Apple supply chain - page 2

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


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.

Global chip shortage could make iPad and MacBook hard to find


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


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


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


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


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.”

$17 million ransomware attack reportedly hits MacBook manufacturer


The CIA has a team of more than 5,000 hackers.
Genuine photo of real-life hacker.
Photo: Brian Klug/Flickr CC

The last thing you need when you’re a manufacturer trying desperately to deliver orders for Apple is to be hit with a ransomware attack. According to a new report, that’s exactly what happened to Compal, maker of MacBooks, over the weekend — when it was reportedly hit with a massive $17 million extortion attempt.

The firm says that it was simply an “abnormality” in its system, but Taiwanese media claims that it was a cyberattack. This has seemingly been backed up by the website BleepingComputer, which obtained the ransomware note.

Mini LED chipmaker makes ‘better-than-expected’ progress in next-gen displays


iPadOS 14 Home screen widgets aren’t nearly as flexible as they are in iOS 14
Expect Mini LED displays to come to Apple devices next year.
Photo: Apple

Chinese LED chipmaker San’an Optoelectronics is reportedly making “better-than-expected” progress developing Mini LED technology it hopes will be used in Apple’s future Mini LED iPad and MacBook devices, a Tuesday report by Digitimes claims.

If all goes according to plan, San’an Optoelectronics will join Taiwanese LED chipmaker Epistar in producing the screen tech for Apple. It is expected to enter trial production by the end of this year and receive orders from Apple in 2022. Apple’s first Mini LED devices likely will debut in 2021.

Apple continues to rethink supply chain to get around US-China tensions


Apple's relationship with Foxconn on the rocks
Tim Cook speaking with a person on the iPhone production line.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s division of its supply chain into one part aimed at the China market and the other aimed at the rest of the world continues apace. The goal? Helping Apple get around rumbling trade tensions between the United States and China.

According to a Friday report from Digitimes, Apple is giving more orders to Chinese firms Luxshare Precision and BYD for the Apple Watch Series 6 and Wi-Fi iPad series, respectively.

Apple’s location-tracking AirTags are already in production


Apple AitTags are going to have to take on Tile.
AirTags could arrive sooner rather than later.
Concept drawing: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple’s item location-tracking AirTags are already in production, claims a Nikkei report published Tuesday. This suggests that AirTags, which have been heavily rumored for months, are likely on the verge of launching.

AirTags can be attached to items like a keychain or luggage and then be easily located using the “Find My” app on iPhone. This tags will use ultra-wideband technology to accurately determine their location. Recently, sounds discovered in iOS code gave an indication of how the AirTag-finding process will work.

Apple supplier preps factory that could make 2-nm chips for 2024 iPhone


Forget the current iPhone. TSMC is already planning for the 2024 update.
Photo: Apple

Apple A-series chip manufacturer TSMC has obtained land upon which it plans to build a 2-nanometer fabrication plant, the company’s senior vice president for operations revealed.

In a report published Tuesday, YP Chin said the next-next gen chip fab facility will be located in Hsinchu, a city in northern Taiwan. While there’s no confirmation on when the 2-nm chips will debut, if past patterns are anything to go by, it’s likely they will debut with the 2024 iPhone.

Apple’s biggest supplier splits its manufacturing to avoid being hit with tariffs


Apple's relationship with Foxconn on the rocks
Tim Cook meets with a person working on the production line building iPhones.
Photo: Apple

Apple manufacturer Foxconn said Wednesday that it plans to split its supply chain in two. One segment will service the China market, while the other will focus on the United States.

Foxconn chairman Young Liu said the manufacturing giant now operates 30% of its capacity outside China, up from 25% last June. In recent years, the company began moving manufacturing to other regions such as Southeast Asia to avoid possible tariffs on Chinese goods headed to the United States.

Apple reportedly imported clothes from Chinese company accused of forced labor


Apple Paris
Apple staffers' uniforms may have been partly manufactured by an accused company.
Photo: Apple

A Chinese company facing U.S. sanctions for using forced labor provided clothing or raw materials to Apple, possibly in the form of uniforms for its retail employees, claims The Guardian.

Changji Esquel Textile is one of a group of 11 companies that reportedly violated human rights in China’s western Xinjiang region. The company denies using forced labor “anywhere” in its business and says it will appeal its inclusion on the sanctions list.

iPhone 12 camera problem might have an upside for Apple


Ming-Chi Kuo says there's a problem with iPhone 12 camera lens.
Concept: PhoneArena

Apple reportedly encountered a problem with some of the camera lenses it plans to use for the iPhone 12. Specifically, some of the coatings for the wide-angle lens cracked during a high-pressure, high-humidity stress test, according to TF International Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

While that might not sound great, there’s actually no reason to panic. And the supply-chain problem might even wind up saving Apple a few bucks.

Apple pushes tech toward green manufacturing, this week on The CultCast


CultCast 442: AirPods with health sensors
Apple is definitely not neutral on going carbon neutral. (And neither are we.)
Image: The CultCast

This week on The CultCast: Apple — and the company’s entire supply chain — will be 100% carbon neutral by 2030, pushing the world of tech toward big changes. Plus: A powerful iOS 14 privacy feature will be great for consumers, but might kill the billion-dollar online ad industry. We’ll also tell you about some exciting new podcast features coming to Spotify, and wrap up with our favorite new gadgets on an all-new Under Review.

Our thanks to NETGEAR for supporting this episode. The Orbi WiFi 6 router gives you ultra-fast speeds and wider coverage throughout your home — it’s the biggest revolution in Wi-Fi ever. Check it out today at

Apple reportedly cuts 5G iPhone orders on fears of global recession


This iPhone 12 concept borrows from Samsung.
Is Apple cutting back on its orders for the future iPhone 12? It appears so.
Image: ConceptsiPhone

Apple reportedly cut orders for its future 5G iPhones with Chinese component makers, fearing a slowdown in orders as a result of what many economists are already calling the beginnings of a global recession. 

Chinese daily technology newspaper Digitimes reported Friday some component suppliers have been told by Apple they will not need as many parts for new iPhones, expected to be released later this year. Other suppliers now say that they too expect a slowdown in orders from the iPhone-maker.

Bullish analyst lays out best- and worst-case scenarios for Apple in 2020


2020 iPhone concept
Apple's 2020 could go one of a few different ways.
Photo: PhoneArena

The next three months are going to be crucial in determining Apple’s year ahead, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives writes in his latest note to clients, as seen by Cult of Mac.

In a message sent Sunday, Ives lays out his thoughts on best- and worst-case scenarios for Apple over the next few months amid fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. The results likely will have a major impact on Apple going forward.

Apple considers delaying 5G iPhone launch


iPhone 12 with LiDAR scanner
This is what the 2020 iPhone will probably look like.

iPhone fans dying for a 5G upgrade might be kept waiting a little bit longer thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.

Apple is reportedly having internal discussions debating whether to delay the launch of the 5G iPhone by months. The iPhone 12 was expected to be released this fall, but Asian news site Nikkei says supply chain problems might force the company to push the date back. And there’s something else worrying Apple execs, too.

Coronavirus pandemic continues to ‘hammer’ Apple’s supply chain


Hammer hammering
This is kind of like a metaphor.
Photo: Unsplash/Moritz Mentges

Apple’s supply chain is still weathering the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, a report published late Thursday by Bloomberg makes clear.

Even though China has seemingly overcome the worst of the coronavirus spread, Apple products are continuing the suffer the impacts. That is likely to manifest itself in the form of delays for new products and fresh batches of existing ones.

With iPhone SE 2 delayed indefinitely, source confirms Apple nixes rumored March event


iPhone 11 Pro
With new products not ready to sell and coronavirus concerns on the rise, a source says Apple postponed a planned product event.
Photo: Apple

Apple decided to postpone a March product launch event after continuing delays in the production of an expected successor to the iPhone SE, a source at Apple confirmed to Cult of Mac.

A number of other problems played into the decision to delay the event that was being planned, including the worsening impact of the COVID-19 strain of the coronavirus in California and elsewhere.

COVID-19 coronavirus could delay launch of 5G iPhones


Latest iPhone was 1 out of every 10 smartphones sold in US last quarter
Apple usually unveils its new iPhones in September.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus could hurt Apple’s plans to launch its first 5G iPhones in the second half of 2020, a new report claims.

According to a DigiTimes report Monday, Apple extended restrictions on employees traveling to parts of Asia until the end of April. The extension will delay tests for the next-generation iPhone that “could have a direct impact” on launch timing.

Apple’s biggest contract manufacturer had a rough February thanks to COVID-19


iPhone sales drive Apple’s biggest supplier to big profits
Foxconn had its worst February in a long time.
Photo: CBS

Apple’s biggest contract manufacturer, Foxconn, endured a rough February as the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak worsened in China.

The company, which is also the world’s biggest electronics manufacturer, suffered its biggest monthly drop in revenue in around seven years. Its earnings, announced Thursday, show an 18.1% decline in revenue versus the same period last year. This marks the company’s third straight month of decline.