AirPods manufacturers sleep in factory ‘bubbles’ to avoid COVID-19

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Apple has big plans for the AirPods lineup.
It's all part of the effort to contain COVID.
Photo: Omid Armin/Unsplash CC

In order to quell the spread of COVID-19, at least one Apple supplier set up coronavirus “bubbles” for employees on its production lines, essentially sealing off workers from the outside world.

According to a Tuesday report by Nikkei Asia, several factories in Vietnam — including one owned by AirPods manufacturer GoerTek — took this precautionary measure as COVID-19 cases ramp up in the country.

Today in Apple history: MacBook Air becomes ‘world’s thinnest notebook’

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A plain manila envelope became a key stage prop for selling the MacBook Air.
A plain manila envelope became a key prop for selling the MacBook Air.
Photo: Apple

January 15: Today in Apple history: MacBook Air becomes 'world's thinnest notebook' January 15, 2008: Steve Jobs shows off the first MacBook Air at the Macworld conference, calling the revolutionary computer the “world’s thinnest notebook.”

The 13.3-inch laptop measures only 0.76 inches at its thickest point and 0.16 inches at its tapered thinnest. It also boasts a unibody aluminum design: An Apple engineering breakthrough allows the crafting of a complicated computer case from a single block of finely machined metal.

In a brilliant piece of showmanship, Jobs pulls the super-slim laptop out of a standard interoffice envelope during his keynote. (You can watch his introduction of the MacBook Air below).

iPhone 12 production runs 24 hours a day, with big bonuses for top workers

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Apple's relationship with Foxconn on the rocks
Tim Cook meeting with a member of the iPhone production line.
Photo: Apple

Production is running full-tilt for the iPhone 12, the South China Morning Post reported Tuesday.

According to the publication, production is running 24 hours per day, with no vacations allowed and mandatory overtime. There are also “juicy bonuses” for employees who put in the time.

For the first time, Apple builds current-gen flagship iPhone in India

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Foxconn moving additional iPhone production to India as coronavirus disrupts work
Apple is gradually scaling up its focus on Indian manufacturing.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

For the first time, Apple is manufacturing its current flagship iPhone in India, a Friday report from the Economic Times claims. The report says Foxconn is building the iPhone 11 at its plant near Chennai.

While many previous iPhones made in India have been manufactured for the local market, the story says Apple might export these devices internationally. Building some of its flagship iPhones in India would help lessen Apple’s reliance on China.

AirPods Pro owners scratch and sniff … blueberries

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AirPods Pro blueberries
Some AirPods Pro owners smell blueberries when they open their new earbuds. An expert says that's not surprising.
Photo: Envato Elements

Some AirPods Pro owners report an unusual smell emanating from the plastic and rubber casings of Apple’s hot new earbuds. Of all things, they say they detect a whiff of … blueberries.

One expert tells Cult of Mac the aroma could be deliberate, or simply a result of chemical compounds in the plastics.

Tim Cook might take Trump on tour of Texas Mac Pro factory

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Apple shares suffer biggest decline since August
Trump and Cook have had a complex relationship since 2016.
Photo: White House

Apple CEO Tim Cook and President Donald Trump will reportedly tour facilities in Austin, Texas, where the company makes its Mac Pro desktops.

The trip would be part of Trump’s ongoing efforts to highlight U.S. manufacturing. Last month, Trump toured the Louis Vuitton factory in Alvarado, Texas.

Apple wants to build new Mac Pro in US

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Mac Pro and Pro Display XDR orders start Tuesday
Who knew?
Photo: Apple

Apple would prefer to build the upcoming Mac Pro in the United States. In fact, the company is trying to make it happen, CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday.

“We’ve been making the Mac Pro in the United States and we want to continue doing that,” Cook said during Apple’s earnings call. “We’re working and investing currently in the capacity to do so. We want to continue to be there.”

Trump: Apple won’t receive special treatment for Mac Pro parts

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Mac Pro cheese grater
You might be better off with iMac Pro instead.
Photo: Apple

President Donald Trump said Friday that Apple will not receive special treatment for Mac Pro components made in China.

Apple submitted multiple requests asking the Trump administration to exclude certain Mac Pro parts from a 25% import tariff. But Trump says the U.S. government will not extend any special waivers or relief to Cupertino.

“Make them in the USA,” Trump tweeted.