This ugly case disguises iPhone prototypes in the wild

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Apple is ultra-protective of prototype iPhones.
Apple is ultra-protective of prototype iPhones.
Photo: Sonny Dickson

It’s no secret that Apple loves to keep products secret, but thanks to a new leak we can now see the crazy lengths the company goes to just to keep prototype iPhones under wraps.

Notorious Apple leaker Sonny Dickson has put out some new images of an ugly iPhone case allegedly used by Apple to keep the iPhone 6s secret. From the outside it doesn’t look like much, but there are a bunch of tiny details that help Apple keep features from leaking.

Apple pushes suppliers to take a price cut to secure orders

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Tim Cook meeting an iPhone manufacturer in China.
He's a shrewd operator is Tim Cook!
Photo: Apple

Unsurprisingly for a company with the kind of success Apple has experienced, it is quite adept at driving a hard bargain.

According to a new report, Apple has been trying to maintain its high gross margin at a time of slowing smartphone demand by asking its suppliers to work for less money. Major suppliers Largan Precision, Foxconn and Pegatron Technology have all been affected.

Apple broadens its supply chain to maximize profit margins

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Things have gotten slightly worse for Apple's supply chain workers. Photo: Apple
Tim Cook meets with members of Apple's manufacturing team. Photo: Apple

Apple is reportedly keeping its options open when it comes to selecting manufacturing partners for the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch by broadening the number of companies it contracts work out to.

In other words, those supply-and-demand issues that have hit Apple in recent years shortly after new product releases could soon be a thing of the past.

Overtime got worse for Apple’s supply chain workers in 2014

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Things have gotten slightly worse for Apple's supply chain workers. Photo: Apple
Things have gotten slightly worse for Apple's supply chain workers. Photo: Apple

Apple has been getting tougher and tougher on its supply chain. Just yesterday, for example, Apple banned suppliers who used ‘bonded servitude’ as a way to keep workers on assembly lines. Overall, under Tim Cook’s conscientious leadership, conditions just continue to improve for the employees who make our iPhones and iPads.

But there is one way in which conditions have gotten worse for Apple’s supply chain employees. Although Apple limits factory workers to a 60-hour-work week, more supply chain workers went over that amount in 2014 than in 2013. But don’t start pulling your knives out just yet.

BBC shines spotlight back on Apple’s poor working conditions in Asia

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Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

In a documentary set to air tonight called Apple’s Broken Promises, BBC One went undercover at Pegatron, one of Apple’s main supply chain partners in China. The findings from inside Pegatron’s walls show that “Apple’s promises to protect workers were routinely broken,” according to the report.

Another alarming revelation was that Apple could be using tin dug by impoverished children in illegal Indonesian mines. Apple is denying the allegations, but BBC One is committed to unearthing a sensitive topic the iPhone maker has spent years trying to put to rest.

Excessive overtime and poor safety accusations aimed at Apple supplier

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Supplier Responsibility Progress Report
A worker in Apple's Chinese supply chain.

Another Apple supplier is facing accusations concerning violations of labor rights and lapses in workplace safety.

The supplier in question is Taiwanese company Catcher Technology, which produces the metal casings for iPads as well as parts for the iPhone, plus components for other tech companies. The allegations concern a factory in the Chinese city of Suqian.

Among the accusations raised in a Thursday report by environmental nonprofit Green America and workers’ rights group China Labor Watch are the fact that employees are made to work excessive overtime hours, and handle toxic chemicals without the proper protective clothing.

Apple’s Supply Chain Is Promising A Retina MacBook Air For 2014

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Grab a great deal on a refurbished MacBook Pro Ivy i5 Dual 13
Grab a great deal on a refurbished MacBook Pro Ivy i5 Dual 13" Laptop.
Photo: Cult of Mac

It’s been almost two years since Apple announced the Retina MacBook Pro, and it’s still the only Mac with a Retina display. But according to sources in Apple’s supply chain, that’ll change this summer when the Cupertino company finally unveils the Retina MacBook Air.

Apple Outspends Competitors For Exclusive Deals On Unique Supply Chain Machinery

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Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 3.57.22 PM

By now you should know that it takes an incredibly complex, efficient system to build Apple products overseas, assemble them, and ship them thousands of miles to then show up at your doorstep in the arms of a friendly mailman. Apple’s attention to detail extends outside of its Cupertino HQ to every area its business touches, including the machinery that makes the products overseas.

For 2014, Apple has committed to spending a record $10.5 billion on new manufacturing technology, according to a new report. Apple outspends all of its competitors to get exclusive deals on unique machinery that is needed for its product designs.