Technology

What's Up with Apple: Supplier Issues, New App Store Report, and More

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry, aka Foxconn, is offering record-high signing bonuses to new and returning employees at its Zhengzhou plant as the company gears up to produce the next batch of iPhones. A report in the South China Morning Post notes that these are the highest signing bonuses Foxconn has paid since the plant opened in 2010.

Foxconn is offering bonuses of up to CNY8,000 (about $1,237) to former workers at the company’s mechanical parts manufacturing plant in Zhengzhou. The company is also paying a bonus of up to CNY7,000 to newly referred employees it hires and a CNY1,000 bonus to the current employee who makes a successful referral. New employees who apply and are hired without a referral receive a sign-on bonus of CNY7,500. The Zhengzhou assembly plant where Apple’s iPhones are built will pay its workers a monthly bonus of CNY600 for up to nine months. The base salary for the assembly plant workers is CNY2,100 (about $324).

The report cites Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, who estimates that Apple is targeting new iPhone production of 130 million to 150 million units in the second half of 2021. Ives estimates that Apple’s Asian supply chain will be able to meet the demand for up to 100 million new iPhone 13 models.

Apple’s Asian supply chain is also taking some lumps Wednesday morning, following a report in the Financial Times that some Taiwanese companies are locking their migrant employees in dormitories as a measure to combat an outbreak of COVID-19 in Taiwan’s tech industry. The FT noted that both Canon and Innolux, a Foxconn affiliate that manufactures LCD display screens, have been accused of the practice.  None of the companies mentioned in the report appears on Apple’s most recent supplier list.

According to the FT, Innolux sent the following message to its migrant workers on June 13:

Please be informed that all of you has been locked down for 30 days starting yesterday. You’re not allowed to go out any more so please just stay at dorm as much as possible and follow the rules imposed by innolux company this is all for the safety of everyone!

Taiwan’s tech industry employs some 713,000 migrant workers, representing about 8% of the country’s total workforce. The workers mainly come from the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia

Apple has published a report titled “Building a Trusted Ecosystem for Millions of Apps” that defends the company’s firm control of apps available for iPhone users. A lawsuit brought by Fortnite developer Epic Games, anticompetitive investigations in Europe, and proposed U.S. legislation that could fundamentally alter Apple’s business have driven the company to defend both its way of reviewing apps and the fees it charges developers for listing their apps at the App Store:

On the App Store, apps come from known developers who have agreed to follow our guidelines, and are securely distributed to users free from interference from third parties. We review every single app and each app update to evaluate whether they meet our high standards. This process, which we are constantly working to improve, is designed to protect our users by keeping malware, cybercriminals, and scammers out of the App Store.

On Thursday, Apple will open its 26th Apple Store in the Los Angeles area in the iconic Tower Theatre in the downtown Broadway Theater District. The Tower Theatre opened in 1927 but has been closed since 1988. The new store will employ nearly 100 people.