New Apple iPhone Headphones Contract Awarded To Taiwan OEMs

The headphones that came with your iPhone box were made in Japan by a company named FOSTER. Those that come with the next generation iPhone may however come manufactured in Taiwan. Apple is learned to have ended its contract with FOSTER and has instead offered fresh contracts to two Taiwanese companies for the manufacture of these accessories. The total value of the contract is expected to be valued at over $300 million.

Cheng Uei, one of the companies who have been awarded the contract, will be manufacturing cords, speakers and control switches whereas Hon Hai, the other company will be inserting the wires and be assembling the ear buds. Apple has already engaged in business with both these companies. While Hon Hai aka Foxconn has bagged several high profile Apple contracts in the past, Cheng Uei is a company that Apple works with in the manufacture of chargers for the iPad.

Both companies are learned to be expanding their facilities to increase output.

New iPad Production Lines Open For Holiday Demand

Foxconn is reported to have opened up new plants in Chengdu, China to cater to ever growing demand for iPad that is expected to peak during the Christmas holiday season. The plant is producing only around 10,000 units a day at the moment. But that is expected to pick up over the next few months with the new plant expected to serve as a major supply hub by Q1, 2011. The annual capacity at that point is expected to be around 40 million units.

For a perspective on how Apple sees the demand for iPads growing, consider this. All the iPads supplied till now have come from Foxconn’s Shenzhen plant that has a monthly capacity of 2.5 million units. Do the math, and you know this is smaller than what the new Chengdu plant will serve.

Apple’s next generation iPad is expected to launch in April 2011 and the new plant should be running at full capacity by that time.

Nokia MeeGo Tablet Launch In Q4 2010

Taiwanese publication, DigiTimes has a moderate track record when it comes to leaking rumors. The latest revelation from the publication is about an impending launch of a Nokia Tablet that will run on MeeGo. If you remember, MeeGo is a Linux based operating system announced as a collaborative effort between Nokia and Intel during the Mobile World Congress in February this year.

According to a senior research analyst at DigiTimes, the tablet is being manufactured by Foxconn – also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry that is also the OEM for several other technology companies. The report notes that Nokia has already manufactured 100 engineering samples of the MeeGo tablet for testing purposes. The devices are said to have a display size between 7 inches and 9 inches.

As always, we will have to wait and watch if this one turns out true.

[via DigiTimes]

Foxconn To Move Units To Northern China In Two Months

Foxconn has had a rough few months with a spate of negative publicity followed by announcements to increase wages of employees by as much as two-thirds – so much so that the company is now feeling the pinch from shareholders to find ways to cut costs.

Consequently, it is now being reported that Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision tools may be moving their production units to other parts of China where the costs are lower. The cities being touted to replace the company’s massive unit in Shenzen are Tianjin, Yantai or Wuhan.

No massive layoffs are speculated and the employees are expected to be relocated. However, it is being reported that several employees are contemplating a move to another factory to stay back in Shenzhen.

[via China Daily]

Were Foxconn Employees Beaten To Death?

Foxconn has received a lot of negative press in the past few weeks owing to a spate of employee suicides. The suicides were blamed on the bad working conditions which led Foxconn to announce a substantial pay-hike to its employees last week.

But are these suicides actually homicides? A blogger who claims to be a Foxconn employee has now revealed that at least some of the “suicides” were actually homicides caused by the Foxconn security team.

The first time Foxconn was in the news to a related incident was when a Foxconn employee committed suicide after he lost an iPhone prototype. Back then, one of his friends had posted,

“Strongly condemn Foxconn’s security chief Zou Qinming. Sadly mourning our fellow student Sun Dangyong. They used illegal methods of assault, search, and detention to torture Sun Dangyong, causing him to choose to end his life. This is all caused by that group inside Foxconn; they hold undeniable responsibility.”

The recent spate of suicides too seem to have a similar pattern. Another Foxconn employee who claims to work in the logistics department says that these employees were actually beaten and insulted by the security department. The employee calls upon Security Department head Chinming Gu and his subordinate, Feng Liu as people without “any humanity”.

According to this employee, the ninth death on May 14 could not have been a suicide. He writes,

“A suicide victim could not have stabbed himself four times, then jumped off the roof, then flipped over the fence.”

These latest revelations are sure to open a whole new can of worms with respect to Foxconn’s working conditions and more importantly put pressure on MNCs like Apple to rethink their partnership with the manufacturer.

[via Epoch Times]

FoxConn Wants To Improve Your Dice-Gaming Experience

One might have assumed that FoxConn wants to claim proprietary rights to devices that can change apps, play music,etc. on shaking the device (which is prior art by the way). But no.  Taiwan based Hon Hai Precision, which is better known as FoxConn outside wants to patent a shake responsive handheld that will improve the experience while playing dice-games.

The patent application reads

“In general, such dice games are played by rolling the dice for the user automatically or based upon a simple button press, which differs significantly from the experience of physically rolling dice. In the real world, there is a causal relationship between physically tossing dice and observing the outcome that has made dice games so popular over the centuries. Therefore, there is a need to provide a handheld device that can be shaken to simulate dice rolling in the real world.”

Play dice games on smartphone with Foxconn devices

Wouldn’t you love shaking your phone instead of a dice?

Pegatron To Manufacture iPhone 4G – Not Foxconn?

Apple might have possibly replaced iPhone’s OEM for earlier versions, Foxconn Electronics with Pegatron Technology for the manufacture of the next generation of iPhone. This was reported by Taiwan publication, DigiTimes.

According to industry sources, Pegatron’s deal with Apple might already have been secured and the launch of the device is likely to be in late summer or fall of this year.

There has been a lot of anticipation over the next gen iPhone which is expected to be a “world phone” capable of running on both GSM and CDMA technology. While Qualcomm failed to deliver this technology for the iPad that was released earlier this year, a hybrid version is much anticipated on the new iPhone model though.

If these rumors are true, then it raises questions about why Apple broke its partnership with Foxconn. The Taiwan based company still holds the contract to manufacture Apple’s Mac, iPods and the soon to be launched iPad.

[via DigiTimes]