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.
Taiwanese 'flip-chip' maker Unimicron to ramp up to meet demand
According to reports in a Taiwanese electronics-industry trade publication, Apple is shifting orders for the base ARM chips on which the company builds its Ax line of in-house processors away from Samsung-owned SemCo and towards Taipei-based Unimicron Technology Corporation. If true, it would be yet another move away from using Samsung as a supplier, presumably due to the latter's copying of its technology and litigious SEP abuse.
Only two suppliers to be checked so far
Apple is telling activists in the US and China that it will soon permit independent environmental reviews of at least two Chinese suppliers, according to USA Today. Prominent Chinese activist Ma Jun, the founder of the Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs, tells the paper that Apple agreed to the reviews in late January. The move is said to have been made in response to two reports by the IPE and other environmental groups, showing toxic chemical use and hazardous waste leaks at companies thought to be Apple suppliers. Apple rarely acknowledges which companies are a part of its supply chain.
Apple bends to pressure on eve of report's release
A new report issued by five Chinese NGOs accuses Apple of using known polluters as suppliers, and taking "advantage of the loopholes in developing countries’ environmental management systems." The Financial Times writes that the document has escalated a long-running standoff between Apple and one of the report's authors, Ma Jun, who heads the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs. Only hours before the report was released, the company finally agreed to meet with Ma to talk about his accusations. The director says that Apple claimed some of the factories on his list aren't Apple suppliers, but without going into detail.
iPhone 4 part orders drop in spring
New leaks Tuesday morning hinted at Apple ramping down production of the iPhone 4 ahead of the future model. PCB (circuit board) suppliers were told to cut their orders by about 10 percent for the spring. Orders were expected by Digitimes' source to go back up in the summer as Apple stepped up production for the next model.
Board maker tips point to iPhone estimates
Apple is queuing up a large number of new iPhones just for June alone, a new estimate may have revealed. Insiders claiming that the handsets' circuit boards will be made by Tripod and Unimicron also expect Apple to ship 3.5 million to 4 million units of the new smartphone for its June launch. The same sources estimated Apple would ship between 8.5 million to 9 million of the phones in the full summer quarter afterwards.
2009 iPhone Supplier Leak
The companies responsible for manufacturing parts in the next major iPhone release have potentially been named by industry contacts of DigiTimes that also predict ship dates and numbers. The Taiwan-area site reinforces its previous claim that OmniVision is making a 3.2-megapixel sensor for the Apple handset's camera and now says that Largan Precision is making the rest of the imaging unit. Infineon is continuing to provide the cellular baseband (likely upgraded to 7.2Mbps 3G) as well as the GPS chipset.