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.