Apple supply chain

Apple chipmaker moving ahead toward 2nm processors in 2025

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TSMC looks ahead to super-speedy 2nm processors
2nm processors made by TSMC will be faster while using less power than today's 5nm iPhone and Mac chips.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Getting 2nm processors into Mac and iPhone is reportedly proceeding as scheduled, and TSMC will begin making these in 2025.

The on-schedule progress report comes as very good news. Especially considering that the Taiwanese chipmaker ran into significant delays developing the 3nm processors currently in use.

Today in Apple history: iPhone factory deaths spark investigation

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Foxconn
Tim Cook visits one of Apple's factories in China.
Photo: Apple

December 11: Today in Apple history: Deaths at Pegatron iPhone factory spark investigation December 11, 2013: A Chinese labor rights group calls on Apple to investigate the deaths of several workers at a Shanghai factory run by iPhone manufacturer Pegatron.

Most controversially, one of the dead workers is just 15 years old. The underage worker reportedly succumbed to pneumonia after working extremely long hours on the iPhone 5c production line.

Macs get ready to heat up as iPhone 15 cools down [The CultCast]

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CultCast 615- MacBook Pro rumors.
Are we really going to see new MacBooks before the year ends?
Image: Cult of Mac

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: The latest MacBook rumor sounds enticing, but will it come true? It’s time to speculate. Meanwhile, the real fire talk is all about that big, toasty iPhone 15 Pro Max. Apple’s iOS 17 update fixes the overheating problem. (Frankly, “Thermalgate” seems about as overblown as “Printgate.”)

Also on The CultCast:

  • Did Apple screw up the iPhone 15 Pro’s Action button? We debate our fearless leader Leander Kahney’s controversial stance on the subject.
  • Apple’s got a secret plan to own its microLED display chain.
  • If you don’t like macOS Sonoma’s brilliant one-click desktop reveal, we’ll tell you how to turn it off. (We’ll try not to think less of you if you do.)
  • On the 12th anniversary of Steve Jobs’ death, we ponder the state of Apple’s leadership and vision.

Listen to this week’s episode of The CultCast in the Podcasts app or your favorite podcast app. (Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review if you like it!) Or watch the video live stream, embedded below.

Troubles behind it, iPhone 15 series moves into full production

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Coronavirus-related shutdowns continue to disrupt Chinese factories.
Workers in China and India are now assembling the iPhone 15 series.
Photo: Steve Jurvetson/Flickr CC

Apple and the companies assembling the iPhone 15 reportedly worked through all the significant production problems they faced making the next iOS handsets. They supposedly faced issues with the cameras, LCDs, batteries and titanium frame in upcoming models

After clearing those hurdles, the four models in the iPhone 15 series are now set for the launch that’s almost certainly happening in September.

Rumors of iPhone 15 Pro Max delays are greatly exaggerated

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iPhone 15 Pro Max Concept
Don't worry about rumors that the iPhone 15 Pro Max will be delayed.
Concept: Antonio De Rosa/ADR Studio

Despite earlier reports that customers might have to wait additional weeks for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, a trusted analyst says the companies in Asia assembling Apple’s top-tier handset will begin mass shipments this week.

It and three other iPhone 15 versions are expected to hit store shelves near the end of September, as usual.

Today in Apple history: iPad 2 leak lands insiders in prison

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The iPad Pro.
Leaking pre-release images could land you behind bars.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

June 15: Today in Apple history: iPad 2 leak lands insiders in prison June 15, 2011: Three people get sentenced to prison in China for leaking information about the iPad 2 prior to its release.

The Foxconn R&D employees receive sentences ranging from one year to 18 months. They also must pay fines between $4,500 and $23,000. If you ever wonder why more Apple products don’t leak prior to release, this might help explain why!

Wistron drops out of iPhone assembly in India

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Wistron drops out of iPhone assembly in India
Wistron is taking itself off the list of companies that assemble iPhone in China.
Photo: Wistron

The first company to assemble iPhone in India is reportedly getting out of the business. Wistron is selling the plant where it puts together Apple handsets to Tata Group, an Indian multinational based in Mumbai.

At the same time, Foxconn and Pegatron continue to grow their commitments to manufacturing iPhones in India.

5 reasons to ignore Apple’s rare revenue dip

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Apple logo overlayed in front of a stormy sky with sun breaking through the clouds, and the text,
Despite a 3% year-to-year drop in quarterly revenue (to "only" $94.8 billion), Apple delivers plenty of reasons for optimism.
Photos: Michael & Diane Weidner and Sumudu Mohottige/Unsplash License/Modified by Cult of Mac

Perhaps the best phrase to describe the results of Apple’s most recent financial quarter is, “It could have been worse.” Total revenue dropped 3% as the company battled inflation and other macroeconomic problems not of its making.

Still, Apple’s quarterly numbers beat the overly pessimistic Wall Street estimates. And there is more good news buried in the results Apple reported Thursday (and in the company’s earnings call with investors). Read on for five reasons to be optimistic about Apple’s future.

iPhone modem-maker gets ready for faster 5G Advanced in 2024

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iPhone modem maker gets ready for faster 5G Advanced in 2024
The Qualcomm X75 modem will almost certainly appear in a future iPhone and add support for 5G Advanced.
Image: Qualcomm

Qualcomm, the chipmaker that supplies the 5G modems in all iPhones, on Wednesday unveiled the X75, its next-generation modem that will be the first to support 5G Advanced. This emerging cellular-wireless standard will give a speed boost to cellular-wireless networks and make mobile VR/AR more practical.

The X75 probably will be used in the iPhone 16 when it launches in 2024.

5 upbeat takeaways from Apple’s optimistic earnings call

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A rainbow Apple logo looms over a cloudy sky with the sun peeking through. The words
Wall Street might not be happy right now, but Apple sees strong growth ahead.
Image: Cult of Mac, based on photos by Aaron Burden and Sumudu Mohottige/Unsplash License

Although Apple’s December 2022 quarter was something of a disappointment, thanks to declines in revenue and profits, company executives accentuated the positives whenever possible during an earnings call with investors on Thursday.

Here are some upbeat developments coming out of Apple’s Q1 2023 financial results, including a significant milestone in active users and a big jump in iPad revenue.

Protests at iPhone assembly plant could cost Apple billions

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Protests at iPhone assembly plant could cost Apple billions
Millions fewer iPhone 14 Pro units are supposedly going to be produced because of worker complaints about living conditions at the assembly plant.
Graphic: Cult of Mac/Daily Loud

Protests at a Foxconn plant in China where the two iPhone 14 Pro models are assembled will allegedly cut deeply into the supply of these handsets. Millions of units that would have been produced in 2022 without the protests supposedly now will not be.

Workers clashed with police during recent COVID-19 lockdowns at the plant, known as “iPhone City” due to its strategic importance to Apple.

iPhone 15 rumors will get you thinking about the future [The CultCast]

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The CultCast Apple podcast: iPhone 15 rumors: Coming soon to an iPhone near you?
Coming soon to an iPhone near you?
Image: Cult of Mac

This week on Cult of Mac’s podcast: The latest iPhone 15 rumors make it sound like we’re getting some major changes on the design front. And, while the switch from Lightning to USB-C sounds like a winner, Apple might pull one of its irritating tricks by making a handy feature exclusive to the iPhone Pro models next year.

Also on The CultCast:

  • Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals on your favorite Apple gear.
  • COVID-19 chaos in the Chinese factory complex known as “iPhone City” points to further supply-chain disruptions for Cupertino.
  • Find My miracles!
  • Mondo’s Severance collectibles look like a really cool way to dig deeper into the most creative show on Apple TV+.

Listen to this week’s episode of The CultCast in the Podcasts app or your favorite podcast app. (Be sure to subscribe and leave us a review if you like it!) Or watch the video live stream, embedded below.

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Bad news for Xmas: Apple’s largest factory forced into ‘total lockdown’

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Foxconn building
Foxconn is Apple's biggest contract manufacturer.
Photo: Puddingworld, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons

Days after reports of Foxconn employees hopping fences and fleeing from their jobs, a report late Wednesday from Taiwan News says Apple’s biggest iPhone factory is now on “total lockdown.” These new restrictions may have a big impact on Apple’s sales during the crucial holiday period.

Foxconn, whom Apple contracts to manufacture the lion’s share of iPhones, Macs and other Apple products, has had employees stay in on-site dormitories in a “closed-loop system” to prevent COVID outbreaks. Employees have been complaining about the “increasingly unsafe and inhumane working conditions” of the dorms.

Why iPhone 14 Plus is delayed until October

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Why iPhone 14 Plus is delayed until October
No one can get their hands on the iPhone 14 until October. Here's why.
Photo: Apple

Three of the new iPhone 14 series models first reach customers on September 16, but not the iPhone 14 Plus. That’s on hold for three extra weeks.

Apple didn’t explain the delay, but an analyst has the likely reason why: Cupertino can’t get enough of a critical component.

Apple takes another step to avoid iPhone 14 shortage at launch

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iPhone 14 Pro models may get an always-on display, finally.
A new Chinese company has joined the iPhone 14's supply chain for the first time.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Apple seemingly diversified its supply chain by adding a new component supplier for the iPhone 14 lineup. Chinese company SG Micro has acquired the necessary certifications to supply components for the high-end iPhone 14 Pro series.

The move comes as Apple looks to avoid disruptions in its supply chain due to external factors.

Your next iPad could come from Vietnam

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iPad Air 5
COVID-19 lockdowns in China force Apple to diversify iPad production.
Photo: Apple

The lockdown in Shanghai and nearby regions, and China’s strict zero-COVID policy, have forced Apple to move some iPad production out of the country and to Vietnam for the first time.

The company already expects to take an $8 billion revenue hit in the ongoing quarter due to supply chain disruptions caused by the Chinese lockdowns.

Why you’re waiting 10 weeks for a new MacBook Pro or Mac Studio

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MacBook assembly restarts after COVID-19 lockdown: There's a light at the end of tunnel of long MacBook Pro wait times.
You can blame COVID-19 for the lengthy wait for new Macs.
Photo illustration: Cult of Mac

Wait times for some Macs now stretch into August. Apple manufacturer Quanta Computer simply can’t assemble enough units to meet demand, as its workers revolt at lengthy COVID-19 lockdowns.

The delays caused by the lockdowns, enforced by the Chinese government in an attempt to control the spread of the highly transmissible disease, are not just irritating to customers, though. Apple predicts the problem will mean an $8 billion hit to its revenue.

Workers at Apple supplier Quanta riot over COVID-19 restrictions

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Workers at Apple-supplier Quanta riot over COVID restrictions
Quanta employees clashed with guards on Thursday night.
Photo: RFA

New video out of China shows workers at a MacBook assembly plant in Shanghai fighting with security guards. The Quanta Computer employees have been forced to live at their workplace for weeks amidst COVID-19 lockdowns ordered by the Chinese government.

The workers apparently hoped to leave the facility to go shopping.

MacBook assembly restarts after COVID-19 lockdown

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MacBook assembly restarts after COVID-19 lockdown: There's a light at the end of tunnel of long MacBook Pro wait times.
There's a light at the end of tunnel of long MacBook Pro wait times.
Photo illustration: Cult of Mac

Everyone waiting for a new MacBook Pro to be delivered can take heart from a report that Quanta Computer has restarted assembling Apple notebooks. This comes after its assembly plant in Shanghai had been temporarily closed as part of the Chinese government’s attempts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

In the meantime, though, wait times for top-tier MacBooks now stretch into July.

Apple pushes February MacBook Pro orders back to June

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Apple pushes February MacBook Pro orders back to June
Buying a high-end MacBook Pro requires money and patience.
Photo: Cult of Mac

People who ordered a top-tier MacBook Pro in February are being notified that it won’t be delivered until June. The delay results from COVID-19 lockdowns in China hampering notebook assembly.

New orders also face delays of several months, making a refurbished 2021 MacBook Pro a better option for some buyers.

Apple’s M1 and A-series chipmaker prioritizes Cupertino over other customers

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Apple A15 concept
That should make it more likely that iPhone 13 ships on time.
Concept: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

There’s a global semiconductor shortage, but Apple’s got a leg up on some of its rivals. According to a Tuesday report from Digitimes, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the world’s largest chip fab, says it will prioritize Apple orders.

TSMC builds the A-series chips for iPhones, as well as the M1 chip for Macs and the latest iPad Pro. The company is currently working on the new A15 chips for this year’s iPhone refresh. Beyond that, it’s gearing up to produce next year’s A-series chips, which will be made with either a 4-nanometer or 3-nanometer process.