Device expected to use thinner display
A sharp fall in Wintek's June sales could signal that the company has lost out on orders for next-generation Apple products, specifically a new iPhone, says Topeka Capital Markets' Brian White. The analyst notes that on average, Wintek's June sales have grown 1 percent month-over-month. This year, though, they plummeted 33.6 percent, making for the company's worst month-to-month crash since late 2008.
Parts shipments could slip up to 20 percent in current quarter
Two of Apple's touch panel suppliers, TPK and Wintek, wiil see shipments to drop by 15 to 20 percent in the current quarter because of the transition from the iPhone 4S to the next-generation iPhone, industry sources tell DigiTimes. The 4S is described as "moving into the final stage of its product life cycle," and TPK has previously stated that it expects revenues to fall 10 percent sequentially in Q2 as a result of iPhone 4S stockpiling and people holding off on buying an iPhone.
iPhone 2012 may drop glass-on-glass touch
Apple's next iPhone might drop the traditional glass-on-glass approach to touchscreens if one rumor proves true. Part suppliers claimed to Digitimes that Sharp and Toshiba Mobile Display were "likely" producing in-cell touch panels now that yield rates were good enough for the two to participate. The two would start production of in-cell panels sometime during the spring, although it wasn't clear if that schedule would include Apple.
Amazon may have up to 4 tablets in 2012
Amazon's rumored Kindle Fire lineup expansion might get larger still based on an unusually specific rumor late Wednesday. There would be "at least two" new Kindle Fire models in 2012, Digitimes insisted, with as many as four depending on Amazon's ambitions. A 10.1-inch model was supposedly on track for July shipments and would aim at the $249 to $299 price range, with HannsTouch supposedly joining TPK and Wintek in making touch panels.
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 has internal clash over China factories
Apple has faced both internal tension over as well as misleading statements from its Chinese suppliers, an in-depth investigation has uncovered. Focusing primarily on Foxconn, the New York Times spoke to numerous current and former Apple executives who said that, while there were improvements in the years since Apple began auditing factories, the company has so far stopped short of a hardline approach that would get a supplier like Foxconn to change.
TPK gains, Wintek, Sintek lose
Recent problems with Wintek touchpanels are creating ripple effects throughout the Taiwanese touchpanel industry, say industry sources contacted by Digitimes. Because of the trouble, Apple -- a key Wintek client -- is said to have have rearranged panel orders among other suppliers. The major beneficiary has allegedly been TPK, which saw revenue jump 53.7 percent month-over-month in September, or 139.7 percent year-over-year.
Wintek allegedly hit by iPhone 5 screen issue
Apple's shipments of the iPhone 5 might have been slowed down by a defect surfacing in some touchscreens, a rumor maintained late Thursday. Wintek, which normally makes a significant portion of Apple's touch panels, has supposedly had a problem with 'delayed bubbles,' Digitimes said. While not serious given similarity to the iPhone 4 process, the issue can sometimes be found only during the final assembly process, at which point it's too late to fix the panel.
Poisoned workers not being monitored as promised
Apple has been operating irresponsibly in China, both in terms of labor and the environment, Foreign Policy suggests. A new report focuses on poisoning at a Wintek factory, where the Apple supplier began cleaning iPhone screens with an agent containing n-hexane. Exposure to the chemical triggered nerve damage in 137 workers, such as Jia Jingchuan, profiled by FP. Jia ended up hospitalized for 10 months starting in August 2009.
Analyst checks point to white iPod touch 5
(Updated with alleged white iPod touch photo) New estimates by Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggest Apple will bring white back to the iPod for the first time in years through the fifth-generation iPod touch. The design is rumored to be much like that of the iPad 2, where only the front gets the new color. Kuo told AppleInsider the design showed few signs of direct changes and would be in volume production in late August.
About 5 million iPad 2 touch panels due in July
Apple may be planning a larger production ramp than first thought for the iPad 2 this summer. Part supplier leaks Tuesday have the company's combined partners shipping five million touch panels just in July. Digitimes' sources said that Apple had also moved five million in June, making it likely the company is shipping as many or more during the holidays.
iPhone 5 and even iPad 3 production starting up
The earliest phases of production for the iPhone 5 and supposedly the iPad 3 are underway, part suppliers maintained Friday. Suppliers are reportedly gathering materials now with the expectation that full-scale assembly and shipments will start in both for August with releases on or before October. Despite rumors, just one completely new iPhone was claimed by Digitimes' sources to be on tap, while the iPad 3 may have a 2048x1536 display that would crest a pixel density of 250DPI, even as it goes thinner and lighter.
Amazon tablet to start off with huge 2m shipment
Amazon's plan to launch its tablets in September could involve a very aggressive opening month, part suppliers said Wednesday night. HannStar, J Touch, and Wintek are expected to supply touchscreen panels for the Android slates with a goal of shipping 1.5 million to two million just for that month alone. Earlier Digitimes sources had already penned in estimates of four million for 2011, hinting that Amazon is counting on a large-scale launch but slowing down quickly later on.
Apple increasing summer iPad, iPhone panel orders
Both official and unofficial details from Wintek suggest Apple only plans to increase its iPad and iPhone touch panel orders over the rest of the year. Those for phones like the iPhone have grown in the spring and, Digitimes heard, will have reached between 2.4 million to 2.6 million units each month between April and June. Stepped up Apple orders during the summer should give Wintek between $41.5 million and $51.9 million in revenue.
Amazon tablets due in late summer
Amazon's two Android tablets have had their launch windows narrowed down to the end of summer. Part suppliers maintained Tuesday night that the previous "second half" target now expected it to ship as early as August or September. The production ramp would be timed to make sure Amazon hit its sales stride by Thanksgiving, Digitimes had heard.
iPad 2 panel spike hints at shipment rush
Apple is expecting a large surge in demand for the iPad 2 in the back-to-school period, leaked supply numbers hint. One of the tablet's panel makers, Chimei Innolux, is expected to ship 400,000 to 500,000 iPads in June but more than double that to crest over one million a month in July. Combined with manufacturing from TPK and Wintek, the data led Digitims to word of shipments of 3.5 million to four million iPads every month, or 10.5 million to 12 million every quarter.
HTC Puccini leak has production in June
HTC's 4G-capable Puccini tablet may arrive somewhat later than first thought if component providers' new tips are accurate. Although some had put its release in June, large- scale production now isn't believed to be starting until then and would have it ship sometime later. Contacts told Digitimes AU Optronics and Apple's frequent partner Wintek would be supplying the 10-inch touchscreens.
iPhone 5 may be made in July or August
A trio of sources claimed Wednesday that the iPhone 5's production schedule had been narrowed down to the summer. Production would start at Foxconn in July or August with shipments in September, consistent with talk that Apple would skip WWDC but use its annual music event to launch the phone. One of Reuters' sources echoed beliefs that it would be "largely similar" to the iPhone 4 on the outside.
Feb. figures linked to pre-production of iPad 2
Collectively, Apple's largest Taiwan-based suppliers grew sales about 141 percent year-over-year in March, according to Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White. The group is considered important as an "Apple barometer," given that when Apple is doing well, suppliers scale production to meet demand. The collective approach is considered more accurate than tracking a single company like Foxconn or Wintek, as they will often derive most of their sales from clients other than Apple. Specific firms in the barometer group are unmentioned by White, allegedly because of "Apple's secrecy regarding its supply base."
Suppliers say 2.4m iPad 2 delivered in March
Apple may have had very aggressive launch shipments of the iPad 2 despite the shortages, part suppliers said Wednesday. About 2.4 million to 2.6 million of the tablets are believed to have shipped just in March. The rate should accelerate faster still, Digitimes said, and would hit four million to 4.3 million per month in each spring month to lead to at least 12 million iPad 2s in the season.
Tablet sales expected to accelerate in Apple Q3
An Apple touch panel supplier, Wintek, saw its sales increase 40 percent month-over-month in March, according to Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White. "We believe Wintek's March sales surge highlights the strong ramp for the iPad 2," he notes in a memo, "and we expect to get more details from the Apple supply chain over the next week as monthly sales from TPK and other suppliers are released." Wintek's average March growth rate in recent years has been about 16 percent.
iSuppli and UBM estimate iPad 2 at 326 tops
Analysts have provided somewhat conflicting cost breakdowns for the iPad 2 that nonetheless both put the Motorola Xoom in a poor light. iSuppli said Apple's tablet should cost $323.35 in raw parts for a 32GB, Verizon (EVDO) version or $326.60 for its AT&T (HSPA) equivalent. The HSPA version needs chipsets with Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi separate from the Intel/Infineon cellular chip where the EVDO version uses an all-in-one Qualcomm chipset, much like in the Verizon iPhone.
Apple, Wintek said to owe debts
Five workers claiming to represent poisoned Wintek workers have issued a letter to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, Reuters reports. Wintek has admitted to using a chemical called hexyl hydride, also known as n-hexane, to help speed up production of Apple touchscreens between May 2008 and August 2009. N-hexane evaporates faster than alcohol, which Wintek has since returned to as a cleaning agent. Before it cut off n-hexane however a number of Wintek workers complained about serious health issues; Apple and Wintek have admitted to 137 hospitalizations.
Wintek said only white iPhone 5 touch panel maker
Despite the white iPhone 4 not having yet appeared, claims have surfaced on Tuesday that Apple is committing to a specific touch panel supplier for a white iPhone 5. Taiwan's Economic Daily News claimed that Wintek will be the only company supplying the touch layer for the future phone. Apple is "pushing" the white hue this year after having almost entirely missed out on it for the iPhone 4, the trade paper said.
Company dodging questions about polluters
A non-profit Chinese environmental group, the Institute of Environmental and Public Affairs, is ranking Apple last in a list of 29 multinational technology companies in terms of responsiveness and transparency, according to Bloomberg. The director of the Institute, Ma Jun, says that Apple has refused to confirm whether or not some suspected polluters are amongst its suppliers. The company is also dodging responsibility for environmental problems it is causing, Ma claims.
NPD: 26.3m tablet, touch netbook screens in 2010
The launch of the iPad almost single-handedly drove the rise of large touchscreens this year, the NPD Group's DisplaySearch found today. About 6.3 million touchscreens large enough for tablets and touch-aware netbooks shipped in the first half of 2010, but the rise of the iPad and relatively minor contributions from the Samsung Galaxy Tab will have boosted that number to about 20 million for the second half. Although declining to mention Apple by name, the researchers noted that key iPad supplier Wintek produced the "majority" of the large touchscreen hardware for the year.
Suppliers back next iPad's dual cams and sharp LCD
Four sources today slipped details of what's expected to appear in the next iPad. Supporting case leaks, one mentioned that it would have dual cameras. Two told Reuters that Genius Electronic Optical and Largan Precision had newly secured camera contracts with Apple likely attached to the project, although they couldn't directly link the work to the new iPad.
Company likely gearing up for second-gen iPad
One of Apple's key suppliers, Wintek, is planning to expand its capacity for producing 10-inch touchpanels. Chairman Hyley Huang says the company is adding the capacity to produce an extra 2.2 million panels a month at its Taichung plant in Taiwan. By the time the upgrade is complete in June 2011, the plant should be able to manufacture a total of 5.2 million panels a month.
Currency shifts blamed
Apple suppliers based in Taiwan may be forced to raise their prices, says Bloomberg. The Taiwanese dollar has grown 2.5 percent against the US dollar during the last month, and by 7.2 percent during the last year. One supplier, Wintek, is estimating that a 1 percent increase in the exchange rate cuts 0.5 percent off its gross profit margin.
Quartz components buoy TXC
Apple is currently the dominant customer amongst Asian touch panel suppliers, a Digitimes report indicates. "Almost every" touch panel maker capable of mass production is said to be receiving orders from Apple; Wintek and TPK Touch in particular are said to be benefiting from strong iPad sales. Those companies along with Sintek and Cando are all gaining extra capacity this quarter, suggesting that Apple orders may prevent them from suffering a usual seasonal slump.
Suppliers to ship for 2nd-gen iPad in early 2011
Touchscreen part suppliers were said this evening to be validating their processes for the next full-size iPad. Cando, Chimei Innolux, TPK and Wintek are all supposedly having "ultra-thin," 9.7-inch glass touch panels tested for the Apple tablet before they can enter full production. The Digitimes contacts expected the parts to ship at the very start of 2011 for a launch sometime in the early part of that same year.
iPhone 4 costs more to make than iPhone 3GS
The iPhone 4 is Apple's most expensive ever phone to make short of the original phone itself, a price breakdown by iSuppli has found. A 16GB example costs about $187.51 in raw parts; the bill is less than the $223 of the 2007 original but more than the $173 iPhone 3G and the $178.96 iPhone 3GS. Most of that cost increase is attributed to the LG Display-built 960x640 IPS screen, which is estimated to cost $28.50 all by itself.
Both Apple and HP concerned over Foxconn deaths
Apple and HP together said they were investigating whether harsh working conditions at Foxconn were triggering a rash of suicides at the Chinese manufacturer. Following a ninth death, the two are launching independent checks to verify and possibly pressure Foxconn into following certain labor rights guidelines. Apple was the most vocal in its concern; it's "saddened and upset" at the suicides and is taking action, according to spokesman Steve Dowling.
Apple supplier may be trying to deflect lawsuit
A key Apple supplier, Taiwan's Wintek, claims it has stopped using n-hexane at a subsidiary plant in Suzhou, China. The factory had been using the chemical to clean displays for Apple handhelds, namely the iPhone. Some 44 workers have announced plans to sue Wintek, however, alleging that dozens of people have become ill at the factory, sometimes seriously. At least 62 workers are said to have been hospitalized since last August; chronic exposure to the chemical can cause problems like nerve damage and paralysis.
Apple ignoring Wintek issues?
Apple is still ignoring issues with a Suzhou, China factory involved in producing iPhones, claims a Hong Kong activist group, Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM). While a strike at Wintek subsidiary United Win is said to have got the factory workers an expected bonus, both Apple and Wintek are argued to be sidestepping several other concerns, most notably hexane poisoning. In this sense Apple is disregarding its own code of conduct for suppliers, SACOM charges.
2010 iPhone leans more on parts from Taiwan
Apple has switched up the suppliers in use for the new iPhone, a report by Taiwan's Economic Daily News paper said today. Foxconn will still put together the finished product, but Apple is now believed using three companies for the touch layer: Chimei Innolux is making 15 percent of the panels while the rest is split between Wintek and TPK. The American company is also leaning more heavily on Taiwan as a whole, as quartz maker TXC and laminate maker Taiflex Scientific are moving from less than a fifth of orders to 45 and 65 percent each.
Apple trades TPK for Wintek to keep iPads flowing
Apple has switched suppliers for the iPad's capacitive touch panel to keep production running, a rumor from Taiwan argued on Friday. The company has supposedly been relying on TPK Touch Solutions for some of the panels but, frustrated with delays, has moved more orders to Wintek to keep production moving. A previous rumor had blamed Wintek itself, but it's implied by DigiTimes that Wintek has either addressed earlier problems or would be used to balance the workload.
Wintek touch panel backlog said at fault
Wintek on Friday was accused in a report by Taiwan's Liberty Times of triggering a delay in iPad shipments. A choke point in its touch panel production line has allegedly resulted in few usable panels and stalled Apple's supply as a result. The newspaper didn't say whether this would affect launch volume, although to date Apple still promises shipping for April 3rd.
No comment on equipment damage
A strike at a Wintek plant in Suzhou, China is over, the manufacturer says. Workers first walked off the job on January 15th, ostensibly over the lack of a Lunar New Year bonus. In a filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange, Wintek writes that the strike has been ended by agreeing to reinstate the bonus. Production and capacity have been unaffected, it notes.
New iPhone could be world-ready model
Two analysts have issued new memos on upcoming Apple technology. UBS' Maynard Um addresses the tablet, saying that a January 27th press event will likely signal the product's announcement. Checks are said to indicate probable manufacturers and suppliers, namely Hon Hai (a.k.a. Foxconn), who may be assembling the device. The display may come from LG Display, with AUO being a possible secondary supplier.
Wintek said to be poisoning employees
Workers at a Wintek factory in Suzhou, China have gone on strike, also damaging equipment and vehicles in protest, says China Daily. The movement is said to include over 2,000 people, some of whom caused the property damage during an incident on Friday. Protesters also blocked a road and threw rocks at police at the time, though no serious injuries are known to have resulted.
Second-quarter launch expected
Parts are on the move for Apple's forthcoming tablet, say sources in contact with ABC News. Touchscreens are already believed to be shipping, mainly from manufacturing partner Wintek, but also from the lesser-known Taiwanese outfit TPK Solutions. Casings for the tablet are said to be the responsibility of AVY Precision Technology, which will allegedly start producing them soon.
Apple tablet part details appear
Apple's frequently rumored tablet received more details on Tuesday with an apparent leak of production plans. Taiwan's Economic News claims the touchscreen hardware is now slated for February and that companies will start shipping parts in December. The publication reiterates the presence of a near 10-inch touch display but now insists the tablet will be based on a custom processor (likely ARM-based) from recent acquisition PA Semi and will use HSDPA for its 3G access, likely putting it on AT&T's network.
Apple Touch Netbook Oct
Rumors of a touchscreen Apple netbook gained fuel on Monday with a claim by China's InfoTimes that supposedly confirms launch details. Backing earlier claims, the site says the system will use a 9.7-inch touchscreen supplied by Wintek and is due to ship in October. Apple is expected to avoid competing directly with regular, sub-$500 netbooks and may use the touchscreen and other features to bring the price closer to $800, much like the Sony VAIO P.
Wintek staff set deadline
Wintek workers say they are growing more aggravated by a lack of Apple response to labor rights complaints, and are now asking the latter company to publicly acknowledge workplace violations by May 31st. The employees have been pressuring Apple to enforce its ethics standards, charging Wintek with cutting salaries, neglecting safety problems and demanding unpaid overtime, as well as firing 600 people without warning in December, and wrongfully terminating 19 more workers during a strike in April. Rights groups have also asked for the Electronics Industry Citizen Coalition to investigate Apple's conduct.
Wintek Apple Tablet Rumor
Contract manufacturer Wintek has been tapped by Apple to supply touchscreens for a tablet device, Taiwanese integrated circuit designers claimed on Friday. They describe the device as an "e-book form factor netbook" but provide few other details, including when the panels would ship. The news, however, parallels earlier reports of Wintek providing 10-inch touchscreens for the second half of 2009 or later.
Apple in Taiwan labor row
Apple has become the focus of a conflict over worker rights in Taiwan, local reporters say. Labor groups today carried banners and microphones outside of Apple's Taipei office, hoping to put indirect pressure on Wintek, a major supplier of flat-panel displays. The latter is accused of firing over 600 workers in December without warning, moreover cutting salaries, and forcing some of its people to work unpaid overtime in order to fulfill rush orders.
Apple Netbook 10in Rumor
The purported Apple touchscreen netbook has gained a minor amount of corroboration on Tuesday from sources of Dow Jones. The trading outlet echoes the earlier claims that Wintek is producing a touchscreen for an Apple computer assembled by Quanta but adds that the screen will measure between 9.7 and 10 inches diagonal, or roughly in line with existing netbook sizes. Other details are still "under evaluation," according to the unnamed sources behind the reported leak.
Apple Touch Netbook Rumor
Apple is gearing up suppliers to build a touchscreen netbook that would ship in the summer of this year, according to Taiwan's Commercial Times. Following a confirmation by local display maker Wintek that it's developing touchscreens for new Apple products, the Times said that at least some of these panels are destined for a netbook that would ship sometime during the summer. A regular supplier of Apple, Quanta, would manufacture the netbook itself.
Innolux Apple Touch Orders
Taiwan display maker Innolux has landed new orders for touchscreens from Apple, say claims from those inside the industry. While few details are available, the company is expected to start shipments soon; the company itself declines to either confirm or deny orders from Apple but says it will soon ship a production run of touch panels using capacitive input like that of Apple's handhelds.