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.

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!

Global chip shortage could make iPad and MacBook hard to find

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MacBook Air M1 2020
MacBooks may get a bit more elusive later in 2021.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

MacBooks and iPads could face severe delays later this year due to a global chip shortage. While Apple has done its best to insulate itself, the company is “not immune” from the “unprecedented supply crunch,” Nikkei Asia reports.

The lack of key computer components initially stemmed from factories shuttered at the start of last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, boosted demand resulting from “changing habits fueled by the pandemic” appear to have compounded the problem.

Apple ‘slashes’ orders for iPhone 12 mini

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iPhone 12 mini held up
Tiny in size. Tiny in demand. (At least by iPhone standards.)
Photo: Apple

The iPhone 12 mini is looking more and more like the runt of the iPhone 12 litter — and not just because of its diminutive size.

While the iPhone 12 series reportedly has been a massive hit for Apple overall, the iPhone 12 mini hasn’t been along for the ride. On Wednesday, Nikkei Asia reported that Apple is “slashing its planned production of the iPhone 12 mini for the first half of this year.”

Mac Pro factory in Texas exposes weakness of US manufacturing

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Mac Pro factory
Building in the U.S. brought plenty of challenges.
Photo: Apple

If you’ve ever wondered why Apple doesn’t do more manufacturing in the United States, a new report by Bloomberg offers a few answers. Covering the career of CEO Tim Cook, the article details the challenges of U.S. manufacturing, as epitomized by Apple’s Mac Pro factory in Austin, Texas.

“It was an experiment to prove that the U.S. supply chain could work as good as China’s, and it failed miserably,” a former senior manager is quoted as saying.

Apple can take years to part ways with rule-breaking suppliers, report claims

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Apple's relationship with Foxconn on the rocks
Tim Cook meeting with a worker in the supply chain.
Photo: Apple

Apple can reportedly drag its feet when removing repeat labor violation offenders from its supply chain, a new report from The Information claims.

Cupertino supposedly postpones taking action when it has no other companies lined up to pick up the slack, or in other scenarios that would cause financial damage due to delays or higher costs.

Another company in iPhone supply chain faces accusations of using forced labor

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iPhone 12 box
Lens Technology makes glass used in the iPhone.
Photo: Marco Verch/Flickr CC

Lens Technology, a Chinese company that makes glass for the iPhone, has allegedly made use of Uighur Muslim forced labor, according to a Tuesday report in The Washington Post.

Documents about the use of alleged forced labor were discovered by the Tech Transparency Project. The research organization detailed how “thousands of Uighur workers from the predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang were sent to work for Lens Technology.”

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.