iPhone Building Builds Momentum, Supplier Flex and More

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During today’s look from the Observation Deck, we’re seeing India making more iPhones, Foxconn reporting a great month and Apple agreeing to pay TSMC’s price hike. There’s also glimpses of the future of smart home support in iOS 16.1, a nifty (note the sarcasm) bug in Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 and more new season announcements from Apple TV+. Plenty more to see, too, so keep your eyes and ears out for what we’ve got our own eyes on.

India’s iPhone Exports Set to Nearly Double Year-on-Year

Apple’s plans for manufacturing in India seem to be humming along. Apple 3.0 ran an excerpt of a Bloomberg piece Tuesday. That piece has Apple nearly doubling the dollar-amount of iPhone exports from India over the course of a year. 

According to the report, for five months beginning in April, Apple’s Indian iPhone exports “crossed $1 billion…” The piece says that puts those exports on track to hit $2.5 billion by the end of March 2023. That would be nearly double the $1.3 billion in iPhone exports from India Apple saw for the same period a year earlier.  

Those exports, which mostly land in Europe and the Middle East, are small compared to the total number of iPhones produced. But the trajectory looks good for Apple’s plans to be less reliant on China, and for India’s plan to pick up some of China’s manufacturing business. 

Foxconn Saw Stellar September; “Cautiously Positive” on Q4

Foxconn had a stellar September, and it seems to have Apple to thank. CNBC ran a piece on the contract manufacturer’s numbers for last month. According to that:

Foxconn said September revenue totaled 822.3 billion new Taiwan dollars ($25.9 billion), up 40.4% year-on-year and 83.2% higher than August, a monthly sales record for the company.

While Foxconn did not say the surge was thanks to iPhone 14 production, the company did credit a “new product launch and smooth mass production…” Also, mad props to Foxconn’s “smart consumer electronics products division, which includes its key smartphone business.” 

Is that shouting out Apple twice? Or was there some other “new product launch and smooth mass production” we missed? Counterpoint Research analyst Neil Shah seems to think it’s the former. He says the Foxconn rise came compliments of “storming demand” for iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, both of which launched in September. 

As for what’s left of the year, Apple’s manufacturing partner says it is “cautiously positive” on its fourth-quarter outlook — accentuate the “cautiously.” CNBC quotes Foxconn as saying, “The dynamics of inflation, the pandemic, and the supply chain still need to be closely monitored…”

Report: Apple Will Pay TSMC’s Higher Processor Prices

Word on the street has Apple giving in to TSMC’s higher prices. I told you last week that Apple’s semiconductor manufacturing partner intended to up its processor prices by 6% to 9%. I also told you that Apple had reportedly declined the TSMC increase. 

Looks like Apple blinked. Mark Tyson over at Tom’s Hardware cites a report from Taiwan’s UDN, saying “Apple has yielded to TSMC’s price increase demands for 2023…” UDN is the same site that reported the standoff last week.

The piece says the huge number of customers vying for chips gave TSMC leverage. While Apple reportedly accounts for 25-percent of the chipmaker’s business, there are many companies across many industries that would happily fill any void in orders left by Apple. 

Interestingly, the piece indicates that Apple may have simply decided that TSMC was being reasonable. “Apparently,” the report says:

…TSMC only sought ‘modest’ price increases in previous boom periods. Hence, insiders see the current 5% or so increases as reasonable, especially with higher inflation, and raw materials costs swinging up in most regions.

Apple Seeds New Round of OS Betas to Developers

Big Bam Beta — Live Through 2022 continues. AppleInsider says Apple on Tuesday seeded the fourth beta of iOS 16.1, the fifth beta of iPadOS 16.1, and the fourth beta of tvOS 16.1 to developers. Meanwhile, a piece from MacRumors says the same crew of developers got the tenth beta of macOS 13 Ventura dropped on them.

Why iOS 16.1 May Matter

One exciting feature in iOS 16.1 got one step closer outside of the betas on Tuesday. A separate piece from MacRumors says the Matter smart-home standard officially launched with v1.0 on Tuesday. Matter is spearheaded by the Connectivity Standards Alliance. That organization’s President and CEO, Tobin Richardson, was quoted in a press release, saying:

This release is the first step on a journey our community and the industry are taking to make the [Internet of Things] more simple, secure, and valuable no matter who you are or where you live.

Members of the Connectivity Standards Alliance pledging to support Matter include Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung, and others. According to MacRumors, supporting organizations “now have all of the resources that they need to begin implementing Matter into their platforms…” The site figures Matter could be integrated with HomeKit very soon, with the groundwork being laid in iOS 16.1.

Apple Updates Firmware for MagSafe Charger

The idea of a “smart home” would sound silly to some of our forebears. Makes you wonder what they would make of a power cord that needs an update. Apparently Apple’s MagSafe Charger did, and now it has one. 

Yet another piece from MacRumors says the charger, meant to work with iPhone 12 and later as well as the second generation AirPods Pro, got new firmware over the last few days. The update happens over-the-air, with apparently no way to prompt or force it. There’s also no word on what it does, though MacRumors has a guess. Given “the recent release of both the iPhone 14 models and the ‌AirPods Pro‌ 2,” the site figures the firmware “could have optimizations for these devices.”

Reports: AirPods Pro 2 Prompting ‘Replace Battery’ Message

While firmware for the MagSafe Charger addresses unknown issues, there’s a visible bug pestering owners of Apple’s latest AirPods Pro. A piece from The Mac Observer says Apple’s really recent ear stoppers are telling people in some cases that it’s time to replace the battery. According to the report:

With this bug, something unusual happens in the Find My app whenever the AirPods Pro 2 earbuds or charging case battery charge drops too low. A notification pops up urging the user to “replace the battery on [Left, Right, or Case] soon…”

Seems unlikely that a battery replacement is actually necessary. The things went on sales less than two-weeks ago. One assumes the issues is software related, and that that bug will be squished soon. “Apple has not yet commented on the issue,” according to the report. 

Report: US Labor Board Files Complaint Against Apple in NYC

“…the US Labor Board has filed a complaint against Apple in NYC for conduct in its World Trade Center store.” That’s the word from Bloomberg, by way of 9to5Mac. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) is the group backing a push to unionize Apple’s Grand Central store. They appear to be behind the Labor Board complaint as well. 9to5 has Bloomberg saying:

The complaint followed a CWA filing alleging that Apple interrogated staff, restricted the posting of union fliers and required employees to attend mandatory anti-union speeches. The conduct took place at Apple’s World Trade Center store in New York City, a CWA representative said in May.

Season-Two Trailers Out for ‘Acapulco’ and ‘The Problem with Jon Stewart’

Two shows returning to Apple TV+ this month got new trailers this week. Coming up toward the end of October is season two of Acapulco. Starring and executive produced by Eugenio Derbez, Apple says the bilingual comedy:

…[tells] the story of 20-something Máximo Gallardo, whose dream comes true when he scores the job of a lifetime as a cabana boy at the hottest resort in Acapulco…

Derbez tells the story in flashback, with his younger self played by Enrique Arrizon. The first two episodes hit Apple TV+ on Friday 21 October. Following episodes will hit one-per-week through 16 December. The trailer for season two is up now on YouTube. 

The other trailer presents a few problems. In a press release, Apple said The Problem With Jon Stewart will hit this Friday. “This season will tackle topics including gender, taxes, globalization, elections and more.” Quoting Apple’s description:

Using comedy and common sense, the series features tough, topical and culture-moving conversations from the perspectives of stakeholders, experts and individuals confronting these issues.

Season two, episode one hits this Friday 7 October. New episodes will follow one-per-week. You can also catch that trailer on YouTube.

‘Limitations’ to iOS 16 Custom Lock Screens

And finally today — 100,000,000 songs in your pocket, but only 200 lock screens? Lame…

Not really. Should be plenty. As a piece from iDownloadBlog puts it:

iOS 16 won’t let you create more than 200 custom lock screens on your iPhone, but who in their right mind would want to cycle through that many lock screens anyway?

Trying to create screen number 201 apparently prompts the message, “Wallpaper Limit Reached.” At that point, you have to “delete at least one custom lock screen before creating a new one,” according to the report. Also — each lock screen has a limit of 50 wallpapers.

100,000,000 songs in your pocket, but only 50 wallpapers? Lame…

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