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Analysts: Tablet Could Offer ‘Stunning’ Graphics

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Apple’s much-awaited tablet device may include graphics capable of “stunning resolution” able to outshine the iPod, iPhone and possibly sound a death-knell for Amazon’s Kindle. The device, which many expect to see during the first quarter of 2010, may also offer a Webcam for mobile video conferencing, according to a survey of analyst speculation.

Analyst Laura DiDio of ITIC told CNNMoney.com the device will include a “high-end graphics card” for its 10- to 12-inch screen. “The tablet will change the game, because Apple will throw down the gauntlet at the competitors, and force them to follow along,” DiDio told the Web site.

Apple’s China Trips Latest Clue To Rumored Tablet?

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Apple engineers have reportedly become frequent visitors to China – and plan even more over upcoming holidays. The report, based on unnamed sources, is just the latest rumor the Cupertino, Calif. company is planning to unveil a Tablet Mac.

“A source tells us a system integration engineer friend of his at Apple has been ramping up his travels back and forth between China lately, broadcasting word of his travels over the Internet,”,” according to Business Insider. One of Apple’s best-known China-based hardware makers, Foxconn supposedly has marching orders to produce 300,000 tablet devices (which the NYTs calls ‘Slate’) each month.

Apple Working On XL Tablets With 13″ and 15″ Screens?

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Used with a CC-license, thanks to Sean (aka perfect pixel) on Flickr.

Extra-large Apple tablets with screen sizes measuring 13-inches and 15-inches have been spotted in China, and one was running OS X, according to Gizmodo.

Citing a “100% reliable” source, two prototype tablets were seen in a factory in Shenzuen, China. The touchscreen prototypes were made of aluminum and shaped like big iPhones, the source said.

One of them “was running Mac OS X 10.5.” When I asked, the source didn’t know if these were built for demonstration purposes, or if they were preproduction units. The company has a tight relation with Apple but “it’s not FoxConn.”

Many of the rumors surrounding the tablet have focused on a 10-inch model running the iPhone OS. But as we’ve noted before, Apple has made Snow Leopard a very touch-centric operating aystem, with scores of UI touches designed for fingers.

Of course, Apple is famous for its rigorous prototyping process and always makes hundreds of variations of upcoming products before deciding on the final form factor. But many observers think it’s only natural that Apple will eventually offer tablets with several different sizes, just like it offers different sized MacBooks, though possibly not at launch.

Report: Apple’s Tablet Just Weeks Away

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Apple will release its fabled touchscreen tablet as early as September, the Taiwanese paper Apple Daily claims. If true, the announcement is likely just weeks away. Apple will have to put the device on store shelves by the fall in time for the crucial holiday shopping season.

In a direct rebuttal of AppleInsider, whose sources say the tablet will be launched early next year, Apple Daily pegs a September release date for the device.

The paper details Apple’s suppliers: Wintek is providing the tablet’s touch-sensitive screen. Dynapack International Technology Corp. is supplying the batteries; and the whole device is being assembled by Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (Hon Hai’s Foxconn unit made headlines after a worker allegedly committed suicide after losing an iPhone prototype.)

The Apple Daily report jibes with Monday’s report from the Financial Times that Apple is working on a new, revolutionary kind of “digital album” codenamed “Cocktail” to accompany the tablet, which the FT also says will be launched this fall.

Family Of Dead Chinese Worker Awarded Compensation: $44,000 And a MacBook

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Former Foxconn employee Sun Danyong, who apparently committed suicide after losing an iPhone protoype.

The family of the Foxconn employee who reportedly committed suicide over a lost iPhone prototype has been compensated for his death, even though the company suspects him of industrial espionage, the New York Times reports.

The family of Sun Danyong, 25, received 300,000 renminbi, or more than $44,000, and his girlfriend got a new Apple laptop.

However, Foxconn, which makes iPods and iPhones under contract to Apple, says the employee had a history of suspiciously “losing” products, suggesting he might be involved in industrial espionage.

“The case also underscores the challenges that global companies face in trying to safeguard their designs and intellectual property in the hotly contested smartphone market, particularly here in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, an electronics manufacturing center known for piracy and counterfeiting,” the Times says.

Security Official Suspended After Employee Suicide Over Lost iPhone

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A dormitory at Foxconn's factory city in Shenzhen.

A security official has been suspended by Hon Hai Group after the suicide of an employee who lost an iPhone prototype, Bloomberg reports.

Hon Hai Group, one of the world’s largest contract electronics manufacturers, suspended a security official and turned the case over to Chinese authorities, the company said in a statement, but didn’t provide further details.

The security official is identified only by the surname “Gu.”

Last week, Sun Tanyong, a 25-year-old employee at Hon Hai’s Foxconn International Holdings unit committed suicide after losing one of 16 iPhone prototypes he was charged with mailing to Apple in California.

Tanyong leapt to his death off a dormitory at Foxconn’s factory city in Shenzhen. He had reportedly been subject to an illegal search and rough treatment by Foxconn security.

Hon Hai says it is unaware of the reasons behind Sun’s suicide, according to the statement.It offered the company’s condolences to Tanyong’s family.

Apple says it is awaiting the outcome of an investigation.

“We are saddened by the tragic loss of this employee,” spokesman Steve Dowling told Bloomberg. “We require that our suppliers treat all workers with dignity and respect.”

Foxconn is one of the largest contract makers of mobile phones, and produces Apple’s iPhone and iPods at its walled factory city. Home to 270,000 workers, the walled city has its own fire station and hospital, stores, restaurants, and recreation facilities. The giant factory also produces cell phones for Nokia and Motorola, Sony Playtation and Nintendo Wii, as well as PCs for Hewlett Packard and Dell.

Link.

Chinese Worker Commits Suicide After Losing iPhone Prototype

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Shenzhen, China Image credit: TrekEarth

Multiple reports Tuesday indicate a 25 year-old employee of Foxconn, one of Apple’s OEM suppliers in China, killed himself last week after losing a 4th generation iPhone which he had been instructed to ship to Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA.

Sun Danyong was a recent engineering graduate who worked in product communications for electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn in Shenzhen, a city in the booming industrial corridor between Guangzhou and Hong Kong.

On Thursday, July 9th, according to the first English-language report on the incident at Venture Beat, Sun got 16 prototype phones from the assembly line at a local Foxconn factory. At some point in the next few days, he discovered one of the phones was missing.

On Monday, July 13, he reported the missing phone to his boss. Then, that Wednesday, three Foxconn employees illegally searched his apartment. Accusations have reportedly been flying about the Chinese language Twittersphere that Sun was detained and physically abused during the investigation, although this has not been substantiated.

Shortly after 3am on Thursday July 16th, security cameras at Sun’s apartment building show him leaping to his death from a window in his apartment.

Asian Labor Unions Plan More Protests Targeting Apple

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Labor protesters demonstrating outside Apple’s Taiwan offices in May. The Apple laptop says “Responsibility.” Images: Global Post.

Asian labor unions will be putting more pressure on Apple on Tuesday with a protest at Computex Taipei, Asia’s largest electronics show.

The unions are hoping to force Apple to intervene in a labor dispute with one of the company’s major suppliers, Wintek, which makes LCD screens and is rumored to be working on the upcoming Mac/iPod tablet.

Wintek has been accused of unfairly laying-off workers and poor and exploitative working conditions in factories in Taiwan and mainland China. Wintek denies the charges.

The protest will “expose the reality to the public, and request Apple Inc. to execute its Code of Conduct, to end the exploitation of labors in Taiwan and China,” one of the unions said in a news release.

Workers Protest Labor Rights at Apple’s Taiwan Office

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Labor protestors outside Apple’s Taiwan Office on Thursday. The Apple laptop says “Responsibility.” Images: Global Post.

Apple’s office in Taiwan drew protesters on Thursday complaining about layoffs and unfair working conditions at one of Apple’s main contractors.

A group of 30 to 45 workers complained of exploitation at Wintek, one of Apple’s major suppliers of LCD panels. The company is rumored to be supplying screens for the long-awaited Apple tablet. The workers chanted slogans and held signs saying “black-heart business” and “responsibility” outside Apple’s office in Taipei.

“We want to go through Apple to put pressure on Wintek,” one of the protestors told the Global Post.

The workers hope the action will force Apple to enforce it’s Code of Supplier Responsibility, instituted after 2006 allegations of exploitation at an iPod factory run by Foxconn, another Apple supplier factories in mainland China.

Rumor: New iPhones will be Bigger, Better, Faster, More

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With less than a month to go before the anticipated launch of iPhone 3.0 firmware and a widely expected upgrade to the hardware, widely reported claims by a poster on a Chinese Apple fan site suggest the next version of Apple’s revolutionary smartphone will sport a faster processor, more disk storage and a much improved camera, among other upgrades.

The next gen device will have a 600MHz processor (up from the current 400MHz unit), 256MB of RAM (up from the current 128MB), up to 32GB of storage, a 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus, as well as a digital compass and FM radio, all while retaining the same battery, basic shape, and screen size, according to the poster, who claims to have a connection at Foxconn, Apple’s China-based OEM for the iPhone.

Could it be? If you’ve got your ticket to the sold-out WWDC ’09 coming up in San Francisco, you’ll likely be among the first to know.

[The iPhone Blog]