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Results of Foxconn Investigation Released; Apple Stocks Reach All-Time High

A look at how our favorite backyard tech giant has made the news this week.

Every week, makes news with technology developments, business deals and, more often than not, controversies.

That’s where our weekly "Core Bytes" column on Apple comes in. We’ll relay the past week’s news highlights from our favorite backyard tech giant.

Controversies
Apple has been in the center of a controversy over whether their Chinese Foxconn workers have adequate working conditions. According to the results of an investigation it launched on Feb. 13 by the Fair Labor Association (FLA), 89 percent of the 500,000 workers studied complied with a 60-hour work week, up from 82 percent a year before. They averaged 48 hours a week in January and February, the peak production months of the new iPad.

Cupertino city council member Rod Sinks will have to for all city council discussions and votes concerning Apple. Both Sinks and his wife, Britta, own stock in the company, and Britta works for them as technical translator in German. His conflict of interest means that he would face sanctions, fines or penalties from the state if he did participate.

New Products
Last Friday, Apple’s iPad 3 made its big debut in the U.S. and additional countries. This Friday, it’s hitting shelves in 25 more countries spread across Europe, and in Mexico and New Zealand. The third generation iPad has been a big success, selling three million tablets in the first weekend alone. But the large demand hasn’t been limited to lines that stretch around Apple stores: wait times on Apple.com are about two to three weeks.

Rumor has it that Apple’s sixth generation iPhone will make its debut in October, one year after its popular predecessor, the iPhone 4S. The new phone will continue to boast a 3.5-inch screen, and high-speed 4G LTE connectivity.

Business Deals and Developments
On Wednesday, Apple stock traded at a all-time mid-day high of $609.95 a share, up 50 percent for the year-to-date. In 2011, the stock closed at $405, but was up to $602.50 by the end of the Wednesday. Still, Apple stock plummeted more than nine percent on Friday to $542.80 a share, shortly before returning to a near-normal $597.58.

On Thursday, the Austin, Texas city council approved $8.6 million in incentives—in the form of tax rebates over the next 10 years—for Apple to set up a new “Americas Operation Center”, creating 3,600 new jobs. It will sit on 38 acres of land, and make the company the city’s second biggest employer behind Dell.

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