Apple shares annual Supplier Responsibility report with new suppliers causing elevated numbers of “core infractions”

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Apple’s 12th Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, which details the working conditions at its various supplier facilities, has been released today. At first glance, it appears violations are on the rise, but there is also a simple explanation…. Read the rest of this post here

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Apple finds labor and environmental policy violations for suppliers

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(Reuters) — Apple said on Wednesday that it had found violations of its labor and environmental policies for suppliers, such as falsifying work hours data, as it expanded the scope of its annual audit of conditions of workers making its iPhones and other products.

Apple runs one of the largest manufacturing chains in the world, but most of the work is done at factories owned by contractors.

Apple audited 756 suppliers in 30 countries, 197 of which it was auditing for the first time.

Apple said in its annual supplier responsibility report that the proportion of “low performers,” or suppliers scoring less than 59 points on its 100-point scale, fell to 1 percent in 2017 from 3 percent in 2016 and 14 percent in 2014. “High performers” with scores of more than 90 rose to a record high of 59 percent from 47 percent the year before.

Apple found 44 so-called “core violations” of its labor rules in 2017, double the previous year. Those included three instances of employees forced to pay excessive fees for a job, a practice Apple banned in 2015.

In one case, over 700 foreign contract workers recruited from the Philippines were charged a total of $ 1 million to work for a supplier. Apple said it forced the supplier to repay the money.

Compliance with Apple’s 60-hour work week fell to 94 percent of suppliers from 98 percent the year before. Moreover, Apple said it uncovered 38 cases of falsification of working hours data in 2017, up from 9 cases the year before.

Apple said the increase was driven by the fact that it brought on a number of new suppliers in 2017 and started tracking the working hours data of 1.3 million supplier employees, 30 percent more than in previous years.

In the report, Apple also said it was launching a new women’s’ health initiative at its supplier plants, with a goal of reaching 1 million women by 2020. And it said that it had launched a program in China to train workers to become factory line leaders, who often make 20 percent to 30 percent more than line workers.

On Wednesday, Apple also issued its so-called conflict minerals report, which is required by United States securities regulators. The report lists suppliers of sensitive metals such as tin and gold.

Apple company said that 16 smelters and refiners left its supply chain in 2017, 10 of which were dropped because they would not participate in a third-party audit of their practices. Six left of their own accord.

Apple also outlined new rules on student labor after a discovery last year that some Chinese students were working more than 11 hours a day assembling its iPhone X.

Apple – VentureBeat

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Apple suppliers Qualcomm & Broadcom to meet directly to talk $121B acquisition deal

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Qualcomm and Broadcom will reportedly meet on Wednesday in order to discuss the latter’s $ 121 billion takeover offer, despite Qualcomm’s repeated rejections in the past.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News

Report: Apple suppliers easing off iPhone production following peak holiday season, iPhone 8 orders less than expected

Apple suppliers will be lowering component manufacturing for iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus in the first quarter of this year following the peak holiday season. Via Digitimes, lower orders are mostly from seasonality trends but some sources noted that iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 sales have not been as strong as expected and are ‘dragging down’ iPhone X momentum in terms of overall iPhone production.

iPhone 8 component orders apparently began falling off during the final months of 2017 which is unusual for flagship iPhone sales. However, even Apple admitted on its last earnings call that it doesn’t really know how customers would react to a three flagship iPhone product mix, so comparisons to expectations may not be significant.



Apple Met with AR Glasses Component Suppliers at CES

Apple met with suppliers who produce components required for augmented reality glasses at CES this week, according to a new report.

That tidbit of information was buried in a story published by Bloomberg on Friday. Reportedly, Apple representatives met with firms that manufacture the “nuts and bolts” required to make AR glasses a reality, but the publication gave no additional information about the meeting, what was discussed, or which companies Apple met with.

Along with Apple, Bloomberg noted that representatives from Google and Facebook also met with AR parts suppliers at CES.

Despite the lack of details about the meeting, Bloomberg’s report is yet another piece of evidence that corroborates previous rumors of an augmented reality platform under development at Cupertino. Those rumors have been swirling the tech industry for years, but the pace of reports has picked up in the last few months.

Apple Glasses

Last November, Bloomberg reported that Apple was working on a “breakthrough product” that could eventually leapfrog the iPhone as the company’s flagship device. That device would be a standalone augmented reality platform that would have its own display, processor and even a custom operating system internally dubbed “rOS” (for reality operating system).

At the time, Apple’s engineers were reportedly refining how a customer would interact with the AR glasses and its OS, exploring everything from hand gesture-based controls to touch panels and Siri voice activation. Presumably, the company has made progress on the UI and UX elements of the product by now.

Engineers were also testing prototypes of a wide variety of applications, including virtual meeting rooms and 360-degree video playback. When it launches, the AR headset could even have its own version of the App Store.

Apple’s rOS team, which also worked on the company’s ARKit platform for iOS, is also said to be working on several other projects under the internal code name of “T288.” But if the reports are true, then it’s worth venturing that an AR product could the most important project they’re developing.

Supplier Reports

But while Apple’s engineering teams are hard at work developing the software and operating system, Apple has also made recent modes to built out the hardware for its augmented reality device.

A supply chain report published by Nikkei in November suggested that Apple had tapped one of its metal casing suppliers, Catcher Technologies, to help it produce the frames for its AR device.

Also in November, another Apple supplier hinted that a breakthrough AR device was on the horizon. Quanta Computer, which assembles MacBooks and Apple Watches for Cupertino, announced that it was working on the optical technologies for an AR product.

Again, we’re not sure what suppliers Apple met with at CES this week, but the fact that they did suggests that the company is already laying the groundwork for the production of its AR glasses.

Apple Glasses Release Date

The timing of such a device hitting the market is still a bit hazy at this point. Sources familiar with Apple’s plans, market analysts, and supplier comments all seem to suggest a tentative launch date in 2019 or 2020.

Bloomberg reported that Apple would have the underlying technology ready by 2019, but added that the actual device would be unlikely to hit shelves until 2020. With recent reports, however, it’s certainly seeming like an Apple AR headset is on the way — and could hit shelves sooner than later.

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Suppliers of iPhone X components report lowering orders

Analysts have been reporting strong growth for the iPhone X, but that is contradicted by reports from several sources close to the component supply chain. The launch push is over – limited by a shortage of difficult to manufacture components, shipping times quickly shot up to 4-5 weeks. Yields improved and the wait times dropped to 1-2 weeks. But now that the early adopter rush is over, it seems that demand is lagging behind the predictions. With demand for key component not growing as strong as expected, the sources are concerned that Apple may reduce its iPhone X shipment target for… – Latest articles

Europe’s Power Suppliers Plan to Go Carbon-Neutral “Well Before” 2050

Carbon Neutral Continent

Eurelectric, a major trade body which represents 3,500 power companies throughout Europe has made a crucial announcement regarding the path toward carbon neutrality. The electricity industry group has announced that it has accelerated its aim to supply carbon-neutral energy to “well before” 2050. This reiteration of commitment was laid out in the group’s new long-term vision.

Eurelectric aims to achieve a “competitive reliable carbon-neutral electricity mix” before the middle of the century. The statement supports initiatives that will ensure a “fair transition” to allow for the effective management of geographical and social impacts resulting from the transition.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

This transition involves the investment in clean power, supporting the development and implementation of smarter grid technology, and the reduction of emissions from other sectors like heating and transport. Alistair Philips-Davies, vice president at Eurelectric and CEO of SSE declared that “The investment required in clean electricity and transition-enabling technologies is huge. This statement reflects our full commitment to invest in innovation, to build new cross-sector business models, and ensure that electricity keeps creating value in decades to come,” in a statement. The commitment also calls on policy-makers to do their part in making this vision a reality.

Moving Europe Forward

More businesses have begun to embrace renewable energy as its prices continue to drop and building new renewable-energy-generating operations are becoming cheaper than maintaining existing fossil fuel burning plants. Efforts to move toward cleaner energy allow cost savings, especially in the long-run, across the board.

There is no exact timeline for the new outlook to complete its goals. However, this plan is an update on a previous initiative announced in 2009 which set the middle of the century as the goal. The new plan accelerates this goal and the result of this could lead to a cleaner Europe years before we previously thought possible.

The post Europe’s Power Suppliers Plan to Go Carbon-Neutral “Well Before” 2050 appeared first on Futurism.


Cisco and Siemens come out on top as leading smart city suppliers

Cisco and Siemens lead the list of smart city suppliers in a new report prepared by Navigant Research.

The study, titled “Navigant Research Leaderboard: Smart City Suppliers”, examined the strategy and execution of 16 prominent smart city suppliers with the faculty to provide leadership on extensive smart city projects across various operational and service areas.

The list was prepared by taking 10 criteria into consideration: vision; go-to-market strategy; partners; product strategy; geographic reach; market presence; sales & marketing; product performance and features; product integration; and staying power.

Eric Woods, research director at Navigant Research, said: “Cisco and Siemens’ leader position is a reflection of how both companies have continued to evolve and adapt their city offering. They have also shown an integrated perspective on urban innovation, strong sector-specific solutions, and a commitment to continued thought leadership and city engagement.”

The smart city solutions market globally is anticipated to hit $ 94.2 billion by 2026, from $ 40.1bn in 2017, said Navigant Research. Smart city suppliers who are hoping to be successful in the market can follow the footsteps of the market contenders who are focusing on the development of IoT for urban innovation.

Elsewhere, Cisco has added Cisco Spark Assistant, artificial intelligence-powered voice support for workplace, as its most recent innovation on the Cisco Spark platform. According to Cisco, the Cisco Spark Assistant is the globe’s first enterprise-ready voice assistant intended to help executives in having “great” meetings. The Cisco Spark Assistant will be released in phases, effective early 2018. Initially, the AI-powered voice assistant will be available on the Cisco Spark Room Series portfolio. Latest from the homepage

Apple suppliers now prepping AMD Vega video cards for upcoming iMac Pro

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Signalling that the iMac Pro will likely meet its December ship date, Apple suppliers are reportedly preparing the AMD Radeon Pro Vega cards that will power the computer’s graphics.
AppleInsider – Frontpage News