Apple has released its 2013 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, detailing audits the company has made within its supply chain. The company conducted 393 audits of its own, a 72 percent increase over 2011. Apple also notes it achieved “an average of 92 percent compliance with a maximum 60-hour work week.” The company is now tracking more than one million workers weekly.
According to Apple, a January audit of a supplier revealed 74 cases of workers under 16 — Apple then terminated its relationship with the supplier. The company also discovered that a labor agency conspired to forge age verification documents. Apple alerted provincial governments to the agency’s action, and the agency “had its business license suspended and was fined.” The full report is in PDF form on Apple’s website.
Starting on January 26, 2013, a policy update to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act will make it illegal for owners of new cellphones to unlock their devices unless authorized by their carriers. Approved in October, the new policy applies to newly purchased devices, but not to smartphones owned prior to the deadline. There was a 90-day window in which people could still buy a phone and unlock it, but it closes on January 26. It won’t be impossible to get an unlocked phone, though: customers can still legally buy unlocked iPhones at unsubsidized prices. Currently, Verizon’s version of the iPhone 5 is sold as an unlocked phone, while AT&T will unlock an out-of-contract phone. A petition at whitehouse.gov looks to restore the legality of unlocking cell phones, but only has about 3,000 signatures as of this writing. [via Tech News Daily, The Next Web]
Having made its name over the years as a competitor to Apple for both iPods and iPads, Archos has announced that it is beginning to create Apple-compatible accessories, starting with its new Bluetooth Keyboard for iPad ($79). Archos claims that this is the thinnest iPad keyboard available, measuring only 5 mm thick, and attaching with magnets to the second-, third-, and fourth-generation iPad. It includes automatic screen on/off functionality when used as a cover.
An adjustable kickstand allows the user to change viewing angles, and an aluminum casing matches the iPad. It will be available in March.
Griffin Technology has announced that it will sell a line of Papernomad-branded iPhone and iPad cases in North America. Papernomad is an Austrian company that makes compostable, organic, customizable, tear- and water-resistant sleeves; each sleeve is made from a composite of paper, viscose fiber, and biopolymer that can be ecologically disposed of at the end of its life. Cotton stitching, wool lining and a hemp pull tab are also used in the designs.
Papernomad sleeves are designed to be marked with pencils, pens and crayons. Their prices will range from $40 (Pars Sleeve for iPhone) to $50 (Zattere for iPad), and will be available soon.
The famous October ruling that Samsung infringed four Apple patents will now be reviewed by the U.S. International Trade Commission, according to a new report. Noted as a possibility in previous reports, the ITC said it would review the findings — including “specific issues” with two of the patents found to be infringed. A final decision was scheduled for March 27, but it will be pushed back to a later date. [via Bloomberg]
Apogee has announced a redesigned version of One ($349), a USB audio interface and microphone that makes a direct digital connection to an iPad, iPhone, iPod touch or Mac. One offers three input options — a built-in omni-directional condenser mic, XLR input for microphones and 1/4” instrument input. Also, One can now record two inputs simultaneously — the instrument input and one of the mic inputs. A metal chassis now encases One, which uses Apogee’s Maestro software for iOS to control inputs, mic preamp, outputs, and low latency monitoring. It will be available in March, shipping with Dock Connector support and the need for a user-supplied Lightning to 30-Pin Adapter.
Apogee also introduced the updated Duet ($595) for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Mac, a two-input, four-output USB audio interface for stereo music recording and mixing, another Dock Connector-based accessory that requires the Lightning adapter for new devices. Last but not least, the company also announced iPad compatibility for Quartet ($1295), a four-input, eight-output USB audio interface. Quartet will now ship with a Dock Connector cable, again with the need for a Lightning adapter. The updated versions of Duet and Quartet will be released in February.
Following the release of Apple’s Q1 results, the company’s stock dropped more than 10 percent in after-hours trading despite what the company said was its best quarter ever for revenues and net profits. Although Apple announced record sales of iPhones and iPads, sales of both Macs and iPods were down, based in part on limited availability of new iMacs, and possibly due to pricing of other models.
CEO Tim Cook has sent out an email announcing an internal Apple employee communications meeting for 10 a.m. Pacific today. Apple held a similar meeting after announcing last year’s Q1 results, and occasionally hints at upcoming plans during the talks, in which employees are encouraged to submit questions in advance. The meeting will be broadcast live throughout Cupertino and “at many other Apple locations.” [via 9to5Mac]
During Apple’s first quarter 2013 financial results conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer made a number of comments related to Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod businesses. The comments ranged from discussions of the iPhone 5 and iPad mini’s sales and manufacturing constraints, to continued iPad cannibalization of Mac computer sales, to the Apple TV.
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Reporting its first quarter 2013 financial results today, Apple said it sold 47.8 million iPhones in the quarter, a 29 percent increase year-over-year, and up considerably from 26.9 million units in the prior quarter. Apple sold 22.9 million iPads during the quarter, up 49 percent from the year-ago quarter and up 8.9 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012. Finally, the company said it sold 12.7 million iPods during the quarter — an 18 percent decrease compared to the same quarter last year. Unit sales of iPhones, iPads, and iPods bring the cumulative totals for the three device categories to 318.8 million, 120.98 million, and 369.08 million, respectively.
In what the company says was its best quarter ever for both revenues and net profits, Apple posted revenue of $54.45 billion and net quarterly profit of $13.1 billion, or $13.81 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $46.33 billion and net quarterly profit of $13.06 billion, or $13.87 per diluted share in Q1 2012. Revenue from iTunes/Software/Services—previously known as Other Music Related Products and Services—which includes revenue from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore, was $3.687 billion for the quarter, up 22 percent year-over-year and 5 percent from the prior quarter. It is being separated from revenues from Apple-branded and third-party iPod accessories, which accounted for $1.829 billion in the quarter, up 25% year over year and 46% over the prior quarter. Apple’s Board of Directors also declared a cash dividend of $2.65 per share of the Company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on February 14, 2013, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on February 11, 2013.
“We’re thrilled with record revenue of over $54 billion and sales of over 75 million iOS devices in a single quarter,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, suggesting that the company sold at least 4.3 million iPod touches in addition to the quarter’s 70.7 million iPads and iPhones. “We’re very confident in our product pipeline as we continue to focus on innovation and making the best products in the world.”
“We’re pleased to have generated over $23 billion in cash flow from operations during the quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “We established new all-time quarterly records for iPhone and iPad sales, significantly broadened our ecosystem, and generated Apple’s highest quarterly revenue ever.
Bem Wireless has announced Speaker Trio ($300), which bundles three wireless speakers with a Bluetooth audio and charging base. The three speakers share a wireless connection to the base and can stream the same music to multiple rooms. Each speaker has up to 120 feet of wireless range, while Bluetooth is used to let your iOS device stream music wirelessly at distances of up to 25 feet from the base.
The speakers are 6” x 6” each and offer about six hours of battery life — when not in use, they can be returned to the base for conductive wireless charging. Auxiliary in and out ports are also included. Speaker Trio is available now in black or white.
Twelve South has announced PlugBug World ($45), an all-in-one international version of its PlugBug. PlugBug World piggybacks onto a MacBook power adapter, allowing simultaneous charging of a MacBook and iPad, iPhone, or iPod from the same outlet, adding a separate 2.1-Amp USB port. PlugBug World includes five international snap-on plugs for use in the UK, Europe, Australia, China, and North America.
PlugBug World also works as a standalone international wall charger, as well, promising to charge an iPad up to four times faster than a standard 0.5-Amp USB port, and an iPad mini twice as fast as its included charger; notably, one of the USB ports built into each modern Mac offers identical 2.1-Amp charging speeds, but older Macs and many PCs do not include higher-speed USB ports. The charger is available now.
Verizon had a deal to make Siri available as a default app on Android phones before Apple moved in to buy the virtual assistant, a new report has revealed. Verizon signed a deal with the development team behind Siri in fall 2009, but when Apple bought Siri, the company insisted on making Siri exclusive to its own devices, and voided the Verizon deal. Under the prior contract, Siri would have been included on all Android phones launching in 2010, and Verizon even created commercials touting the new feature. The report, which deals with the history of Siri, also notes how Siri’s co-founders discussed the virtual assistant with Steve Jobs in his home prior to making the deal with Apple—saying that the company’s speech processing technology had cracked a long-time goal of Jobs and former Apple SVP Scott Forstall—among other notable details. [via Huffington Post]
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs threatened to file a patent lawsuit against Palm if the company didn’t agree to stop hiring Apple employees, a new court filing has confirmed. The filing is part of a civil lawsuit filed by workers against Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Disney’s Pixar, Intuit, and Lucasfilm, which claims the companies agreed not to recruit each other’s employees, in violation of laws designed to protect employees against restrictive hiring practices. In a statement, former Palm CEO Edward Colligan said that Jobs called him in August 2007 regarding Palm’s hiring of Apple employees. Jobs also sent an email advising Colligan to “take a look at our patent portfolio before you make a final decision here,” bullying that Colligan allegedly rebuffed based on its alleged illegality. The document suggests that Palm’s hiring of Apple employees for a new Jon Rubenstein project was Jobs’ primary concern; former Apple SVP Rubenstein went on to develop the Pre phone and TouchPad tablet for Palm and later owner HP. Other communications and internal documents, including no-hire lists, have also been revealed in the case. [via Reuters, The Verge]
Apple has been approved to open an online store in Indonesia by the Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board, according to a report. The store will be based in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, as Apple looks to expand its reach; with over 238 million people spread across a remarkable 17,500 islands, Indonesia is the world’s fourth-most populous country. Currently, the Apple Store’s Indonesia page directs to resellers and Apple Stores in other countries. It’s also noted in the report that Foxconn plans to build a manufacturing plant in Indonesia. [via NZweek]
Apple will announce three new iPhone models this year, according to a questionable new report from China and Taiwan. There will be a 4-inch-screened iPhone 5S and a supposedly larger-screened 4.8-inch “iPhone Math” model before the end of June, while a third model with a 12-megapixel camera will arrive before Christmas, the report claims. There have already been rumors of an iPhone 5S, as well as a new low-end iPhone model, but iPhone Math seems almost certain to be a bad translation—and the supposedly larger screen size is equally questionable. This new report also claims Apple will launch iTV before year’s end. While the report should be taken with extra grains of salt, it’s interesting in that it is the first to suggest that Apple may have two separate iPhone release events this year, which could spook some potential early adopters into waiting. [via China Times and Commercial Times (Taiwan), as translated by Brightwire]
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been ordered to give a deposition in a lawsuit that claims Apple and other companies violated antitrust laws. The private lawsuit claims the companies — which also include Google, Intel, Adobe, Disney’s Pixar, Intuit, and Lucasfilm — agreed not to recruit each other’s employees. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh issued the order Thursday. According to a report, “Koh told lawyers yesterday that Apple founder Steve Jobs was copied on e-mails at issue in the case, and that she found it ‘hard to believe’ that Cook, as Apple’s chief operating officer at the time in question, wouldn’t have been consulted about such agreements.” [via Bloomberg]
Sharp has “nearly halted” production of 9.7-inch iPad screens, according to a report. Screen production is now at “the minimal level to keep the line running.” The report initially mentions a demand shift to Apple’s iPad mini, but later notes sources “didn’t say how much of the slowdown was due to seasonal changes in demand or consumers opting for the smaller iPad mini and were unable to characterize Apple’s overall tablet sales.” Sharp’s Miyuki Nakayama said, “We don’t disclose production levels.” A source at LG Display — Apple’s biggest supplier — said its decreased production was mostly due to typical weak post-holiday demand. Apple did not comment. [via Reuters]
Hearst Magazines has announced that new issues of its various publications will be made available to subscribers in Apple’s Newsstand before appearing in print or any other digital edition. The 20 magazines include Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Car and Driver, Good Housekeeping, and Woman’s Day, among others. A report notes that each publication differs in how far it will be released ahead of other editions, but each will appear at least a “few days in advance” of its print counterpart. [via TechCrunch]
An Apple job posting for a Siri Writer/Editor position sheds some light on how Apple may be planning to evolve Siri in the future. Apple seeks a writer with “demonstrated experience in writing character-driven dialog,” and the job description expects a successful candidate to “refresh and refine existing Siri dialog,” “Ensure the consistency and quality of Siri dialog from all sources,” and to “Help the Siri team evolve Siri as a distinct, recognizable character.” Siri, which was taken over by Eddy Cue after Scott Forstall was let go, seems to be moving forward with a strong emphasis on originality, as well as functionality. [via 9to5Mac]
Withings has announced the US release of its Smart Kid Scale ($180). A Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-connected device, the Smart Kid Scale is designed to track the weight and growth of newborns and toddlers. The scale can be used from infancy to eight years old. It features a large graphical screen and an interlocking baby basket to weigh infants — the basket can be removed to become a toddler scale.
By using the free Withings Baby Companion app in conjunction with the Smart Kid Scale, parents can easily access a history of weight and height readings. The app also logs height, feedings, and how a child’s data compares with children of the same gender and age. Withings’ Smart Kid Scale is available now.