updated 12:48 pm EST, Wed November 6, 2013
Foxconn, Apple said to be at loggerheads
Apple is planning to add two Taiwanese firms, Wistron and Compal, to its list of manufacturing partners, says the Wall Street Journal. The company currently depends mostly on Foxconn and Pegatron. Wistron is expected to take on iPhone 5c production, whereas Compal will help build the iPad mini. Foxconn will reportedly continue to focus on the iPhone 5s, though it's known to handle a range of Apple products.
The Journal claims that the relationship between Apple and Foxconn has been strained in recent times, mainly by issues like responsibility for defects, Foxconn's hesitance to devote more production to Apple orders, and continuing problems with worker rights abuses. Foxconn is heavily dependent on Apple; about 40 percent of its annual revenue stems from Apple orders. An executive for the manufacturer says that chairman Terry Gou "is not willing to cut contract prices substantially to get more orders from Apple," and adds that the company is "aware of the risk of building gigantic production capacity for a single customer so it is adopting a more cautious stance on expanding production."
Compal's help could improve supplies of the second-generation iPad mini, which is expected to be in short supply until 2014. The company has yet to set an official release date beyond "November," which along with word from various sources has led to worries that the tablet may be hard to find in its first few weeks. The iPad Air, by contrast, is readily available at many Apple Stores.