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  1. #1
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    [EN] Apple mulls iPhone overhaul as Foxconn ponders its future

    November 10, 2016

    Apple's iPhone 7 has been a disappointment for both the company and its suppliers, and now the Cupertino, California-based gadget maker appears to be working on a major overhaul for its next generation of smartphones.

    All three iPhone 8 models will sport glass backs, joined to the front cover by a metal frame, according to a person familiar with Apple's plans.

    Curved organic light-emitting diode screens may also be in the cards, at least for Apple's premium handset. Wireless charging is another expected feature of the iPhone, which marks its 10th anniversary next year.

    "Apple has tentatively decided that all the 5.5-inch, 5-inch and 4.7-inch models will have glass backs, departing from the metal casings adopted by current iPhones, and Biel and Lens are likely to be providing all the glass backs for the new iPhones next year," an industry official said.

    China's Biel Crystal Manufactory and Lens Technology supply front glass covers for iPhones.

    Apple is trying to woo new customers and persuade existing ones to move upmarket with a radically different look for its new handset. The iPhone 7 was criticized for being too similar to older models and lacking innovative new features.

    The industry official said that although key iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn Technology Group, and its subsidiaries have been working to develop glass backs, it is unlikely the Taiwanese company will receive orders for this component because its Chinese rivals have the technological edge.

    Foxconn is a major supplier of metal casings to Apple, which is its biggest customer overall, accounting for over 50% of its total sales. Foxconn supplies casings for the iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone SE, splitting its iPhone 7 business with Catcher Technology and U.S.-based Jabil. The industry official said it was unclear whether Foxconn's revenue will be affected next year as Apple has not made a final decision on the design of the new metal frames.

    Biel Crystal, Foxconn and Lens all declined to comment.

    Foxconn is making wireless charging modules for the iPhone range slated for release in 2017, according to another person familiar with the matter. "But whether the feature eventually makes it into Apple's updated devices will depend on whether Foxconn can boost the yield rate to a satisfactory level later on."

    The yield rate measures the number of nondefective units in a batch of components. The lower the yield rate, the lower the profit. If it is too low, a component may be left out of the final product altogether.

    The person said the charging modules will be incorporated into the handsets, but it is unclear whether all iPhones coming out next year will feature wireless charging.

    The Nikkei Asian Review reported in late August that the high-end 5.5-inch iPhone 8 will have a curved OLED display, reportedly to be supplied by Samsung Electronics, while the other two handsets will stick with the low-temperature polysilicon, or LTPS, panels used in the iPhone 7.

    While wireless charging and curved OLED screens will be new to the iPhones, some premium Android handsets, such as Samsung's Galaxy S6 Edge, the Galaxy S7 Edge and the now terminated Galaxy Note 7, and Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi's latest Mi Note 2 already have such screens. Likewise, the Android camp has had phones with wireless charging for some time now, with Samsung and LG Electronics leading the trend.

    Tai Jeng-wu, president of Sharp, the Japan-based electronics company recently acquired by Foxconn, knows that Apple lags behind in these areas. Sharp, which supplies LTPS panels to Apple, has said the U.S. company faces a crisis. Speaking to students at his alma mater, Tatung University, on Oct. 29, he confirmed that Apple will use OLED displays in the future, without saying when.

    "The iPhone has been evolving, and now it is switching from LTPS to OLED panels," Tai said. "We don't know whether Apple's OLED iPhones will be a hit, but if Apple doesn't walk down this path and transform itself, there will be no innovation. It is a crisis, but it is also an opportunity."

    Apple has declined to comment on new features for the iPhone 8. In fact, it may not even be called that. Some market watchers suspect the handset may get a new name to mark the 10th anniversary of the product.

    Apple's revenue suffered its first annual decline since 2001, falling 7.7% on the year to $215 billion, in the year to September.

    Foxconn also saw its sales drop 3.2% to 2.95 trillion New Taiwan dollars ($93.7 billion) in the first nine months of the year. Competitor Catcher Technology reported a net profit of NT$4.47 billion, a 45% on-year drop, on sales of NT$20.73 billion, down 3%, in the July-September period.


    To stanch the bleeding from falling iPhone sales, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou has been searching for new revenue in cloud computing, robotics and semiconductors.

    In an exclusive interview with the Nikkei Asian Review on Nov. 5, the head of the world's largest contract electronics maker said he is working with new subsidiary Sharp to improve Foxconn's capabilities in chips. "We are now integrating the two companies' semiconductor expertise, as we use many chips ourselves," Gou said on the sidelines of a German business forum in Hong Kong.

    "If Sharp can integrate with Foxconn, we can create a lot of room for growth by leveraging Sharp's know-how, Taiwan's own semiconductor manufacturing expertise, and young engineers in China," the Taiwanese entrepreneur said. Gou said he initially wants to make chips for internet-enabled TVs, a major Sharp product. But he hinted at bigger aspirations, saying emerging technologies such as cloud computing will require chips as well.

    Foxconn is also setting up a chip design center in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen with help from British chip designer ARM, now controlled by Japanese tech giant SoftBank Group. Shenzhen is Foxconn's Chinese headquarters.

    While Gou did not offer details on the partnership, he appeared to confirm it, asking, "How did you know all about this?" in reference to the Shenzhen center.

    In addition to expanding into the chip sector, Foxconn hopes to improve its profitability by cutting labor costs in China through automation. "Right now we use some 60,000 robots on our production lines. We plan to increase that number by 20-30% every year," Gou said. Foxconn makes its own robotic arms, called "Foxbots," for use in its factories.

    "We've already had some lights-off facilities, [which require no human presence] and we will have more of them in the future," Gou said.

  2. #2
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    Is Foxconn Executive Right About Apple 'Innovation Crisis' Pegged To iPhone 8?

    Samsung OLED foldable display. Is this kind of design in the offing for Apple?

    Brooke Crothers
    Nov 7, 2016

    Is Apple an iPhone profit-making monster or on the verge of an iPhone “crisis”?

    One take addresses the present (third and fourth quarters 2016), the other, the future (likely fourth quarter 2017).

    iPhone bullish: “Apple has recorded an insane mobile phone profit share in the third quarter,” said 9to5Mac, echoing a crush of similar reports that cited a research note from BMO Capital Markets, which estimated that Apple captured 103.6% of total smartphone industry profits, with Samsung a distant second.

    Looking to the fourth quarter, Morgan Stanley is optimistic about iPhone 7 demand in a November 2 research note. “Apple approached iPhone 7 forecasts with conservatism [and] given better than expected initial demand, Apple has increased orders to suppliers,” Morgan Stanley said, citing expenses to ramp additional production lines.

    iPhone bearish: Then we have recent Apple “innovation crisis” comments from Sharp President Tai Jeng-wu, who is also an executive at Sharp’s parent company Foxconn Technology Group. “We don’t know whether Apple’s OLED iPhones will be a hit, but if Apple doesn’t walk down this path and transform itself, there will be no innovation. It is a crisis but it is also an opportunity,” Tai said to the Japan business daily Nikkei a week ago. Foxconn is a contract manufacturer of Apple’s phones and Sharp has been supplier of displays to Apple.

    The Sharp president is referring to Apple’s likely adoption of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays for the iPhone 8. OLEDs would allow Apple to make iPhones with curved and/or foldable displays, among other things. Currently, Apple uses more conventional LCD displays on iPhones, while Samsung switched to OLED displays years ago for its flagship Galaxy smartphones.

    The Nikkei story refers to the fact that Apple suffered its first annual sales decline since 2001 in the year to September “due to weakening demand for its signature gadget and a lack of innovative features in this year’s iPhone 7 range.”

    Indeed, Apple has gotten its share of criticism because the iPhone 7 — while boasting internal improvements — cosmetically looks almost identical to the iPhone 6, introduced two years ago.

    We won’t know if Apple is indeed facing crisis until next year when we get a picture of iPhone sales over a 12-month period and find out if the iPhone 8 is indeed innovative and a significant departure from the iPhone/6/6s/7.

    I’ll bet on Apple being innovative and averting a crisis.

    Sharp Japan has yet to respond to a request for comment.

  3. #3
    WHT-BR Top Member
    Data de Ingresso
    Dec 2010

    Foxconn not going anywhere, says Devendra Fadnavis

    Foxconn plans to set up manufacturing units in India, which boasts of the world's second-largest base of mobile phone users, to mitigate rising labour costs in China and also lower manufacturing cost of iPhones.

    Foxconn's Hon Hai unit posted a 6.2% y/y FALL in October revenue.

    Oct 29, 2016

    MUMBAI: Amid apprehensions that Taiwan-based tech giant Foxconn may shy away from its proposed $5 billion investment in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said the company is "not going anywhere" and hoped issues raised by it will be resolved soon.

    "Foxconn had issues pertaining to the Central government. The company wants its manufacturing costs here to match those in China," he said while speaking to reporters at his residence 'Varsha' here.

    The world's largest electronics contract manufacturer plans to set up manufacturing units in India, which boasts of the world's second-largest base of mobile phone users, to mitigate rising labour costs in China and also lower manufacturing cost of iPhones.

    Fadnavis said the company, which counts Apple, Xiaomi, Blackberry and Amazon among its clients, had laid down certain conditions, which were being examined by the Centre.

    "I met officials from Foxconn a month back and they assured me their issues with the Centre would be solved soon. Once that happens, they will immediately start their work," Fadnavis said.

    "It is true the project has got delayed but I can assure Foxconn is not going anywhere," he said.

    The state government's widely publicised MoU with the iPhone maker appeared to be in trouble after a senior official from the Industries Department said production has not taken off as the company was "yet to find customers" here.

    "They (Foxconn officials) say they haven't found customers yet and have thus not started their manufacturing plant. We don't think this is disappointing as we would like to give them some more time before coming to a decision," Apurva Chandra, Principal Secretary (Industries), had said.

    Fadnavis had earlier said the MoU with Foxconn will create direct employment for 50,000 people.

    Qualquer semelhança com as promessas da Foxconn ao instalar uma montadora meia-boca no Brasil com todo tipo de incentivos governamentais imagináveis, e não imagináveis, não é mera coincidência.

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