It’s been almost two years since Apple announced the Retina MacBook Pro, and it’s still the only Mac with a Retina display. But according to sources in Apple’s supply chain, that’ll change this summer when the Cupertino company finally unveils the Retina MacBook Air.
Apple has released its eighth annual Supplier Responsibility Progress Report.
The forty-page document focuses on Apple’s progress in providing the 1 million+ people working in its supply chain with “safe and ethical working conditions,” as well as the company’s efforts to ethically source minerals.
By now you should know that it takes an incredibly complex, efficient system to build Apple products overseas, assemble them, and ship them thousands of miles to then show up at your doorstep in the arms of a friendly mailman. Apple’s attention to detail extends outside of its Cupertino HQ to every area its business touches, including the machinery that makes the products overseas.
For 2014, Apple has committed to spending a record $10.5 billion on new manufacturing technology, according to a new report. Apple outspends all of its competitors to get exclusive deals on unique machinery that is needed for its product designs.
Apple is reportedly teaming up with new suppliers to boost production of the iPhone 5c and the iPad mini to meet strong consumer demand, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Wistron Corp., a manufacturer based in Taiwan that already produces smartphones for BlackBerry and Nokia, will be tasked with assembling the iPhone 5c; while Compal Communications, which currently works with Acer, Dell, Lenovo, and others, will manufacturer the iPad mini.
Apple is gearing up to launch its fifth-generation iPad this September, according to sources in its supply chain. The device is expected to offer a new form factor much like the iPad mini’s, as well as some backlighting modifications and better battery life.
We may have to wait a little longer for the second-generation iPad mini, however. The sources claim Apple is still deciding whether to bring a Retina display to the 7.85-inch device, and if it does, the launch could be delayed until “the end of the fourth quarter.”
Apple has been praised by Chinese environmental activist Ma Jun for its “aggressive” adoption of progressive environmental policies in China. The Cupertino company, which initially refused to cooperate with the Beijing-based Institute of Public & Environmental Affairs (IPE), has gone further than any of its peers in the technology industry, Ma said.
The iPhone 5S could come with a sapphire crystal capacitive touch home button that incorporates a new fingerprint sensor, according to supply chain sources in Taiwan.
Apple is expected to do away with the traditional physical home button, which has long been one of the most unreliable components on iOS devices. It’s thought that using sapphire crystal, which has a hardness second only to diamond, will prevent the button from getting scratched and ruining the fingerprint sensor.
Apple’s suppliers are to begin shipping components for the next-generation iPhone by the end of May, ready for the handset’s launch during the third-quarter of 2013, according to sources in the supply chain. As suspected, the device won’t be a major upgrade, the sources claim, but rather a “slightly enhanced” version of the iPhone 5 that’s likely to be called the iPhone 5S.
Last year, Apple launched its Labor and Human Rights page to give some transparency to the human rights controversy’s it’s been having with supply chain workers. Along with numerous explanations on what Apple is doing to make sure its supply chain workers are treated fairly, the company releases the percentage of supplier work-hour compliance every month.
For the first time since Apple started tracking its supplier work-hour compliance metric, they just hit 99% compliance in January 2013.