updated 11:40 am EDT, Mon October 17, 2011
Shipments will 'inevitably be affected'
Metal casing supplier Catcher Technology has partially shutdown a plant in eastern China, following environmental complaints made to the local government by area residents, says the Wall Street Journal. Catcher elaborates that the complaints revolved around a "strange odor" coming from the complex. The facility primarily supplies casing for the MacBook Air, as well as some smartphones.
"Shipments to our customers will inevitably be affected. We already asked them to make adjustments to their (casings) procurement," Catcher president Allen Horng stated at a press conference. He adds that he's not sure when the plant will resume normal work, and that Catcher's overall shipments should drop 20 percent in October and by as much as 40 percent in November, depending on how long the plant remains only partially functional. Local government must first inspect the facility before it can be given a green light.
The incident should prove at least a minor blow to Apple. The MacBook Air has proven especially popular since a 2010 overhaul, to the extent that Apple has discontinued the plastic MacBook model that once served as its' baseline notebook. Like that system, the Air starts at $999.
The complaints may also reinforce allegations that Apple uses known polluters as suppliers. Apple has been resistant to address or even acknowledge the problem; the company has even refused to share the names of suppliers, despite many of them being well-known to analysts, NGOs and the media. Over 20 Apple suppliers are thought to be guilty of breaking environmental laws in recent years.