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The Trials of the Chinese Apple Worker; Second Siri in the Works

A look at the ways 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
Earlier this year, Apple’s Foxconn plant in China had an explosion that killed several workers. This week, the New York Times published an investigation into the explosions, and the conditions at Chinese Apple factories, that made it possible. Yet Apple CEO Tim Cook dismissed the allegations in an email to employees, stating that the company “cares about every worker in its supply chain.”

Samsung lost its second patent suit in two weeks against Apple in Germany. A court ruled that the iPhone and iPad had not infringed on a second Samsung patent. As with its first loss, the Korean company says it will review the verdict to decide if they wish to appeal.

New Products
Apple has a second Siri in the works, and this time she will be taking commands on your computer. This week, the US Patent and Trademark Office published Apple’s “Siri, the Killer Patent,” which reveals plans for a virtual assistant that would enable computer users to go hands-free if they desire. The robot will receive spoken input as an alternative to basic functions like reading, clicking, and typing.

Business Deals and Developments
Thanks to skyrocketing iPhone 4S sales, Apple beat its rival Samsung in fourth-quarter smartphone sales. But the race is still close: Apple seized 23.9 percent of the market, while Samsung narrowly trailed behind with 23.5 percent.

In addition to rising to the top spot among cell phone manufacturers, Apple now claims 8.3 percent of the total worldwide phone market. Handset shipments over the quarter totaled 445 million, up 11.2 percent from last year.

Apple is staking its claims on another tech hub: Haifa, Israel. At the end of February, it may be opening a research and development center—the first outside of Cupertino—in the coastal town. Now, it’s recruiting engineers who will develop new chips for the company’s devices.

Susan January 31, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Check out how our "stuff" is being made, people. Mike Daisey asks, "Do you really think Apple doesn't know?" Well, now we know, and it's not sitting very well with me. How about you? This American Life, Episode 454 Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory, air date 01/06/2012 http://snipurl.com/21zh9i9 (press "play" to listen) How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work By CHARLES DUHIGG and KEITH BRADSHER, New York Times Published: January 21, 2012 http://snipurl.com/21zh76e Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad, New York Times By CHARLES DUHIGG and DAVID BARBOZA Published: January 25, 2012 http://snipurl.com/21zh3aj The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, air date: 01/16/12 Fear Factory: China's Foxconn houses employees who work 35-hour shifts at 31 cents an hour, thereby saving American technology companies money. http://snipurl.com/21zhisd Tim Cook: Apple cares about 'every worker' in its supply chain by Steven Musil, CNET January 26, 2012 http://snipurl.com/21zhw18
Susan February 01, 2012 at 06:37 PM
On Jan. 13th, Apple announced two new initiatives aimed at pressuring Foxconn and other global suppliers to improve working conditions: 1) In a company first, Apple posted a full list of its worldwide suppliers as part of its annual Supplier Responsibility Progress Report (http://www.apple.com/supplierresponsibility/) 2) Apple became THE FIRST(!) technology company to let the Fair Labor Association, a U.S. nonprofit, independently inspect its suppliers’ factories. Foxconn, a Taiwanese company, assembles an estimated 40 percent of the world’s electronics (our "stuff"). Major customer list: ▪ Acer Inc. (Taiwan) ▪ Amazon.com (United States) ▪ Apple Inc. (United States) ▪ ASRock (Taiwan) ▪ Asus (Taiwan) ▪ Barnes & Noble (United States) ▪ Cisco (United States) ▪ Dell (United States) ▪ EVGA Corporation (United States) ▪ Hewlett-Packard (United States) ▪ Intel (United States) ▪ IBM (United States) ▪ Lenovo (China) ▪ Microsoft (United States) ▪ MSI (Taiwan) ▪ Motorola (United States) ▪ Netgear (United States) ▪ Nintendo (Japan) ▪ Nokia (Finland) ▪ Panasonic (Japan) ▪ Samsung (South Korea) ▪ Sharp (Japan) ▪ Sony (Japan) ▪ Sony Ericsson (Japan/Sweden) ▪ Vizio (United States)

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