updated 09:47 am EST, Mon March 3, 2014
HTC allegedly among poaching targets
Apple has been hiring "hundreds" of new engineers and supply chain managers in China and Taiwan, according to sources for the Wall Street Journal. In particular the company is said to be building up teams in Shanghai and Taipei to accelerate product development and ship a wider range of devices. The supply managers may be at least partly meant to cope with allegations of labor and safety abuses at supplier factories.
The recent surge in hiring is said to have started in mid-2013, and helped push the number of engineers and operations workers in China to over 600. Last August, Apple is said to have used LinkedIn to reach out to engineers at rival phone maker HTC, and Taiwanese suppliers Quanta and Inventec, among other firms. The iPhone appears to have been a particular focus; "Apple is building an engineering team in Taipei to drive new iPhone product development," one recruitment email is quoted as saying.
The Journal and other publications have claimed that Apple is at work on not one but two larger-screened iPhones. Size has been a recurring complaint about the iPhone for several years; when the 4-inch iPhone 5 arrived, many competing smartphones were already over 4.5 inches, and now those rivals are at or over the 5-inch mark. Some rumors have indicated at least one of the new iPhones will exceed 5 inches. To have two phones bigger than 4 inches though, Apple may have to completely ditch the iPhone 4S and 5c this fall, making the now-flagship iPhone 5s its bottom tier.