Technology

What's Up With Apple: India Smartphone Production Tumbles, AirTags Hacked, and More

Over the past two years, India has become the world’s second-largest market for smartphones. Many of the devices are built in the country to avoid the 10% import tax levied on smartphones built elsewhere. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) contract manufacturer Foxconn builds iPhones at two plants in India.

Taiwan-based market intelligence firm TrendForce said Monday that smartphone production growth in India is expected to slip by nearly a full percentage point, from 9.4% to 8.5%, year over year in 2021. India produced some 1.36 billion smartphones last year, but the second wave of COVID-19 infections has “dampened various smartphone brands’ production volume and sales (sell-in) performances” in India.

Smartphone makers shipped 37.1 million units in the first quarter of 2021, according to market research firm Canalys, with Apple accounting for more than 1 million units shipped in the quarter. Apple’s high-end phones made up less than a third of the 3.9 million units sold by the “other” category. Market share leader Xiaomi shipped 10.5 million units in the quarter, followed by Samsung (7.0 million), Vivo (6.7 million), Oppo (4.7 million) and Realme (4.3 million).

TrendForce analysts expect the second wave of coronavirus infections to reduce smartphone production by 12 million units over the second and third quarters. According to another report, the Foxconn-Wistron plant has suffered 13 infections so far in May, while 10 engineers at the Chennai plant were quarantined on Saturday. Because India does not export much of its smartphone production, the drop is unlikely to have much impact on global supply. Likewise, Apple’s limited production in India is unlikely to have a large negative effect on the company’s quarterly performance.

Apple has invested another $45 million in Corning, the company that supplies Apple with the “precision glass for iPhone, Apple Watch, and iPad,” according to a Monday press release. Corning already has received $450 million from Apple’s Advanced Manufacturing Fund. Last week Apple announced an investment of $430 million in a laser technology company that powers FaceID and other iPhone features, along with the lidar scanner Apple introduced with the iPhone 12.

A security researcher in Germany has successfully hacked into Apple’s recently released AirTags and modified the device software. The demonstration video from the researcher known as stacksmashing, “showed an AirTag with a modified NFC URL that, when scanned with an iPhone, displays a custom URL instead of the usual ‘found.apple.com’ link,” according to AppleInsider. Last week, another AirTag user discovered hidden developer information that can be used to alter some of the AirTags’ functions.