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Today in Apple history: iPhone factory deaths spark investigation


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.

New China COVID-19 lockdowns could hit iPhone production hard


A new wave of lockdowns in China could put Apple millions of units behind on iPhone production.
A new wave of lockdowns in China could put Apple millions of units behind on iPhone production.
Illustration: Cult of Mac

Analysts note that new COVID-19 lockdowns in China are hitting Apple’s supply chain hard. And the pain will likely worsen, with production falling behind by up to 10 million iPhones.

And this is not just about iPhones. Authorities have halted production at three key suppliers for iPhone, iPad and Mac assembly. Meanwhile, Apple is negotiating to reopen production lines, though success could be hard to come by, according to one analyst Friday.

This follows recent news of assembly and shipping delays on built-to-order MacBook Pro models.

Wait for high-end MacBook Pro stretches into June amidst China lockdown


2021 MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max chips
It could be summertime before your MacBook Pro with an M1 Max is delivered. Blame COVID.
Photo: Apple

Order a MacBook Pro with an M1 Max processor and you’ll wait until June for a delivery. Wait times have grown to 7+ weeks because the company that assembles the notebook for Apple is caught in a COVID lockdown.

The same lockdown caught one of the major iPhone assemblers, and also two iPad assemblers. But it’s not affecting handset or tablet deliveries. Not to the same extent, anyway.

Apple manufacturers ramp up the bonuses to recruit enough iPhone 13 workers


This concept image shows how the iPhone 13 notch might shrink.
These iPhones aren't going to build themselves.
Artists concept: Cult of Mac

It’s iPhone production season, and that means that Apple manufacturers need to recruit enough workers to build them. While this seasonal demand happens every year, in 2021 it’s heightened by the worldwide labor shortage coming out of the pandemic.

As a result, Apple’s manufacturers are working hard to offer bonuses to tempt people to spend a few months on the production line. According to a report from Taiwan’s Economic Daily paper, manufacturer Pegatron is offering extra paychecks for both workers and those who recommend their friends for jobs.

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.

Apple puts one of its biggest manufacturers on probation


Apple won't give Pegatron new orders until it sorts out the issues.
Photo: Laurenz Heymann/Unsplash

Apple has placed Pegatron, one of its largest manufacturing partners, on probation after discovering the company violated Apple’s supplier code of contact. This relates to the unauthorized use of students carrying out overtime and night shifts.

Pegatron employees reportedly went “to extraordinary lengths” to cover up the wrongdoing. Apple has said that the manufacturing giant won’t get any new work from Apple until corrective action is made. However, it will continue building current iPhone handsets as per previous orders from Apple.

Apple battles rocky relationship with biggest manufacturing partner


Apple's relationship with Foxconn on the rocks
Apple's partnership with Foxconn isn't as rosy as it seems.
Photo: Apple

Apple’s partnership with Foxconn, its largest manufacturing partner, is “eroding” as a result of the supposedly shady tactics that Foxconn is using in an effort to boost profits, according to a new report.

It is claimed that Foxconn has exaggerated hiring counts, used Apple equipment to produce orders for other companies, and cut corners on component and product testing.