Foxconn Recruitment Efforts, Musk Declares War and a Mélange of Other Apple Tales

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The latest recruitment news from iPhone City, Elon Musk takes swipes at Apple, and two tales of retail.

Foxconn Zhengzhou Plant Recruiting Folks Who Fled This Fall

If you’re having trouble keeping up with goings on at Foxconn’s “iPhone City” plant in Zhengzhou, it’s not just you. Over the weekend came word that Foxconn was paying new recruits the equivalent of US$1,400 to quit and go home. That was after riots caused by discrepancies between what Foxconn promised as a recruitment bonus and when it would be paid. Word was that roughly 20,000 workers — mostly new hires who hadn’t even made it to the production lines yet, took the contract manufacturer up on that offer. 

Now, a piece from South China Morning Post (SCMP) says Foxconn is back in a hiring frame of mind, though they’d like to skip the training part, it seems. The piece says the company is trying to coax the thousands of folks who fled the factory throughout October and early November back to the line. According to the report, the Foxconn unit that handles iPhone production is running a “returning geese” recruitment plan. That includes bonuses for returning workers “adding up to 12,000 yuan (US$1,672) if they [come] back and [stay] for two months…” 

Musk Goes to War Against Apple on Twitter

“Elon Musk Is Weaponizing Twitter Against Apple Now.” That is the headline of a piece from CNET. Twitter’s relatively new owner spent a bit of time on the service Monday, sewing seeds of discontent against the Cupertino-company. In one he said, “Apple has mostly stopped advertising on Twitter. Do they hate free speech in America?” According to CNET, some “prominent Apple bloggers” pointed out that Apple ads actually appeared on Twitter next to Musk’s anti-Apple Tweets. 

Musk went on to post that “Apple has also threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why…” Of course, he responded to positive comments. Some crypto bro atted him, saying:

Apple takes a 30% tax from app developers who make over $1 million through the ‌App Store‌ on an annual basis. 

Apple’s App Store is the equivalent to a 30% tax on the Internet.

Musk quote Tweeted that, adding, “Did you know Apple puts a secret 30%  tax on everything you buy through their App Store?” Finally, he Tweeted a meme indicating that he would rather go to war (one assumes with Apple) than pay the App Store’s 30% commission.

Having a normal one was our Mr. Musk. 

I saw two interesting comments on Musk’s Apple assault. Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives said Apple is “the one company in the world you NEVER want to pick a fight with…” Asked whether Apple needs Twitter, the analyst said, “Apple views Twitter like a piece of bread at the restaurant before you get your meal!”

That’s a good comment, but tech journalist Kara Swisher’s was better. She took to Twitter, saying: 

Frontloading a fight with @tim_cook with specious nonsense isn’t going to work. Why? For one, he’s not a manic toddler hopped up on Twinkies and weaponry cosplay. Plus, no advertiser[s] like to spend their marketing money in [a] Thunderdome of toxic asininity.

I looked it up. “Asininity” is actually a word. Kara Swisher: Play of the day.

“Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment,” according to CNET. And Twitter… well, it doesn’t seem to have a PR department anymore, so… nothing from them either. Well… nothing that wasn’t Tweeted.

AppleTogether Seeks Stories of Union Busting for Possible Lawsuit

Dissuading unions may end up being as troublesome for Apple as welcoming them if one group has its way. A report from AppleInsider says the group AppleTogether is seeking reports on alleged union busting, with the intent of mounting a lawsuit. 

On Twitter, AppleTogether bills itself as “a global solidarity union made up of workers from all parts of Apple organizing for a say in [their] workplace.” Twitter is also where they put out their call, saying:

Are you experiencing union-busting in your Apple store? 

Aggressive, anti-union talk during your daily downloads? 

Pulled aside and intimidated about organizing?

If so, fill out this anonymous survey and let us know. 

A class action lawsuit is in the works.

That Twitter post also includes a link to a “Google Doc that contains a basic contact form.” Kind of makes one wonder about their use of the word “anonymous,” but — whatever. If you’re looking for more info, AppleTogether is actually on Twitter as @AppleLaborers. You can also visit their website at 

Apple American Dream Opens This Weekend

While a certain amount of unrest persists in some Apple Stores, a brand new one is set to open this weekend. MacRumors says the Cupertino-company will throw open the doors this Saturday on a new location in the American Dream shopping mall in East Rutherford, New Jersey. “The store is located around 10 miles outside Midtown Manhattan by car,” according to MacRumors, so — you know — probably only a two-and-a-half-hour drive. 

While Apple Stores tend to be the stars of various malls, probably not this one. According to the piece:

American Dream is the second-largest shopping mall in the U.S. behind the Mall of America in Minnesota. Opened in 2019, the three-million-square-foot shopping destination has several indoor attractions, including the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park, DreamWorks Water Park, a year-round indoor skiing and snowboarding resort, an NHL-sized ice skating rink, a burger restaurant owned by YouTube star MrBeast, and more.

Like it or not, that does sound like the American dream. Apple American Dream opens for the first time this Saturday, Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. Good luck finding it.

Oceanic+ for Apple Watch Ultra Now Available

If you bought or have considered an Apple Watch Ultra for all of its diving goodness, all the diving goodness has arrived. 9to5Mac says Oceanic+, the scuba diving app highlighted during the Apple Watch Ultra introduction back in September, is now available. According to the piece:

Apple Watch Ultra customers can already use Apple’s Depth app to record depth and measure water temperature, but Oceanic+ takes deep dive tracking features even further. The app runs the Bühlmann decompression algorithm and includes dive planning, easy-to-read dive metrics, visual and haptic alerts, no-decompression limit, ascent rate, and safety stop guidance.

Now how much would you pay? Well, the app is free — as is the basic plan. 9to5Mac says that includes such common dive functions as depth, time, and logging for most recent dives. Folks who want the fullness can buy a subscription. That’ll run $9.99-per-month. Annual subscriptions will run buyers $79.99. Or buy for the whole family — An annual subscription for up to five people will run $129.

Disney CEO Calls Talk of Acquisition by Apple ‘Pure Speculation’

From the “tell us something we don’t know” file, recently returned Disney CEO Bob Iger says talk of Apple buying Disney is “pure speculation.” 

Well… yeah. 

A piece from AppleInsider says talk of Apple buying Disney has “circulated for over two decades,” though it picked up steam a few weeks ago, then picked up more steam last week. A few weeks ago, entertainment business reporter Joe Bel Bruno said in a series of Twitter posts that folks inside Disney really wanted Apple to buy the company, largely because of dissatisfaction with then Disney CEO Bob Chapek. Last week, Disney surprised the planet by bouncing Chapek and bringing former Disney CEO Bob Iger back to the corner office after nearly three-years out of that position. With Iger’s return, more steam added. Bel Bruno wrote a piece for The Wrap that had unnamed people saying Iger would seek to have Apple buy the “happiest company on Earth.” 

That was, of course, speculation — and that is what Iger told Disney peeps this week. “Speaking to cast members during a town hall meeting on Monday,” says AppleInsider, “Iger dismissed the suggestion entirely.” According to the report:

During the meeting about the future of Disney itself, Iger was asked about the rumors of a possible Apple purchase. In response, Iger characterized the claims as “pure speculation,” indicating it’s not something the company is considering at all.

If you don’t mind my two-cents, I never thought that everybody speculating that Apple would buy Disney meant that Apple would buy Disney. That said — I mean Mr. Iger no offense, but his assertion that Apple buying Disney is “pure speculation” doesn’t mean that Apple won’t buy Disney. 

We’ve talked about this a bit on The Daily Observations podcast. Listen there (and there and there) if you’d like to hear more. 

Apple TV+ Picks Up Four BAFTA Children & Young People Awards

Congrats to the kids side of Apple TV+. A piece from AppleInsider says the Cupertino-streamer picked up its first BAFTA Children & Young People Awards over the weekend — four of them, according to the report. They included:

  • El Deafo winning the Content for Change award
  • Wolfwalkers winning in the Feature Film category
  • Lovely Little Farm winning in the Pre-School — Live Action category
  • And Chris O’Dowd picking up a performance award for his work in Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth.

Cook and O’Brien Visit Hingham Victims Over Thanksgiving Holiday

And finally today, Travelin’ Tim traveled without a lot of fanfare late last week. While many of us were enjoying our long holiday weekend, Apple CEO Tim Cook and the company’s chief of retail and people Deirdre O’Brien headed to the Boston area to meet with folks injured in last week’s Hingham Apple Store incident. 

No doubt you remember the story: An SUV drove through the glass facade of the Apple Derby Street location in Hingham, Massachusetts — not far from Boston. That left one person dead and roughly 20 people injured. Now, MacRumors highlights a report from Boston 25 News saying Cook and O’Brien “visited the victims of the crash at the South Shore Hospital,” in Weymouth late last week. “In a statement,” the piece says:

…the hospital said it was “grateful that ‌Tim Cook‌ and Deirdre O’Brien from Apple were able to come to South Shore Hospital on Friday to visit with some of the patients who were injured during last week’s tragedy at the Apple Store in Hingham.”

Hospital president Allen Smith was quoted in the statement saying, “The genuine caring and kindness shown by Tim and his team on this visit did so much to lift the spirits of the patients and our colleagues.” 

Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast

What do Elon Musk, Bob Iger, and Tim Cook all have in common? They are all three topics of conversation today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast. TMO Managing Editor Jeff Butts and I talk Captains of Industry on today’s edition. You’re looking for the Daily Observations Podcast from The Mac Observer.

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