Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn is notorious for its empire of iPhone-assembling employees and robots, but the electronics manufacturer is looking to shift gears, by building a dirt cheap electric car, and it’s already investing $811 million to speed up the process.
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It looks like Apple manufacturer Foxconn may not be entirely ready to displace its human workforce in favor of robots just yet.
According to a new report coming out of the Taiwanese media, Foxconn’s CEO Terry Gou is disappointed by the company’s current generation of so-called “Foxbots,” which supposedly fell short of expectations in terms of both proficiency and flexibility.
Apple supplier Foxconn has continued to hire more workers to assemble the new iPhone models, reports the Wall Street Journal, but even though they’re already churning out over 500,000 new handsets a day, its 100 production lines operating around the clock in Zhengzhou still can’t keep up.
Apple supplier Foxconn Electronics is reportedly considering legal action against U.K. newspaper The Daily Mail over claims that cleaning agents used in Foxconn’s Shenzhen factory may be to blame for multiple Foxconn employees developing leukaemia.
In its recent report, The Daily Mail says that Apple is investigating Foxconn after a cluster of leukaemia-related deaths among young workers at Foxconn.
At least 13 workers in their late teens and early 20s have been diagnosed with leukaemia at the factory since 2010. Five of these employees have since died, with families and a labour welfare group claiming the disease was caused by exposure to dangerous chemicals used to clean electrical panels.
Foxconn factory employees have leaked the complete dimensions of the iPhone 6, according to iGen.fr, which posted photos of what appears to be Foxconn’s internal software listing the full dimensions for both the 5.5-inch and 4.7-inch iPhone 6.
The two new phones, code named N56 and N61, are expected to be announced next month, and if the leaked specs are right, not only will the 5.5-inch iPhone have more screen than your iPhone 5s, it will also be 60% heavier.
In the past, the chemicals benzene and n-hexane, which are chemicals that make your iPhone screen so shiny, have been said to cause health problems for factory workers breathing in the fume.
But Apple has just announced that as of the iPhone 6, these complaints will be a thing of the past, as they are banning the use of the chemicals across their entire assembly line.
A new report coming of China suggests that the eagerly-anticipated iPhone 6 is currently in the PVT (Product Validation Test) stage of production. During this stage, the assembly line runs at full speed to produce a small number of finished units for quality assurance purposes. If any issues are highlighted at this stage, the production line can be adjusted to ensure that all faults are ironed out by the time mass production begins.
Despite its role as a manufacturer for the eagerly-anticipated iPhone 6, Apple manufacturer Foxconn has announced July as being responsible for its lowest monthly earnings since March 2013.
Surprisingly this comes not long after Foxconn posted record earnings of $131.82 billion for 2013, while company chairman Terry Gou claimed that this year’s earnings would be even greater. Nonetheless the company’s consolidated revenues of just (!) $8.66 billion for the month of July represents a decrease of 17.91 percent on month, and 13.3 percent year-on-year.
So what’s responsible for the drop?
This time on The CultCast: thirsty Germans drink the tears of Brazilian children! Ohhh, sorry. Too soon? Also on the docket: the secret Apple eBay store is back at it and selling iPhones at absurdly low prices; we pitch a great new Siri feature we hope Apple bakes in; a Youtuber gets his hands on the iPhone 6’s sapphire screen, and its incredible durability is hard to believe; plus… GEEKN, the new segment where we divulge whatever gadget or activity we’re currently obsessing over. Stay tuned till the end for that.
Have a laugh and catch up on this week’s best Apple stories! Stream or download new and past episodes of The CultCast now on your Mac or iDevice by subscribing on iTunes, or hit play below and let the festivities begin.
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This week's Apple rumors are crazy for the iPhone 6
We get slammed 24/7 with new Apple rumors. Some are accurate, most are not. To give you a clue about what’s really coming out of Cupertino in the future, we’re busting out our rumor debunker each week to blow up the nonsense.
iPhone 6 rumor season is in full bloom this week with a rash of rumors spilling new details on everything from improved battery life, sapphire displays’ extreme durability, SIM trays, and even the robot army that will help assemble Apple’s newest smartphone.
This week we were also treated to new tidbits on the production schedules of the iWatch and next-gen MacBook Airs, but you’ll have to step right up to our crystal ball to see which of these rumors are the real deal, and which are just a bunch of smoke and mirrors.
Indestructible iPhone displays
The Rumor: The Sapphire crystal display on the iPhone 6 will be nearly indestructible.
The Verdict: This looks like some serious sorcery. YouTuber Marques Brownlee got his hands on an iPhone 6 sapphire display, which comes away completely unscathed from his brutal stress test. If this is the real deal, I will finally be able to go six months without shattering my iPhone.
iPhone 6 bares its soul
The Rumor: This is the inside of the iPhone 6 rear shell.
The Verdict: Looks like the real deal. We’ve already seen a number of rear shell leaks, but these pics fromFeld and Volk show detail on the complex internal components, even though the part is still unfinished. You can watch the entire video on Feld and Volk’s YouTube channel, which includes two enthralling shots of a SIM tray squeezing its way into the body.
More Macbooks, more problems.
The Rumor: The next MacBook Air may have hit a speed bump.
The Verdict: The future looks cloudy. Intel’s Broadwell U 2+3 dual-core chips are likely planned for use in the next MacBook Air and 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, but V-R Zone reports there have been production delays, meaning units might not ship until February 2015. If you’ve been dying for those Retina MacBook Air rumors to finally come true, you probably will have a few extra months of waiting to do.
Ludites beware, the robots are here.
The Rumor: Foxconn is enlisting an army of robots to help assemble the iPhone 6.
The Verdict: The robo-revolution is here. To speed up iPhone assembly, Foxconn has created 10,000 ‘Foxbots’ that can assemble around 30,000 iPhones each. Robots have been used to help automate the assembly process for years, but this is the biggest investment Foxconn has made yet, with each Foxbot costing around $20,000 - $25,000 a piece.
Bigger screen, same battery life
The Rumor: iPhone 6 will only get modest battery gains (if any at all).
The Verdict: Say it ain’t so? All I want is an iPhone I never ever have to plug in (or at least just once a day), but that’s not coming this year, reports Chinese site Sohu, whose supply chain sources says the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 will get a 1800mAh battery. That is bigger than the iPhone 5s’ 1570 mAh battery, but all that extra juice will go towards powering the iPhone’s bigger display.
Photo: Paul Hudson
Three little SIM card trays
The Rumor: These may or may not be the SIM trays for the iPhone 6
The Verdict:Yahtzee! We have a winner for this week’s stupidest iPhone 6 leak. Ok sure, maybe this does verify that the iPhone 6 will come in 3 colors (white, gold, and space grey) just like the iPhone 5s. Other than that, the only thing this leak reveals is how fast Apple fanboys get frothy with anticipation anytime you slap an “iPhone 6” label at the end of some volume and power flex cables.
The iPhone 6's secret weapon...
The Rumor: Haptic feedback will be the secret weapon of the iPhone 6.
The Verdict: Don’t get your hopes up. Asian supply sources have told Laoyaoba that the next iPhone will have advanced haptic feedback so tapping an onscreen button feels like a physical buttons. The feedback motors being used are supposedly more advanced than anything used in current smartphone. They also cost 3 times as much. But unless they take up minimal space, it’s unlikely Apple will add this gimmicky feature.
iWatch production delays
The Rumor: iWatch production won’t begin until November.
The Verdict: Sounds likely. We’ve yet to see a single hardware leak of the mythical iWatch, even though it was supposedly scheduled to enter production in September. Apple analyst Ming Chi-Kuo says Apple’s wearable won’t enter production until November, but would that give Apple enough time to build enough units for the Christmas season?
After seeing efforts from Samsung, Motorola and LG, maybe not too worried about the competition and would rather ship the best possible product a few months later.