Apple is set to expand its environmental concern by teaming up with China’s Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs to audit its Chinese supply chain for pollution. Joint investigations are expected to start “in the next few weeks,” according to one report, with “a maker of printed circuit boards” the first of Apple’s suppliers to enter the spotlight.
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Apple is set to begin mass producing its next-generation MacBook Pros next month, according to sources in its supply chain — just in time to receive Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge processors. The 15-inch model will be first to hit the production line in April, with the 13-inch model, which is claimed to be the most popular, following in June.
While Apple has been actively seeking to improve the working conditions for employees at the Chinese factories manufacturing its products, a former executive for the Cupertino company believes it could do more. The trouble is, Apple’s infamous secrecy is getting in the way.
“We’re trying really hard to make things better,” said one former Apple executive. “But most people would still be really disturbed if they saw where their iPhone comes from.”
The Fair Labor Association (FLA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the civil rights and living conditions of factory workers around the world. Following the string of scandals and suicides throughout Apple’s supply chain, the Cupertino company has joined the FLA as a Participating Company.
Apple is the first technology company to join the FLA, and this will hopefully prompt many other industry leaders to do the same. The FLA will closely monitor Apple’s supply chain environments and help protect the rights of the workers that make the products we use every day.
Treating yourself to an iPad 2 this Christmas? Well, you may want to hold onto your cash for a few months. According to sources in Apple’s supply chain, manufacturers have already begun shipping parts and components for the iPad 3, which is expected to launch in just 3–4 months.
How does Apple do it? How do they keep secret products that require huge billion dollar deals, years of planning and cutting-edge technology up until the moment Apple wants to announce it? How does Cupertino consistently leap frog the competition to market with new products at such low prices, then keep that lead for years? And how does Apple do all of this while maintaining record profits and 40% gross margins?
BusinessWeek has a fantastic look at the intricacies of Apple’s supply chain, which is the best on Earth. The secret? Hoarding lasers, they cheekily suggest. But that’s not actually all that far off.