarter shipments expected to ramp up to 13 million units. More →
Taiwan-based component suppliers are beginning to prepare materials that will be assembled to build Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5 and iPad 3 devices, DigiTimes reports. The report goes on to state that Apple will unveil its fifth-generation smartphone and third-generation tablet in September ahead of launches in October. Details on the devices were scarce in the report, though it was mentioned that Apple’s next iPad may be even thinner and lighter than the current iPad 2 model, and it may also include a 250dpi display. DigiTimes cites anonymous industry sources in claiming that Apple intends to begin low-volume production of the iPhone 5 in August, and production will then ramp up in September. IPhone supply volume is expected to total 24-25 million units in the third quarter, 6-7 million of which will be the new iPhone 5 model. Total iPhone volume for 2011 is expected to reach 85 million, and DigiTimes says iPad volume may break the 40 million-unit mark. More →
Is the image above the DROID 3? An OEM parts retailer named Global Redirects Parts seems to think so, but it also refers to the device as “Targa.” As we understand it, “Targa” is actually the name for Motorola’s DROID Bionic, due out later this summer, so it’s unclear if this is just a snafu on the retailer’s part. Still, the image does appear to be on a par with other DROID 3 leaked photos we’ve seen. There’s little we can tell from the image other than that the device has a front-facing camera on the top right of the phone, and that it seems to have a slightly larger screen than the DROID and DROID 2. Neither Motorola nor Verizon Wireless have confirmed the existence of this phone, so the DROID 3 remains pure speculation for now. Hit the jump for a few more images. More →
According to an unconfirmed report originating in the Korea Economic Daily newspaper, Apple will become Samsung’s largest customer in 2011. Citing anonymous industry sources, the report states that Apple is poised to spend $7.8 billion on parts from Samsung, which is one of the largest component suppliers in the world. Apple is known to have parts contracts in place with Samsung, but this staggering sum would make the Cupertino-based company Samsung’s single largest customer this year. The report states that liquid crystal displays, mobile application processors and NAND flash memory chips are among the parts Samsung has been contracted to supply for Apple. Apple and Samsung are also rivals in the mobile space, of course, with Apple’s iPhone and iPad competing directly with Samsung’s mobile phone and tablet lines. More →
A firm named GlobalDirectParts has put together a fairly extensive, five-plus minute video showcasing what they claim to be parts from Apple’s next generation iPhone (referred to as the iPhone 5 in the video). We get a crystal clear look at the charging-port flex-cable and outer aluminum skeleton of the device. There are several key differences between the iPhone 4 parts and the new parts we are being shown — displayed side by side in the video — including the absence of several of the black, plastic strips on the casing. This new iPhone shell still has a micro-SIM card slot, which could mean several things: it belongs to a global CDMA iPhone, it is a slight retooling of the current GSM iPhone 4 (iPhone 4GS anyone?), or… it’s just a fake (that’s still an option too). At the beginning of the video, around 0:23, the company appears to have a fully assembled version of the device and leaves us with the following taunt: “more coming next week.” While this video is from an unverified entity, it looks legitimate enough to warrant mention. Hit the break to have a peek and make sure to weigh in with your comments.
UPDATE: It looks like this is indeed the real deal — the video has been removed from YouTube, likely at Apple’s request.
Thanks, Johnny! More →
A new report Tuesday morning suggests Apple has notified Foxconn, its next-generation iPad manufacturer, that initial shipments will commence in the next 100 days. The unconfirmed report originates from China’s industry watchdog, DigiTimes, and suggests that initial shipments will be in the 400,000 to 600,000 range. Those numbers seem quite low for the sequel to a device that is selling as well the iPad — Apple sold 300,000 iPads on its first day of availability and it reached the 1 million mark in 28 days. The company is currently selling over 1 million units each month. If DigiTimes’ report is accurate, we could see a large second shipment shortly after the first one, with Foxconn’s new plants in Chengdu possibly ramping up volume following the initial production runs in Shenzhen. Apple’s iPad 2 is expected to feature a thinner case, a Retina Display, a gyroscope and FaceTime support. More →
Rumors that Apple’s next-generation iPad will include at least one camera gain purchase Tuesday morning as a new report suggests Apple has named its camera lens supplier for its upcoming tablet. Citing market rumors instigated by a public filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange, DigiTimes reports that Largan Precision has been awarded a contract that will make it the sole supplier of lens modules for the second-generation iPad. Largan also supplies 5-megapixel cameras for Apple’s iPhone 4. The inclusion of a front-facing camera for FaceTime video chat is almost a given at this point, and the iPad will also reportedly include a rear-facing camera — possibly the same 5-megapixel optics currently found in the iPhone 4. Following the trail of unsubstantiated reports out of Taiwan, Largan joins Ibiden, Tripod Technology and TTM Technologies as PCD suppliers for Apple’s upcoming iPad sequel. The second-generation iPad is expected to begin shipping in the first quarter of 2011. More →
According to hit or miss trade publication DIGITIMES, Apple has chosen several parts suppliers for its upcoming iPad 2. The report states that Japan-based Ibiden, Taiwan-based Tripod Technology and U.S. / China-based TTM Technologies have been named as three initial PCB suppliers for Apple’s second-generation iPad. Four more suppliers will be added some time in February, the unconfirmed report adds, when shipments are set to ramp up. DIGITIMES states that the iPad 2 will be released in the first quarter of 2011, as expected. More →
Well, well, well. We finally got our white iPhone 4 fully working, and wanted to update our previous story, but we also figured some high resolution shots of the phone would be pretty tantalizing as well. After being sent a white front and back assembly from our ninjas at cnn.cn, we transplanted the stock black iPhone 4 with the newly received parts. We had some difficulty with the first front white LCD assembly we got, however, so we had to wait for a second one. The second fared better, though it still didn’t work properly — the proximity sensor wouldn’t work at all! We finally gave up until someone suggested we remove a bit of metallic foil covering the proximity sensor holes on the front of the device, and lo and behold, this fixed our issues. We’re now running a 95% stock white iPhone 4. Things we didn’t bother changing include the dock connector on the bottom of the device and the internal headset jack piece (both come in a light gray from Apple).
The gang over at iFixit have done the honors of tearing the Nokia N8 to pieces… right down to the screws. There aren’t too many surprises found inside the device, and iFixit gave the handset an 8 out of 10 on their fixability scale (10 being the easiest); they also note the “creative” placement of the antennas and beefy Xenon flash. The only thing that stuck out to us was the fact that the battery — which is not user accessible — appears to be Nokia’s standard smartphone battery
trapped slid inside the device’s housing (iFixit notes how easy it would be for a consumer to replace their own battery). Hit the read link to have a peek for yourself. More →
While it seems Apple isn’t able to manufacture enough of the white iPhone 4 model, white iPhone 4 parts have started to become available. In fact, you’ll actually remember that there were white parts before the phone was even announced. Recently, however, the white iPhone 4 front and rear case pieces have been harder and harder to come by giving credibility that there actually is some sort of manufacturing problem Apple needs to overcome with the white variant. We hit up our friends at CNN.cn, and they have come through for us, but in our first go-around, we witnessed first hand one possible issue Apple might be facing with the front white display assembly. In our second go-around, we realized even more manufacturing/production problems.
After disassembling our black iPhone 4 oh-so-carefully, and then putting everything back together with the new white front LCD and powering it up, we noticed something… odd. The LCD itself looked fine (beautiful as ever) but the screen was kind of transparent. Not transparent like you could see the phone’s internal components through the display, but there wasn’t a proper backing it seemed. Yet when we disassembled the phone again to switch back to the black display, we compared both and they looked identical.
Round 2… After CNN.cn sent us another white LCD to try, we noticed a couple things. First off, those whispers of Apple not being happy with the exact color or tint of white are probably true. There’s a noticeable difference between the actual white glass LCD front and the white plastic home button. Second, the white LCD front display is a tad thicker (the glass it seems), and when the phone was assembled, this made the home button feel very out of place. It didn’t feel right because it was sunk in a little bit. Lastly, the proximity sensor didn’t work at all. We’ll be trying Round 3 pretty soon when our package from China arrives.
We’re not sure what’s going on with the white models, but once we have a fully working white unit, we’ll care a little less. Unfortunately I didn’t take photos of the fully assembled white unit, but will do so when it’s up and running.
Thanks to Richard Lai for the emotional support!