MacBooks may be in short supply after March

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The MacBook Pro has a Touch Bar, and a better display.
The coronavirus outbreak means it isn’t a good time to procrastinate on a MacBook purchase.
Photo: Apple

Now might be the best time to buy that MacBook you’ve been considering. Factory shutdowns in China because of the coronavirus outbreak will reportedly lead to shortages of components needed to make laptops.

3 companies could take over Apple Watch production

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watchOS 5 Face
Your next Apple Watch could be made by Foxconn, who also assembles iPhone and iPad.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple Watch might go through a big change behind the scenes. Until now, this wearable has been assembled mostly by Quanta, but that’s reportedly going to change next year. No less than three companies are going to take on the job.

Apple moves Mac Pro production to China

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Mac Pro
No longer made in the USA.
Photo: Apple

The only Apple device that is produced in the U.S. is about to have its manufacturing operations moved overseas.

Apple reportedly plans to make its expensive new Mac Pro in China according to a new report that claims an assembly partner has already been lined up. The previous “trash can” Mac Pro was made at an Apple facility in Austin, Texas where the company also has a software engineering hub.

Apple wants to cut down on manufacturing in China

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Foxconn employees accused of $43 million iPhone scam
Tim Cook meets one of the people working on the iPhone factory line.
Photo: Apple

Apple has reportedly asked its main suppliers to evaluate the cost of shifting 15% to 30% of their production from China to Southeast Asia.

This is a response to the burgeoning China and U.S. trade war, which has already impacted Apple’s share price. If new tariffs go into effect, it could drive up the cost of Apple devices considerably.

Today in Apple history: Early iPad rumor gets Apple fans buzzing

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iPad Pro 2
According to the rumor, Apple was launching a 15-inch tablet.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

April 13: Today in Apple history: Early iPad rumor gets Apple fans buzzing April 13, 2005: The tech world gets excited when a sketchy rumor suggests Apple is building a tablet computer.

The Chinese-language report claims Quanta will build a 15-inch touchscreen tablet PC with detachable keyboard. Apple will supposedly ship the device in the first quarter of 2006. Things don’t turn out quite like that, but the rumor offers the first hint about Apple’s secret iPad project.

Apple investigates reports of underage workers at Apple Watch factory

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App Home Screen Apple Watch Series 4
The incident allegedly took place at Apple manufacturer Quanta.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple has said that it will investigate allegations that one of its manufacturers used high school students to build Apple Watches in China.

The news came to light late last week, when the Hong Kong-based labor rights group Students and Scholars Against Corporate Misbehavior (SACOM) said it had received a report. Today, Apple issued a statement saying previous audits revealed no cases of underage labor, but that it will carry out its own investigations.

MacBook won’t get a major upgrade in 2018

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13 inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
Apple's reportedly not planning a major MacBook refresh this year.
Photo: Apple

Apple has no plans for a major upgrade to its MacBook line this year, a report claims. The last time Apple gave a major upgrade to the MacBook was in 2016, when Apple introduced the Touch Bar.

Provided this is accurate, it may disappoint customers who view the introduction of the iMac Pro as proof that Apple is placing renewed emphasis on its Mac product line.

Apple Watch competition hots up with second supplier

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Apple Watch
It will deliver a big boost to one Apple supplier.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple has reportedly added a second Apple Watch supplier to its manufacturing chain.

Until now, Quanta Computer has been the only assembler of Apple’s wearable, but Compal Electronics is expected to begin shipping Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2 units in the second half of 2017.