Fair Labor Association: Foxconn’s plant conditions are better than most

By on February 15, 2012 at 12:10 PM.

Fair Labor Association: Foxconn’s plant conditions are better than most

On Monday, Apple announced that the Fair Labor Association would be conducting audits of facilities managed by its Chinese suppliers. Foxconn Technology Group, whose factories manufacture the iPad, has come under fire after a rash of worker suicides, fatal explosions and allegations of poor working conditions. Working conditions at Foxconn, however, were found to be far better than other facilities throughout the country, reported Reuters. “The facilities are first-class; the physical conditions are way, way above average of the norm,” said FLA president Auret van Heerden. “I was very surprised when I walked onto the floor at Foxconn, how tranquil it is compared with a garment factory. So the problems are not the intensity and burnout and pressure-cooker environment you have in a garment factory. It’s more a function of monotony, of boredom, of alienation perhaps.” Roughly 30 FLA staff members will be visiting two Foxconn factories in southern China and one in the central city of Chengdu. Over the course of three weeks, the FLA will conduct anonymous interviews with 35,000 workers who will be questioned about pay, living conditions, emotional condition and management. In addition to Foxconn, the FLA will investigate facilities belonging to Quanta Computer, Pegatron and Wintek. More →

1 Comment

Fair Labor Association to investigate Apple’s suppliers

By on February 13, 2012 at 9:15 AM.

Fair Labor Association to investigate Apple’s suppliers

Apple on Monday announced that the Fair Labor Association will be conducting audits of its suppliers, and the investigation will include Foxconn’s factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China. The inspections, which are being conducted at Apple’s request, are being led by FLA president Auret van Heerdenbegan. “We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook. “The inspections now underway are unprecedented in the electronics industry, both in scale and scope, and we appreciate the FLA agreeing to take the unusual step of identifying the factories in their reports.” The FLA team will interview thousands of employees on matters such as living conditions, health, safety, compensation, working hours and communication with management. The team will also inspect manufacturing areas, dormitories and other areas of the companies’ various facilities. Apple’s suppliers have apparently offered full cooperation with the FLA, and have granted the group unrestricted access to their operations and facilities. The FLA’s findings and recommendations will be posted on the group’s website in early March. Read on for Apple’s press release. More →

No Comments

Apple reveals list of parts suppliers for first time ever

By on January 13, 2012 at 2:10 PM.

Apple reveals list of parts suppliers for first time ever

Apple, a company known for its secrecy, has released a list of its official suppliers for the first time ever. Due to backlash from human rights groups, Apple created a supplier responsibility page on the company’s website. Previously, the page only featured labor and human rights, worker health and safety, environmental impact, and general ethics information. The company has updated the page, however, and it now now includes a list of more than 150 different companies that supply parts for Apple products. The move is part of Apple’s effort to address ongoing concerns surrounding the wages and working conditions in factories belonging to its suppliers. “Apple prohibits practices that threaten the rights of workers — even when local laws and customs permit such practices,” Apple said on its site. “We’ve taken action toward ending excessive recruitment fees, preventing the hiring of underage workers, and prohibiting discriminatory policies at our suppliers. And as the first technology company to be admitted to the Fair Labor Association, Apple is setting a new standard in transparency and oversight.”

More →

No Comments

iPad 3 displays reportedly shipping in volume, but what about Apple’s iPad mini?

By on November 18, 2011 at 11:30 AM.

iPad 3 displays reportedly shipping in volume, but what about Apple’s iPad mini?

Apple’s LCD display panel suppliers are already shipping panels for Apple’s next-generation “iPad 3″ by the millions according to a new report. Citing unnamed industry sources, DigiTimes on Friday reported that Samsung Electronics, LG Display and Sharp shipped a total of one million high-resolution displays for Apple’s next-generation iPad, which will enter production in January. Volume in November is expected to ramp to up more than 2 million units, the report said, and touch module suppliers TPK Holding and Wintek are expected to begin shipping components this month. According to DigiTimes, the touch modules to be used in Apple’s upcoming iPad 2 successor are comparable to the modules in Apple’s current iPad. Read on for more. More →

No Comments

Apple reportedly slashes Q4 iPhone 4S orders on weaker than expected demand

By on November 9, 2011 at 11:01 AM.

Apple reportedly slashes Q4 iPhone 4S orders on weaker than expected demand

Apple sold more than 4 million iPhone 4S handsets in the smartphone’s first weekend of availability but according to a new report, Apple thinks demand for its latest phone will stall in the fourth quarter. DigiTimes on Wednesday reported that Apple has cut fourth-quarter iPhone 4S parts orders with its suppliers. The report’s anonymous sources claim that some amount of production volume has been moved from the fourth quarter this year to the first quarter in 2012 due to weaker than expected demand and short supply of some key components. Read on for more. More →

No Comments

Details on new battery suggest thinner, lighter iPad 3 design

By on September 6, 2011 at 2:30 PM.

Details on new battery suggest thinner, lighter iPad 3 design

Apple has secured Simplo Technology Co. and Dynapack International Technology Corp. to supply battery packs for the vendor’s upcoming iPad 3 tablet, Taiwan Economic News reported on Tuesday. According to the report, the new batteries will be thinner and lighter than the modules used in Apple’s current iPad 2 models, and Apple’s cost for the power packs will apparently jump by between 20% and 30% as a result. The report also states that Apple’s new iPad 3 batteries will feature a longer service life than the previous-generation packs used in the iPad 2. A thinner, lighter battery could mean Apple is conserving space for a new beefier Retina Display, or it could mean Apple is slimming down the iPad 3 case from the iPad 2’s already-svelte 0.34-inch-thick profile. Apple is expected to launch the iPad 3 early next year. More →

28 Comments

Apple contributing to Chinese pollution, environmentalists say

By on August 31, 2011 at 10:00 PM.

Apple contributing to Chinese pollution, environmentalists say

Five environmental organizations in China have issued a report accusing Apple of contributing to the country’s pollution by providing business to suppliers that have “public records of environmental violations,” the Financial Times reported on Wednesday. The environmentalists attempted to contact 29 different tech companies in an effort to coerce the firms into cleaning up their supply chains but said Apple was unresponsive. Apple is reportedly taking “advantage of the loopholes in developing countries’ environmental management systems” to create its products. Factories for Kaedar Electronics and Unimicron Electronics are being blamed for increased cancer rates and pollution in the Chinese city of Kunshan. In addition, increased air pollution has forced parents to send their children to schools outside the city. Read on for more. More →

41 Comments

HP's exit from webOS devices left suppliers with piles of TouchPad parts

By on August 30, 2011 at 2:01 PM.

HP's exit from webOS devices left suppliers with piles of TouchPad parts

Hewlett-Packard’s component suppliers are none too happy right now according to a report from DigiTimes. Following the company’s decision to discontinue all webOS device efforts, which ostensibly kills off the platform itself, HP’s component suppliers in the East are now sitting on a pile of TouchPad parts that had reportedly been on order for the company’s second webOS tablet, the 7-inch HP TouchPad Go. Citing anonymous sources from HP’s supply chain, DigiTimes says there are apparently enough parts in inventory across HP’s various suppliers to assemble 100,000 7-inch TouchPads, which were originally set to go into production later this quarter. Of course DigiTimes does say that HP is currently negotiating with its suppliers to determine an appropriate solution, and it is beyond unlikely that the company would leave its partners sitting on a mountain of parts; whether or not HP spins off its PC business, it will need to continue working with these companies in some capacity moving forward. HP confirmed when it buried the TouchPad that clearing out unsold stock will cost the company more than $100 million. Add to that the R&D costs and inevitable expense from these unused TouchPad Go parts, and this is turning out to be quite an expensive mistake for the Palo Alto-based tech giant. More →

18 Comments

Apple may launch cheaper iPad 3 this year according to report

By on July 26, 2011 at 10:00 PM.

Apple may launch cheaper iPad 3 this year according to 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 →

46 Comments

iPhone 5, iPad 3 parts suppliers get ready for lift-off

By on July 1, 2011 at 11:15 AM.

iPhone 5, iPad 3 parts suppliers get ready for lift-off

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 →

77 Comments

Apple suppliers cut iPhone 4 production ahead of iPhone 5 launch

By on June 21, 2011 at 8:30 AM.

Apple suppliers cut iPhone 4 production ahead of iPhone 5 launch

Printed circuit board (PCB) suppliers in Taiwan have noticed “disappointing orders” for iPhone and iPad hardware, according to DigiTimes. As a result, the suppliers have cut quotes by 10% on average for the second quarter, noting that there’s no sign of a rebound. The drop in iPhone hardware orders suggests that Apple’s highly anticipated next-generation iPhone is imminent; it’s largely expected that the company will take the wraps off of the device in September. The PCB suppliers that are cutting hardware sales expectations include Compeq Manufacturing, Nan Ya PCB, Tripod Technology and Unimicron Technology. More →

54 Comments

iPhone 5 release timing rumors are baseless, suppliers say

By on April 13, 2011 at 9:40 AM.

iPhone 5 release timing rumors are baseless, suppliers say

According to Apple’s touch panel makers, the company has not yet made any information available to manufacturing partners with regard to the next-generation iPhone’s production timeline. This new report from DigiTimes contradicts several earlier reports claiming the iPhone 5 will launch in September. In addition, however, it further supports the notion that Apple may alter its current annual release schedule, which has seen the company launch a new iPhone model each summer since the first iPhone was unveiled in 2007. Key component suppliers would likely already have received orders if Apple intended to launch the iPhone 5 in late June or early July. Instead, manufacturers continue to receive orders for the iPhone 4 according to the report. Some speculate that unresolved component and design issues may delay the release of the iPhone 5, while others believe Apple may make minor revisions to the current iPhone 4 model in the coming months and push back the release of a new device. DigiTimes also claims Apple may also be working on a new entry-level iPhone, which is a rumor that has been reported several times over the past few years. More →

26 Comments

SEC investigates legality of ‘channel checks’

By on November 24, 2010 at 9:22 AM.

SEC investigates legality of ‘channel checks’

Some analysts could soon find themselves in hot water as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an investigation into the legality of “channel checks.” Channel checks refer to the practice whereby analysts contact inside sources at manufacturing companies in order to glean inside information. This information often has a tendency to move the market, of course, but the SEC is now trying to determine whether or not the practice should be legal. “Insider trading basically comes down to where you know or ought to know that the person from whom you’re getting this information has a duty to someone else to keep it confidential,” former SEC commissioner Paul Atkins told The Wall Street Journal. “If you go in and pay the mail clerk to give you special information, that’s not proper.” Beyond just the analysts involved, the SEC is also investigating “expert networks,” which get paid to connect investors with inside sources. More →

6 Comments