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.