Tag - Catcher
Another Apple supplier, Catcher Technology, is being accused of violating labor and safety standards, according to The New York Times. The paper says that two groups -- Green America, an environmental non-profit, and China Labor Watch -- have found that workers at a Catcher-owned factory in Suqian, China are being forced to work excessive overtime and in unsafe conditions. Although Catcher has contracts with other electronics firms, Apple is a major client, for whom it produces metal iPad and MacBook shells.
Apple has at least temporarily rejected Catcher as a source for 4.7-inch iPhone 6 casings, says China's Economic Daily News. In testing, Apple is said to have discovered defects in the areas connecting metal and plastic parts in sample casings, caused by Catcher's anodizing methods. In the short-term orders have been placed with Jabil and Foxconn instead; it may take Catcher up to two to three months to fix the glitches.
Analysts for two financial firms, Barclays and Morgan Stanley, are contending that Taiwanese firm Catcher Technology will supply metal casings for the next-generation iPhone. Both firms in fact expect Catcher's share of iPhone 6 casings to top 10 million units this year. Much of the argument is based on Catcher's existing involvement in the Apple supply chain; the firm is thought to produce casings for both the MacBook Pro and the iPhone 5s, to the degree that 40 percent of its revenue stems from Apple orders.
Amazon may have already started placing orders for parts for its next-generation Kindle Fire. According to Digitimes, Taiwan-based chassis maker Catcher Technology has recently received parts orders from the online retail giant. The leak comes from upstream sources, although when approached about the potential deal Catcher declined to offer any comment about its partners.
The performance of Apple suppliers is pointing toward a strong December quarter for the company, analysts indicate. UBS analyst Maynard Um uses the example of Multi-Fineline Electronix, which helps supply flexible printed circuit boards for products like the iPhone and iPad. MFE has posted preliminary net sales of $239 million for the quarter, exceeding a $215 million consensus forecast.
A combination of statements and rumors on Friday has hinted that Apple might be pulling out stops to get the iPad 3 released as soon as possible in 2012. With rumors circulating from Taiwan's Economic Daily News that the iPad 3 was being targeted for a wide window between mid-February and late March, Catcher mentioned that some staff would have to work overtime during the Lunar New Year holiday in and around January 23. Informal sources also had other key iPad suppliers trimming back, with Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision Industry) limiting vacations to five days, battery designer Simplo, camera lens maker Genius, and connection builder Amer all having some staff work through the break.
Ultrabook vendors are switching to alternate chassis designs to cope with a scarcity of unibody aluminum chassis capacity, according to sources from PC vendors cited by Digitimes. In particular companies are said to be substituting aluminum with materials like high-density fiberglass, or else using aluminum on the outside but plastic parts on the inside. The root of the capacity problem is said to lie with a combination of technology, temporary issues, and demand by Apple.
Contract supplier Wistron is developing a new material to help ultrabook makers who have been finding new materials for their designs after being squeezed by Apple. The firm's president Robert Hwang was working with a new notebook chassis partner to create a new material to use as a substitute, he told local news outlet Apple Daily. It wouldn't have connections either to metal or to substitutes that have been used in its place, such as carbon fiber or fiberglass.
A major Apple supplier, Catcher Technology, has confirmed it will fully reopen a closed Chinese plant next week, according to Reuters. The facility has been in limbo since mid-October, when it was forced to temporarily shut down because of complaints of strange odors received by local government. Catcher has previously said it would resume operations by November, and spend about $2-3 million to reduce pollution.
Catcher's MacBook Air plant shutdown should be rectified by November, the company said late Thursday. It planned to spend between $2 million to $3 million to improve its equipment at the aluminum casing factory to cut back on gas emissions and alleviate environmental concerns. Originally, Catcher hadn't given a timeframe for the fix.
Now AAPL Stock: 93.74 ( -1.09 )
Views from the 6 iTunes, Apple Music exclusive
Drake's new album "Views From the 6" has debuted on iTunes and Apple Music as an exclusive in the first week of its release. The singles Once Dance and Pop Style, however, are available elsewhere in the interim. Securing exclusives from leading artists has been a key strategy Apple has adopted in trying to attract users to its services. Most notably, Taylor Swift's hugely popular 1989"remains unavailable to users of competing services like Spotify or Tidal. http://apple.co/1NLwsSH
TSMC chip sales to Apple jump $2B in 2015
Apple A9 and A9X chip supplier TSMC saw sales to Apple jump $2 billion in 2015. TSMC's fabrication partnership with Apple on the A-series processor helped drive its revenue to $26.4 billion, up 6 percent over the previous year, although its dependence on Apple's chip orders meant that without its business, TSMC's revenue would have actually declined by 2 percent. The Taiwan-based chip maker is currently sharing Apple's A9-series chip supplies with Samsung, although is rumored to be gaining all Apple's orders for the next-generation Apple A10 chips. http://bit.ly/24tCE6e
Fiat Chrysler adding Siri Eyes Free
On Friday, automaker Fiat Chrysler issued a software update for selected 2013-2015 model cars to allow Siri Eyes Free, the precursor to the more fully-featured CarPlay, to be compatible with the vehicles' infotainment systems, including steering wheel control. The 2013 through 2015 model Ram 1500/2500/3500, the 2013-2015 Dodge Viper, the 2014-2015 Dodge Durango, the 2014-2015 Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, and the 2015 models of Dodge Challenger and Charger, Jeep Renegade, and Chrysler 200 and 300 can be upgraded through the Unconnect touchscreen, visiting the Uconnect site and entering their 17-digit Vehicle ID, then downloading the update to a USB drive. Installation can take up to 45 minutes, and can only be done while the vehicle is in park. http://bit.ly/23f0sby
Tor Myhren starts as VP of Communications
After an initial announcement in December, Apple on Friday added former Grey Group chief creative officer Tor Myhren to its leadership roster as VP of Marketing Communications, placing the well-known ad exec in charge of Apple's advertising and Internet marketing efforts, as well as having a hand in packaging design. He will report directly to CEO Tim Cook, and is replacing the retired Hiroki Asai, who left Apple after 18 years with the company. Myhren is expected to continue Apple recent push into more "lifestyle" marketing rather than product-centric ads, such as the well-remembered "I'm a Mac" campaign from last decade. http://apple.co/1Wwf0Dd
Marseilles Apple Store to open May 14
Apple has officially announced its newest retail store in France, which is to open in the southern port city of Marseilles in the Les Terrasses du Port shopping center on May 14 at 10AM local time. It will be the 19th full retail store Apple has opened in the country, or 20th if one includes the Apple Watch-only boutique at Galeries Lafayette in Paris. Apple is said to be planning a new showcase Paris store to be located on the Champs-Élysées. http://apple.co/1pP77vO
Maps adds Flyover, Suggestions locations
Apple has updated Maps to include Spotlight Suggestions for Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, allowing users to search both internally and across the web on both Mac and iOS devices for data in Spotlight. In addition, the company has added Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Akron, Ohio to the 3D Flyover feature, offering computer-enhanced aerial views of the two areas -- and has activated real-time traffic information for Thailand, which will augment services like reminders to incorporate estimated travel times for appointments, as an example. The company recently added Nearby searches to five countries, and rolled out transit directions for Montreal in Canada and Portland, Oregon. http://apple.co/1Lh1Zel
Verizon gives last offer, issues workers ultimatum
Verizon has offered striking workers its "last, best and final offer" following 10 months of protracted negotiations with union leaders. The latest offer comes on the back of 36,000 Verizon employees taking strike action two weeks ago. The proposal includes a 7.5 percent wage rise, better benefits and voluntary retirement incentive offers. The striking workers, mainly on from its fixed line operations, have claimed that Verizon has outsourced 5,000 jobs to workers overseas and that it has been deliberately hiring low-wage, non-union contractors. Verizon recently posted revenue of $32.2 billion for the March quarter. http://cnnmon.ie/26AmwSv