A Texas electronics company has allegedly begun production on Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox gaming console, according to a report from IGN. Production of the Xbox 720 is reportedly underway at the Austin, Texas branch of Flextronics, the same electronics company responsible for manufacturing the Xbox 360 and the original Xbox. Despite these reports, however, Microsoft firmly stated that the next-generation Xbox will not debut at this year’s E3 gaming convention. The hardware currently being manufactured may instead be development kits for top-tier game developers that will get early access to Microsoft’s next-generation hardware in order to prepare new titles. The “Xbox 720” is rumored to be six times more powerful than the current Xbox. It has been reported that the console will be equipped with a GPU based on ATI’s Radeon HD 6670 and should offer support for 3D technology, 1080p HD output, multiple displays and DirectX 11. Microsoft may also be looking to use online downloads and swappable solid state cards rather than a traditional disc drive. More →
Apple has reportedly scheduled mass production of its new 15-inch MacBook Pro to begin in April, and production of a new 13.3-inch model will ramp up in June, according to a report from Digitimes. The site’s unnamed sources from Apple’s supply chain said that the Cupertino-based company has ordered a far greater number of 13.3-inch models than 15-inch laptops, and it is anticipating higher demand for the smaller device. The source also indicated that the 15-inch model’s monthly production capacity is expected to start with between 100,000 and 150,000 units and rise gradually. The Taiwanese publication has previously reported that Apple will launch an ultra-thin 15-inch MacBook laptop with Air-like features as early as the second quarter of 2012. More →
Following multiple reports claiming Apple was working with suppliers and manufacturing partners to develop a new 15-inch MacBook Air, it now looks as though the rumored slim 15-inch laptop is part of a redesigned MacBook line that will also include a 13-inch model. Citing unnamed sources within Apple’s supply chain, DigiTimes on Friday reported that new thinner MacBook Pro laptops have entered production and shipments could begin as soon as this month. Monthly yield is expected to initially fall between 100,000 and 150,000 units, but the site claims shipments will soon climb to 900,000 units. Details are scare beyond the thinner case, and no launch time frame was provided. An earlier report suggested Apple’s slimmer 15-inch notebook will launch in April. More →
Apple is reportedly planning to launch a smaller version of its popular iPad tablet that will enter production during the third quarter this year at the earliest. DigiTimes on Thursday reported that Apple’s scaled-down iPad is already being assembled by the company’s manufacturing partners. Samples are currently being delivered to Apple for verification and volume production is rumored to begin in the third quarter. The new tablet will feature a 7.85-inch display to compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet, and pricing is expected to fall in the $249 to $299 range according to DigiTimes’s sources. The site had previously reported that Apple’s “iPad mini,” as some have called it, could launch as soon as the third quarter of 2012. More →
Foxconn plans to build five additional factories in Brazil to produce liquid crystal displays for future Apple products. The plan was announced by the Secretary of Planning and Development for the State of São Paulo, Julio Semeghini, and reported by Brazilian news outlet, Folha. The five factories are in addition to the one already believed to producing iPads and iPhones, and each is reportedly set to employ roughly 1,000 workers. In addition to building Apple products, the factories will also manufacture notebooks, batteries and general electronics products. Officials from both Foxconn and the Brazilian government are said to be meeting to finalize the agreement soon, which São Paulo and neighboring states are rallying for. “We are awaiting the return of the executives of the Chinese New Year celebrations for taking up the negotiations,” said Semeghini. More →
Apple has reportedly already started production of its next-generation iPad 3 tablet. Bloomberg broke the news on Twitter on Friday afternoon, though it did not immediately provide any further details. The iPad 3 is expected to feature a slightly thicker case, twice the battery life of the current iPad 2 model, and a 1,536 x 2,048-pixel HD display. The most recent rumors have suggested that Apple will release the new tablet in March.
UPDATE: Bloomberg flushed out its preliminary report, claiming that the iPad 3 will support 4G LTE. The site also claims to have confirmed that the new iPad will feature a new HD display and a faster quad-core processor, in line with numerous earlier reports. Factories are also said to be running 24 hours a day in an effort to create as much stock as possible before launch.
Barnes & Noble’s manufacturing partners have now shipped a total of 1 million new Nook Tablets according to a recent report. Unveiled early last month and released shortly thereafter, the new Nook Tablet features a 7-inch “Vivid View” display built by LG, 16GB of internal storage, 1GB of RAM, a dual-core 1GHz processor and the Android 2.3 operating system. According to sources at component suppliers speaking to DigiTimes, more than a million new Nook Tablets have been manufactured and shipped to Barnes & Noble to date. The report also claims Barnes & Noble had to increase orders recently due to strong sales — the bookseller initially ordered 800,000 Nook Tablets to be built through the end of 2011, DigiTimes noted. More →
Apple’s manufacturing partners are expected to build 2 million iPhone 3GS handsets in the fourth quarter. Thursday of this week marked exactly two and a half years since Apple unveiled the iPhone 3GS during its Worldwide Developer Conference in June 2009. Citing industry sources within Apple’s supply chain, DigiTimes on Friday reported that production of Apple’s iPhone 3GS has continued at high volumes that should hit 2 million units in the December quarter. In the first quarter of 2012, production of the iPhone 3GS will reportedly slow to between 1.4 million and 1.6 million units. The same report also suggests that production of Apple’s CDMA iPhone 4 could top 1 million units in the fourth quarter this year, slowing to between 500,000 and 600,000 units in the first quarter next year. In the United States, Apple’s iPhone 3GS is available for free on contract from AT&T while the CDMA iPhone 4 is sold by both Verizon Wireless and Sprint. More →
Sony and Hitachi are reportedly working with Apple on a 4-inch display for an iOS device presumed to be the next-generation iPhone set to launch next year. Citing unnamed sources within Apple’s Asian supply chain, Macotakara.jp reports that the two suppliers have teamed up to begin preliminary production of Apple’s new 4-inch iPhone displays. The two companies are also said to be working on a “fundamentally changed” display for Apple’s iPad 4. As Apple’s legal battles with Samsung continue, the Cupertino, California-based company has reportedly looked to a number of new parts suppliers as it distances itself from Samsung. Apple had been Samsung’s top parts customer, rumored to be spending approximately $7.8 billion on Samsung components in 2011 alone. Apple is said to have made a series of investments in display manufacturing plants owned by Sharp, which is expected to be partnering with Apple on its upcoming HDTV and may also supply Apple with displays for its upcoming iPad 3 tablet. More →
Apple’s competition is scrambling as it attempts to figure out exactly what the company has in store for the television industry next year, one analyst reports. In a recent note to clients, Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek writes that production of Apple’s debut television will begin in February at a Sharp plant in Japan. The HDTV will utilize Sharp display panels according to the analyst, and it will launch some time in mid-2012. Companies like Samsung are reportedly looking to Google TV as a potential draw for future sets, but first-generation devices powered by Android and Google’s TV product did not fare well. A report from last month suggested that the key ingredient in Apple’s HDTV will be Siri, allowing users to replace remotes and standard navigation with voice commands like “put on the Yankee game” or “turn to channel five.” Apple has not yet made any announcements regarding the rumored HDTV.
Following the successful launch of its first tablet last week, Amazon reportedly plans to launch a second model as soon as the second quarter next year. Fresh off an apparent miss — Asus went on record in denying an earlier report from the site on Friday — DigiTimes cites unnamed sources from within Amazon’s supply chain in claiming that the company’s next Kindle Fire tablet is scheduled to launch by the end of the second quarter 2012. The site reported earlier this month that Amazon’s 8.9-inch model would follow the 7-inch Kindle Fire, bumping the 10-inch quad-core “Hollywood” tablet BGR exclusively revealed into late 2012. DigiTimes also noted that Foxconn has been added as a second ODM for the current Kindle Fire, and it will join Quanta in mass-producing the 7-inch slate in the first quarter next year. More →
Production of Apple’s third-generation iPad is about to get underway according to Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Jeffrey Fidacaro. According to Fidacaro, Apple’s manufacturing partners have orders to build as many as 1 million iPad 3 tablets in the fourth quarter of this year, in line with an earlier note from the analyst’s colleague at Susquehanna, Christopher Caso. “Our checks indicate that iPad 3 has now shown up on AAPL’s production forecast for a late-4Q production start,” Caso wrote in a recent research note. “We believe 0.6 mln-1 mln units are forecasted for 4Q production.” Last week, Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White said that Apple will unveil a new entry-level “iPad mini” in the first quarter of 2012. The new tablet will not necessarily be an iPad with a smaller form factor, White’s checks found, but rather a lower price tag likely in the mid to high-$200 range. The analyst said Apple will then release a “feature rich standard-priced iPad 3” in the second quarter next year. More →
Claims that surfaced on Monday suggesting Apple had cut iPad 2 orders for the fourth quarter have reportedly been confirmed. JP Morgan analysts Mark Moskowitz and Gokul Hariharan wrote in a note to investors on Monday that Apple had reduced its fourth-quarter iPad 2 orders from 17 million to 13 million units, suggesting that demand for Apple’s market-leading iPad might finally be waning. Some speculated that a portion of iPad production may have moved to Foxconn’s new factory in Brazil while others suggested that the report was not accurate, and JP Morgan’s Moskowitz would later issue a second note backtracking on the firm’s earlier statements. But should he have been so quick to fold? Read on for more. More →