MediaFile

Tech wrap: Apple reveals child labor at some suppliers

Apple revealed its suppliers in response to harsh criticism that it was turning a blind eye to dismal working conditions at partner factories. Apple’s audit found six active and 13 historical cases of underage labor at some component suppliers. It also found a number of other violations, among them breaches in pay, benefits and environmental practices in plants in China, which figured prominently throughout the 500-page report Apple issued. Other violations found in the audit included dumping wastewater onto a neighboring farm, using machines without safeguards, testing workers for pregnancy and falsifying pay records.

“I would like to totally eliminate every case of underage employment,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told Reuters in an interview. “We have done that in all of our final assembly. As we go deeper into the supply chain, we found that age verification system isn’t sophisticated enough. This is something we feel very strongly about and we want to eliminate totally.”

Enraged Chinese shoppers pelted Apple’s flagship Beijing store with eggs and shoving matches broke out with police when customers were told the store would not begin sales of the iPhone 4S as scheduled. Apple said later after the fracas at its store in Beijing’s trendy Sanlitun district that it would halt all retail sales of the latest iPhone in China for the time being, but said the phones would be available online. Sales at Apple’s other store in Beijing and three in Shanghai went more smoothly, with stocks quickly selling out.

Apple’s next iPad, expected to be released in March, will feature a high-definition screen, run a quad-core chip that allows for faster switching between apps and will work with next-generation LTE wireless networks, Bloomberg reported, citing three people familiar with the product.

Private equity firm TPG Capital is willing to invest about $1 billion in Olympus in a joint deal with Sony or another suitor circling the scandal-hit firm, a person familiar with TPG’s thinking said. So far, TPG has not received any indication from these strategic suitors that they would be willing to work with the private equity firm on a transaction, the source said.

Tech wrap: AT&T to be allowed to pull T-Mobile application


The Federal Communications Commission will approve AT&T Inc.’s request to pull its application for approval of its $39 billion deal to acquire T-Mobile USA, the Wall Street Journal reported late Tuesday afternoon.

U.S. computer software company SAS Institute cannot claim copyright protection for the functions performed by its programs, which have been replicated by a rival, an adviser to Europe’s highest court said.

The FRAC Centre in Orléans, France will for the first time host an exhibition to be built entirely by flying robots, reports Gizmag.com. Titled “Flight Assembled Architecture,” the six meter-high tower will be made up of 1,500 prefabricated polystyrene foam modules.

from The Great Debate UK:

Heavy traffic on the information superhighway

-- Jeff Smith is Senior Director Infrastructure Services, Global Crossing EMEA. The opinions expressed are his own.--

For many years now, number crunchers have obsessed over the growth of data, marvelling at the way that the computer age has generated enormous amounts of content and IT types have speculated as to how disks, tapes and other storage devices would need to evolve to accommodate this. Now, however, the problem has spread and the new fear is greater: could the digitisation of the world’s information lead to catastrophic communications breakdown?

Consider this head-spinning set of numbers. According to EMC, the data created in 2010 would be 1.2 zettabytes, the equivalent of 75 billion 16GB iPads, filling Wembley Stadium 41 times. And in the age of the Internet a lot of that data doesn’t just reside on physical media but instead gets repeatedly shunted around the globe. On mobile networks alone, 8,000 petabytes will be sent in 2011, says a May 2011 report by ABI Research, and that figure is set to grow by about 50 per cent annually for the next five years. Overall, IP traffic will grow to 767 exabytes in 2014, according to Cisco. A petabyte is over one million gigabytes and an exabyte is 1,000 petabytes.

Verizon Wireless crunches numbers for you — or tries to

Verizon Wireless customers getting stressed out about whether they’d charge past their 2-gigabyte download limit? The company is here to help, at least in theory. 

 Tomorrow the company is eliminating its $30/month, unlimited data plans for new smartphone customers (existing users can keep their plans).

But long before the change, Verizon Wireless had offered something called the data calculator on its website, a handy service that estimates how much data you’d use if you send, say, 250 text-only emails a day (the answer is apparently 73.24 megabyes of data).  That sounds really helpful — but then it gets a little confusing. 

It’s oh so quiet … Are tech/telecom trade shows done for?

“I remember 1999, there were five-storey booths here and every hall was packed”, Egypt’s communications minister Tarek Kamel complains.

He was speaking at the sidelines of ITU Telecom World, a global conference sponsored by the United Nations’ information and communications agency.

This year the meeting halls are filled with just enough people to not seem empty. But there’s no need to elbow your way through throngs of people eyeballing what’s hot and new in the telecoms world.