Existence of molds suggests Foxconn almost ready to go into production
(Updated with Nowhereelse mold photo) Photos posted to Chinese site Sina Weibo show what appear to be schematics and case molds for a next-generation iPhone. The schematics indicate a design roughly consistent with current iPhones, including touches like chamfered edges and thin bezels. It's difficult to determine size, but one obvious difference is the phone's depth, which is even thinner than the iPhone 5s.
Details include larger chassis, protruding lens section
New photos posted on Chinese site Weibo may show a test unit for the iPhone 6. The images are said to have been leaked from Apple's primary manufacturer, Foxconn, but no other details are available. They are however consistent with recent rumors calling for a thin, iPad mini-like chassis paired with a much larger display. A lens ring appears to protrude from the test unit's camera, much like the Nexus 5 and other phones that have advanced optics such as image stabilization.
Bulk of manufacturer's revenue tethered to Apple
Taiwan-based manufacturer Hon Hai -- better known as Foxconn -- saw its profits rise 13 percent last year to $3.5 billion, something attributed mainly to record iPhone and iPad sales, according to the Wall Street Journal. Foxconn is closely linked to Apple, deriving over 40 percent of its revenue from Apple orders. As such, any fluctuation in iPhone and iPad sales can dramatically affect its income.
Company specifically worried about Congo
Apple has published its eighth Supplier Responsibility report, based on data including 451 audits of its suppliers. The company claims a 95 percent compliance with the maximum 60-hour work week in its Supplier Code, a slightly improvement from 92 percent a year ago. Notably, Apple says it is now keeping a closer watch on where suppliers pull minerals from, in a bid to avoid "conflict" minerals -- minerals from regions where their sale may be used to fund ongoing wars. In particular, the Apple is focused on the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
May add to complexity of iPhone manufacturing
Foxconn recently finished assembling at least 100 prototype iPhones with sapphire-covered displays, says Taiwanese publication Apple Daily. The phones were built as part of a testing effort, and are said to have been assembled at a factory in the Longhua district of Shenzhen, China. Success has two-fold significance, because sapphire adds to the complexity of manufacturing, and it suggests that Apple will indeed use the material for future displays, replacing Corning's Gorilla Glass.
Dozen or more suspects taken into custody
At leas a dozen current and former senior managers at Foxconn have been arrested for accepting bribes from iPhone parts suppliers, according to Tencent. The scheme is alleged to have originated with the company's retired senior VP, Liao Wancheng (pictured). Suppliers were made to pay 2.5 percent of their sales in kickbacks, as well as additional bribes for each new order. The people receiving the cash are said to have reaped "hundreds of millions" in Taiwanese dollars.
Apple, China Mobile may be anticipating high demand
China Mobile has taken in a shipment of approximately 1.4 million iPhone 5s units from Foxconn, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. Mobile is set to launch its own iPhone sales on Friday, after years of losing sales to China Unicom and China Telecom. One Journal source comments that shipping over a million units to a single carrier in a month is "substantial," but at the same time notes that he/she has no information about demand beyond this month. Allegedly, Apple hasn't notified Foxconn about its goal for the next shipment.
Reports still conflicting on possible sizes
Later this year, Apple is planning to release iPhones with displays measuring 4.7 and 5.7 inches, according to Chinese site C Technology. The information is alleged to come from anonymous Foxconn executives. It's expected that both phones will come with biometric features, such as the Touch ID sensor already in the iPhone 5s.
Over half of BlackBerry loss stems from asset writedowns
BlackBerry has suffered a loss of $4.4 billion for the third quarter, worse than the $965 million lost in the previous quarter and the $114 million lost in Q3 2012, the company has revealed. At the same time as the tremendous loss, the company revealed it has signed a new five-year partnership with Foxconn to create new BlackBerry devices.
Excessive overtime remains unresolved
A report issued by the advocacy group Fair Labor Association has praised Foxconn for continuing to improve working conditions. An audit reportedly found that three of Foxconn's factories in Longhua, Chengdu and Guanlan, each tasked with assembling iPhones and other Apple devices, have satisfied nearly all of the goals that were outlined last year in a reform plan.
Foxconn putting $6.8 million into wearable tech
Foxconn â€“ also known as Hon Hai, assembler of Apple's iPhones and iPads â€“ is looking to capitalize on the anticipated boom in wearable tech by starting an investment fund to finance nascent companies working in the segment. Sources familiar with the project told Bloomberg this week that Syntrend Creative Park Co., a Foxconn unit, will administer the NT$200 million ($6.8 million) fund aimed at giving the firm a hand in the development of wearable devices in the vein of Samsung's Galaxy Gear smartwatch, the Google Glass eyewear computer, and the suspected Apple iWatch. The move is the latest by Foxconn to diversify its operations to handle more things than the construction of iOS devices for its most lucrative partner.
Supplier adds more workers to assembly lines
The recent uptick in iPhone 5s supplies is connected to "around the clock" production at Foxconn, and more people being brought onto assembly lines, says the Wall Street Journal. At the supplier's Zhengzhou facilities, 100 lines are said to be operating at all hours for the 5s, with about 600 people per line. "We have been churning out about 500,000 iPhone 5ss everyday, the highest daily output ever," an anonymous Foxconn executive is quoted as saying.
$10 million of sum going toward research at Carnegie Mellon
Apple's main supplier, Foxconn, is planning to spend $40 million in Pennsylvania connected to a new factory, says Bloomberg. $30 million of that is going toward the factory itself, which will be based in Harrisburg and produce telecommunications equipment and Internet servers. The remaining $10 million will go toward research and development at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University.
May be supported by recent claims of production scaling
Apple's main assembly partner, Foxconn, is halting production of the iPhone 5c at its Zhengzhou factory and shifting the labor towards the iPhone 5s, sources tell Digitimes. While Digitimes has a mixed track record, the claim is consistent with recent reports of cutbacks in 5c production. Foxconn in particular is said to be churning out just 8,000 to 9,000 units a day; the core 5c manufacturer, Pegatron, has allegedly scaled back from 320,000 phones per day in October to just 80,000.
iPhone 5s holds wide lead in popularity
Apple suppliers are cutting back still further on iPhone 5c production, a Chinese report says. Primary assembly partner ProTek -- better known under its parent name, Pegatron -- has slashed production from 320,000 units per day in October to only 80,000. Foxconn is said to be manufacturing units at a minimal level, only 8,000 to 9,000 per day. That company is, however, more focused on the iPhone 5s and other top-priority Apple products.
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.
March release would be out-of-cycle
Foxconn, Apple's main manufacturing partner, is currently testing a larger iPad expected to launch next spring, possibly in March, a Chinese report claims. The device is said to be in a late phase of testing, and with a screen due to measure either 11.4 or 12.9 inches. Apple's current flagship, the Air, uses the same 9.7-inch size employed since the first-generation iPad.
Report cites executives at suppliers for decrease, increase in manufacturing
Apple is cutting the production of the iPhone 5c after it experienced low demand than the company expected, according to the Wall Street Journal. Echoing similar reports from last week, it is claimed that suppliers Foxconn and Pegatron have been requested by Apple to decrease iPhone 5c production by 20 percent and 30 percent respectively.
Models for sale to be manufactured locally
Brazil's National Telecommunications Agency -- also known as Anatel -- has granted regulatory approval for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, reports say. The agency states that the iPhones to be sold will be built at Foxconn's Jundiaí factory, near São Paulo. Documents also show that they will run on Brazil's native LTE frequency, 2600MHz; previous iPhones and iPads available in Brazil have only operated in the 700MHz band.
Foxconn probed for component orders, insider trading spawned by report
Citigroup has agreed to a settlement with Apple, where it will pay the Cupertino manufacturer a $30 million fine after Citigroup analyst Kevin Chang improperly distributed confidential research about an Apple supplier. The unpublished research detailed Hon Hai Precision Industry's iPhone 4, 4S and 5 component orders to Citadel, GLG Partners, SAC, and T. Rowe Price. Citigroup's research included incorrect information about iPhone orders in the first quarter of 2013, which induced SAC, Citadel, and T. Rowe Price to sell a large quantity of Apple stock, depressing the price.
Marks an end to long-running negotiations
Apple is getting ready to deliver iPhones to China Mobile, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The paper notes that while it isn't clear if the two businesses have signed a formal sales agreement, the impending delivery of phones would mean that some sort of deal has been arranged. One source elaborates that Apple has asked its main manufacturing partner, Foxconn, to add China Mobile to the list of carriers that will be getting the low-cost iPhone, better known as the iPhone 5C. When Mobile might be getting the 5C is uncertain.
Foxconn to start delivering units early in the month
Apple has asked is main manufacturing partner, Hon Hai -- better known as Foxconn -- to start shipping new high-end and low-end iPhone models early next month, according to sources for the Wall Street Journal. Suppliers are said to have started parts production back in June. The sources don't have many details about the low-end phone, but do remark that the flagship device will have a metal casing and the same size and resolution as the iPhone 5.
Product would allegedly ship in first half of 2014
Officials from Apple met with peers at Corning, Foxconn, and G-Tech Optoelectronics in the US about two weeks ago to talk about the production of a TV set, according to sources for Taiwan's Economic Daily News. Foxconn is reportedly asking Corning to share some data about Gorilla Glass with G-Tech, so that the latter can do surface treatments needed to produce the set. G-Tech is relatively unknown in the West, but was once rumored to be behind the anti-reflection glass for the 2012 iMac.
Apple products account for over 40 percent of revenue
Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn, posted a 41 percent year-over-year increase in net profits during its second quarter, according to the Wall Street Journal. Net profits for Q2 2013 were NT$16.98 billion, or about $566.7 million US. In the same quarter of 2012, profits were NT$12.06 billion. The average forecast for this year had been NT$16.32 billion.
Suppliers dumping contaminated water, groups charge
Foxconn and UniMicron -- two key suppliers to Apple and other high-tech companies -- are being investigated by Chinese authorities over complaints of local rivers being polluted with heavy metals. The issue was brought to the attention of the Chinese government late last week, after allegations were made public by environmental activist Ma Jun and a group of five non-profit organizations. In particular the allegations deal with the town of Kunshan, roughly 40 miles west of Shanghai, where residents say pollution has been worsening over the past decade.
Report refers to 'iPhone 6' but may be hinting at 'lite' model
China Business News is reporting that recruiters in Zhengzhou in the Henan province of China have begun a "large-scale" drive for new workers, suggesting that Foxconn is beginning the ramp-up for both Apple's next round of new iOS models as well as preparing for what is likely to be another record holiday season for the Cupertino giant. The Foxconn facility there has capacity for another 90,000 workers before it hits the 300,000-worker peak seen during the 2012 holiday rush, where Apple found itself scrambling to make the then-new iPhone 5 and iPad models fast enough to meet demand.
Manufacturer may be beating Apple to the punch
Hon Hai -- better known under its Foxconn brand -- has demonstrated a first-party smartwatch, reports say. The device can connect wirelessly to an iPhone, and display notifications for incoming phone calls and Facebook posts. Like some other smartwatches, it can monitor health signs like heartbeat and respiration, but with the bonus of tips on getting fitness up to par.
TSMC, Largan, Foxconn, Texas Instruments among mentioned suppliers
Apple suppliers are now engaged in "intensive delivery" of a "large number" of parts for a low-cost iPhone, says the Commercial Times. TSMC is reportedly delivering 28nm processors, while Largan Precision is supplying an 8-megapixel camera. Foxconn is providing a battery module and most of the inner frame, while Taiflex Scientific is handling a flexible circuit. Other suppliers are said to include Chipbond, Kinsus, SPIL, Texas Instruments, and Renesas Electronics.
Device could grow as large as 5.7 inches
Apple is considering a range of possible options for expanding its iPhone lineup in 2014, say four sources for Reuters, some of which are said to be with Asian suppliers. The people claim that Apple is considering two bigger iPhone sizes, including 4.7- and 5.7-inch dimensions. Suppliers have reportedly been approached with plans for the bigger screens, but whether or not they'll make it into shipping products is uncertain. "They constantly change product specifications almost to the final moment, so you're not really sure whether this is the final prototype," one source says.
Foxconn manufacturing five devices for unnamed OEM
Foxconn has signed a deal with Mozilla to put the Firefox OS mobile operating system onto a number of mobile devices. The smartphones, to be manufactured by Foxconn on behalf of an unnamed OEM, are also accompanied by the companies showing off a prototype tablet, one that was hinted at in a report last week.
Taiwan-based supplier has long history with Apple, rising star status
Apple may be turning to another of its partners and away from Foxconn as the primary supplier of some future Apple products, if a report from the Wall Street Journal is correct. The paper reports that Taiwan-based Pegatron, which has a history with Apple that goes back to the original iBooks, has won the contract to be the primary supplier of a future "low-cost" iPhone model that has been rumored for months. The company already produces most of the iPad minis, and recently announced it was hiring an additional 40,000 workers for an unnamed project.
Reveal of Firefox mobile device on day before Computex show
Foxconn is going to reveal a new mobile device alongside Mozilla on Monday, one that will apparently run on Firefox OS. While the event on June 3rd before Computex will showcase a new device of some description, neither Foxconn nor Mozilla have hinted at what it could be, but rumblings suggest it could end up being a tablet instead of a smartphone running the new mobile operating system.
Components to be sourced from US companies where possible
During his testimony before the Senate on Apple's tax strategies, CEO Tim Cook restated an earlier promise that a forthcoming Mac model -- not identified -- was going to be built in the United States, and further revealed that it would be assembled in Texas. While the exact site wasn't specified, Apple has established and is expanding an administrative campus in Austin, and manufacturing partner Foxconn has facilities in Houston.
Early trial production of device expected to start soon
Apple is testing 1.5-inch OLED touchscreens for use in its upcoming smartwatch, claims Taiwanese publication the Economic Daily News. Apple is in fact said to have tried 1.8-inch screens, but judged that they were too big. The 1.5-inch panels are reportedly being manufactured by Taiwan's RiTdisplay, and use one-glass-solution touch sensors, which should allow Apple to keep the watch thin.
Foxconn staff still overworked
Apple's biggest supplier, Hon Hai -- better known as Foxconn -- is continuing to break Chinese labor laws, according to a newly-published audit by the Fair Labor Association. The latest evaluation was conducted in January, and did find that Foxconn is complying with 98.3 percent of the 360 points of action the FLA and Apple initially agreed to. 70 out of 76 items that were pending in mid-2012 have been complied with.
Could cost manufacturer up to $1.6 billion
Apple has returned a batch of millions of botched iPhones to its main manufacturing partner, Foxconn, a source at the latter company tells China Business. It's believed that anywhere between 5 and 8 million units were returned for various unspecified defects. As the cost to manufacture is estimated to be $200 per phone, Foxconn could be taking a loss of as much as $1.6 billion.
Hon Hai parent company of manufacturer Foxconn
Microsoft and Foxconn parent company Hon Hai have signed a worldwide patent licensing agreement that places the manufacturer underneath Microsoft's patent portfolio umbrella for devices running the Android and Chrome OS. The agreement covers patent usage in smartphones, tablets, and televisions. While specifics of the agreement are not available, Microsoft will reportedly receive royalties from Hon Hai under the agreement.
Marks end to brief hiring freeze
Asian manufacturer Foxconn has resumed hiring at a plant in Zhengzhou, China in preparation for a new iPhone, a Bloomberg source says. The factory froze hiring in February, but has reportedly been hiring again for the past month to meet extra capacity demanded by Apple. The added workers are expected to build not only a new iPhone but also existing models.
Company's fortunes linked closely to Apple products
Taiwan-based manufacturer Hon Hai -- better known under its lead brand Foxconn -- posted a 19 percent fall in sales year-over-year during the first quarter, Reuters reports. Revenue reached T$808.97 billion, a decline from T$1 trillion in Q1 2012, as well as the T$988.34 billion the company posted in Q4. The drop is being blamed on lower demand for the iPhone.
Foxconn spokesperson denies any suicide attempts
There are conflicting accounts over attempted suicides at Foxconn's main manufacturing facility in Shenzhen, China. On Friday, initial reports indicated that two people had jumped off a building; several stories said that in all, three workers climbed to the top of building G14. One source suggests that the people were worried about their jobs. The company has seen lower orders in 2013, prompting it to find ways of shedding workers.
Change credited to improved iPhone, iPad production
Hon Hai Precision Industry, closely linked to parent brand Foxconn Technology Group, has posted a record NT$37 billion ($1.2 billion US) in net income for its fourth quarter, Bloomberg reports. The figure has also surpassed a NT$35.9 billion estimate averaged using predictions from 14 different analysts. Bloomberg credits the profits to improved and greater production of the iPhone and iPad, including the introduction of new iPads and the resolution of scratched iPhone 5 casing problems, which prior to Q4 forced Hon Hai to temporarily halt work on the phone to impose quality control demanded by Apple.
Hon Hai, TSMC each adding 5,000 new jobs
Apple suppliers performed poorly during February, says Topeka Capital analyst Brian White. The claim is based on an "Apple Monitor," a collection of suppliers the analyst tracks as a way of gauging Apple's performance. Collectively the companies were down 31 percent in February, versus a normal 8 percent drop for the month. The results are bad even when considering the effect of the Chinese New Year, White says -- "the worst February we have on record."
Workers limited to 60 hours per week, 1M workers tracked
In an update to its Supplier Responsibility pages, Apple on Wednesday now shows that the companies in its supply chain are 99 percent compliant with Apple's guidelines that individual workers -- of which Apple now has more than one million in China and Taiwan -- are limited to no more than 60 hours of work per week. While seemingly a high figure by western standards, factory workers often seek overtime in an attempt to escape the cycle of rural poverty or to support elders in the family. The company reports that the average number of weekly hours is now below 50.
Manufacturer responds to internal, external pressure
Asian manufacturer Foxconn will soon allow workers to elect union representatives for the first time, says UK newspaper The Telegraph. Under the arrangement, a chairman and 20 members of the Federation of Labour Unions Committee will be elected every five years. The Financial Times remarks that the current representatives weren't nominated in an open and transparent manner; over half of the committee members are in fact from management, making it easier for Foxconn executives to fight any changes they don't like.
Workers could lose time off in order to meet iPhone, iPad demand
Some Apple suppliers will keep manufacturing through the Chinese New Year to meet the company's demands, Taiwan's United Daily News reports. Hon Hai, better known as Foxconn, is said to be keeping a portion of production lines open to assemble the iPhone 5 and iPad mini. A circuit board supplier, Flexium Interconnect, will reportedly keep its Kunshan plant going through the Chinese New Year, using students it has trained for the work.
Apple triples 'social responsibility' staff
A new report by the New York Times suggests that working conditions at Foxconn factories have improved since a January piece in the paper helped trigger changes at the manufacturer. After media and public backlash, Apple and the Fair Labor Association began auditing Foxconn, finding problems such as excessive working hours and poor safety standards. Executives from Apple and Foxconn met in March, which led to reductions in worker hours and better wages.
Foxconn to handle stateside production, AU Optronics to do IGZO
A pair of unconfirmed reports from the sometimes-accurate Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes claims that Apple is exploring the idea of moving Mac mini production to a Foxconn Electronics facility in the US, and that Apple is evaluating switching its iOS devices to IGZO display panels in a rollout of revisions across 2013. Sharp, the company behind the IGZO technology, has allegedly licensed Innolux Corporation and may possibly add AU Optroics to help produce displays.
Purchase raises GoPro valuation to over $2 billion
Foxconn has bought an almost 9-percent stake in sports camera maker GoPro. The Taiwanese electronics giant agreed to pay $200 million for the shares, which will see Foxconn founder and CEO Terry Gou join the GoPro board. The purchase gives GoPro a valuation of around $2.25 billion, based on Foxcon's ownership of 8.88-percent of the company.
Initial order said to be 5M units
Amazon has reportedly chosen Foxconn to produce the online retailer's rumored self-branded smartphone. Unnamed sources have told Taiwan Economic News the contract manufacturer "actively scrambled" to establish the exclusive supply deal, as some of its other clients—Nokia in particular—struggle to gain traction in the smartphone market.
Foxconn seeks to expand North American operations
Even as Apple promises some US-assembled Macs, Foxconn, one of Apple's largest manufacturing partners, is reportedly looking to expand its North American operations in the near future. The Taipei-based manufacturer, which already has operations in California and Texas, cites growing customer demand for American-made devices as the reason behind the shift. Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou said at a forum last month that the company would be interested in bringing US engineers to Asia to train them in manufacturing before sending them back to work in US-based Foxconn facilities.