updated 08:30 pm EST, Wed January 25, 2012
Incentive specifically crafted around tablets
Brazil's government has approved special tax breaks for tablet makers that seem specifically crafted to allow Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn to gear up iPad production in the country, AppleInsider reports. The incentive was seen as the last obstacle in negotiations between Foxconn and the Brazilian government, the delay of which had postponed iPad production that was supposed to start in July. The facility is expected to go into operation almost immediately.
The timing of the announcement could be crucial, and may also have hinted at the weight of the next release of the iPad, since the exemptions specifically apply to "keyboard-less, touchscreen tablets weighing less than 750 grams" (about 26.5 ounces). The current iPad 2 weighs 601 grams, but rumors have said that the next model may be slightly thicker and perhaps heavier due to expected advances in cameras, processor, possible LTE support and graphics chips, along with the battery needed to support the advances. Such devices will qualify for excise tax, social contribution tax and federal contribution tax incentives, along with any accessories manufactured to support tablet computers.
The value of the deal to the Brazilian economy is expected to be around $12 billion, but has been delayed several times over incentives and other negotiations. Apple recently recruited Brazilian-born former Sony Ericsson president Anderson Teixiera as head of Apple Latin America.
The company recently introduced the iPhone 4S to the country and rumors have floated of a "flagship" store in the region to showcase Apple's increasing interest in Latin America, where sales have grown at a rate second only to China. Foxconn is already making some iPhone 4 models in Brazil, and may be planning further expansion, including a general touchscreen facility. [via AppleInsider, photos via BlogdoiPhone]
Photo of Brazilian iPhone plant