Making Making in India Easier for Apple

The Daily Observations

Making making in India easier for Apple and Foxconn, we are not getting enough sleep, and the boy, the mole, the fox, the horse, and the Oscar.

New Laws Aim to Make India the ‘Next Big Manufacturing Hub’

Another sign of the Foxconn/Apple manufacturing push into India. Over the weekend, the Financial Times wrote up relatively new legislation in the southern Indian state of Karnataka — legislation that was reportedly driven by Apple and its manufacturing partner. Not that you’ll hear that from them. Neither Apple nor Foxconn offered comment for the report. Unofficially though, “a person close to Foxconn” told Financial Times:

This is something we and the customer have been pursuing… It is an adjustment that’s crucial for building efficient manufacturing [in India] at scale.

What are these changes? More time for workers to work, and more workers. According to the report:

[Karnataka], a centre for India’s tech industry, [now allows] for 12-hour shifts, up from the previous limit of nine hours. It also eased rules on night-time work for women, who dominate electronics production lines in China, Taiwan and Vietnam but are under represented in India’s workforce. The legislation caps maximum working hours at 48 per week, but also expands the number of allowable overtime hours to 145 over a three-month period, from a previous 75.

All of that is seen as necessary to pick up serious amounts of manufacturing from China. Financial Times had an anonymous “Indian government official” saying:

India is due to become the next big manufacturing hub… When we compare India with other countries . . . we have to increase by a big margin our efficiency in terms of increasing the work output. 

The “person close to Foxconn” quoted earlier agrees. They’re quoted in the piece saying, “Being able to run production with two 12-hour shifts around the clock would be a big step to bring us closer to where we need to be.”

UK’s CMA Extends App Store Investigation

The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has extended its App Store investigation. Now entering its third big year, a piece from AppleInsider says the probe, which began in March of 2021, is expected to conclude this May, though that is said by the piece to be an estimate. 

When the investigation started, the CMA was said to be looking into “allegations that Apple uses its App Store rules to restrict competition.” Issues thought to be under the microscope include App Store commission fees, in-app purchase requirements, and the App Store being the only sanctioned source for apps for iPhone and iPad.

As for why they need more time, your guess is as good as anyone’s. The CMA seems to have offered no reason for the extension, nor has Apple commented on it. 

iPhone 13, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max Land in Apple’s Refurbished Store in the States

Everything old is new again — the iPhone edition. A piece from MacRumors says the Cupertino-crew has started selling iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max in its refurbished store in the U.S. While “they were available at discounted prices” in refurbished stores in Europe, the piece says the old phones are new to Apple’s like-new store in the states. Running through the prices:

  • ‌iPhone 13‌ refurbished starts at $619, an $80 discount from the $699 cost of a new iPhone 13 
  • ‌A refurbished iPhone 13 Pro‌ starts at $759 — $240 less than the current iPhone 14 Pro’s starting price
  • iPhone 13 Pro‌ Max starts at $849 — $250 less than the current starting price of an iPhone 14 Pro Max

“Multiple colors and capacities” from which to choose, according to the report. That said, stock in the refurbished store tends to fluctuate. Missing from the lineup is iPhone 13 mini, though MacRumors figures it will be along at some point since Apple is selling that in its European refurbished stores. As for what you get, MacRumors says:

Refurbished iPhones from Apple are unlocked and can be used with any carrier. Apple outfits all refurbished iPhone models with new batteries, outer shells, and a fresh USB-C to Lightning cable, so they are essentially identical to new in the box iPhones.

They come with the same one-year warranty as a new iPhone, according to the report. Buyers can also purchase extended coverage through AppleCare+, even on the oldies.

Apple Selling Item Tracker from Chipolo in Online Store

Apple will start selling something like an AirTag competitor today. Like an AirTag competitor, though not exactly? 

According to a piece from MacRumors, the Cupertino-company’s online store will start selling Chipolo’s CARD Spot for wallets today — Tuesday, March 14. Just like AirTag, the piece says Chipolo’s offering allows users “to easily track the location of a wallet in the Items tab of the Find My app on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.” 

Sounds like an AirTag in function, though not in form. As the “for wallets” indicates, MacRumors says “the Chipolo CARD Spot is a card-shaped item tracker designed for use with wallets.” Apple does not have an AirTag made for wallets. Makes sense, since everything Apple does with iPhone seeks to eliminate the wallet. Apple’s AirTag is a circular device. 

Funny enough, Chipolo also sells a circular item tracker. Called the Chipolo ONE Spot — Apple will not be selling that one.

Apple Heart Study Says We’re Not Sleeping Enough

Bad news from our Apple Watches. According to those, and a piece from AppleInsider, we are not getting enough sleep. 

Back in 2019, Apple, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the American Heart Association started the Apple Heart and Movement Study. Originally set up to search for early signs of atrial fibrillation, sensors gonna sense, yo — even when you’re sleeping, which — did I mention, we’re not doing enough. 

According to “results from over 42,000 people who opted into the study on their Apple Watch and iPhone” through the Apple Research app:

  • Just over 31% of participants are getting seven-hours of sleep or more per night, which means just over 31% are meeting the healthy minimum suggested by the American Heart Association
  • Just under 40% get between six and seven hours
  • A bit over 20% get between five and six hours
  • Just under 9% get less than five hours of sleep per night

Those numbers bode ill. According to the study:

The duration and consistency of sleep have been linked to a wide range of health topics including cardiovascular disease, metabolism, and brain health, not to mention quality of life.

If this news concerns you, the folks behind the study have a few suggestions:

  1. Measure your sleep — Otherwise you may think you’re getting plenty of sleep when you’re really not
  1. Establish a routine — This should include getting to bed early enough to get seven hours of sleep. Additionally they say “limiting screentime before bed is recommended.”
  1. Consistency — You may not be able to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, but that should be your aim.“Taking steps to be more aware of your sleep patterns and learning what works best for you over time is most important,” according to the sleep people, who I will choose to call “sleeple.” 

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, the Horse, and the Oscar

And finally today, I did not watch the Academy Awards Sunday night, and so I missed an Apple story on Monday. Congrats to the crew behind the Apple TV+ animated short “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.” A piece from MacRumors says it walked away with the Oscar for best animated short. 

While I missed the win, Apple’s CEO did not. Sunday night Tim Cook hit Twitter, saying:

Congratulations to the team behind The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse on their Academy Award! Your beautiful short tells an enduring story about the meaning of kindness, acceptance, and hope.

If you’ve not seen it, the report says, “the film follows the dreamlike friendship of a boy, a mole, a fox and a horse traveling together in the boy’s search for home.” If you decide to watch it — have tissues handy. And you can watch it any time. Though released on Christmas Day 2022, it is not a Christmas story — just a winter one. It is available now on Apple TV+. 

Today on The Mac Observer’s Daily Observations Podcast

TMO Managing Editor Jeff Butts and I will look at the changes for India’s work cycles and ponder our own sleep cycles. That’s all today on the Daily Observations Podcast from The Mac Observer.

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