"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Apple iPhone - Under the Hood

The Apple iPhone is a remarkable bit of kit., combined, media player, Web browser and mobile phone, it packs an awful lot in a small space....it is the result, like the recently rolled Boeing Dreamliner 787 of global sourcing.

The most evidently critical componenet is the touch screen, used both for display and data entry which is a product of joint German/ Chinese knowhow. Balda, based in the North West town of Bad Oeynhausen has been making bits of mobile phones including Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Motorola but last year cut its German workforce of 2,400 by 70% and made a huge loss.

Simultaneously selling 6 German factories they opened new facilities in China and India and bought a 50% share of TPK Holdings, a Xiamen based company founded by Taiwanese engineer Michael Chiang, (2006 T/O US$180Mn.) who took up 15% of Balda.

In Xiamen TPK Holding has a manufacturing joint venture Optera Technology Xiamen, Ltd. with the US world market leader for high-tech coatings of touch screen glass Optera which is a subsidiary of the Magna Donnelly Group, one of the world’s biggest automotive suppliers.

Balda who say on their website that they refuse to respond to speculation about whether they are iPhone suppliers have, through the TPK technology been able to supply a tough glass-surfaced screen overlay that is more sensitive, thinner, lighter and harder to scratch or smudge than the plastic displays that are widely used in mobile phones.

It is said that the screen offers sharper resolution, and unlike conventional touch screens—which get confused by more than one finger at a time—Balda's displays can sense several human digits simultaneously. The touch screen overlays an LCD display which is probably multiple sourced from Sharp and Sanyo Epson.

It appears that the main microprocessor chip, although stamped with an Apple logo, has a serial number that chimes with a chip that Samsung sells. Samsung also supplied the NAND-type flash memory that stores data on the phone, including songs, video, and pictures.

The core design of Samsung's chip , is based on a core design that is owned by the British chip technology licensing firm ARM Holdings. ARM does not manufacture chips but licenses designs. There is at least one other ARM-based chip, from NXP Semiconductor (previously Philips Electronics) .

All battery driven products need to lengthen battery life and power managment systems are a major featire of iPhone (claimed talk time on the iPhone's battery is eight hours) and include chips from Philips, Texas Instruments and Linear Technology .

The iPhone is exclusively licensed (you sign for 2 years) for use of AT & T voice and data networks *** (who have such a close working relationship with the US Government secret agencies, see here for suggestion NSA have back door into iPhone ) and uses components from Infineon , Skyworks , RF Micro Devices , and Marvell Technology Group(wi-fi chips) . UK based Cambridge Silicon Radio , bred by Sir Ronnie Cohen's Apax Partners amongst whose shareholders you can include Lord Patel, supplied the Bluetooth chips that connect the iPhone to wireless headsets (US$1.20 income for each phone sold).

A neat feature is the way the screen is automatically orientated for the user which is sensed by an accelerometer—a chip that senses motion—from Swiss based STMicroelectronics (confirmed on their website) handling various aspects of the display are chips from National Semiconductor, Broadcom , and NXP. Idaho-based Micron Technology supplied the imaging chip (MT9T111) that is central to the camera enabling higher-quality pictures without motion image blur and with lower power consumption.

Who puts all this together is a mystery,the trademark Apple distinctive aluminum and stainless steel iPhone case is made by a Taiwanese firm, Catcher Technology and the printed circuit boards are supplied by Taiwan's Unimicron Technology Corp so maybe in Taiwan but certainly not Hon Hai who made the iPOd and who have come in for criticism in the UK press (Daily Mail June 26th) about sweatshop conditions in their Foxconn plant in Longhua, China.

Apple sprung into action when these criticisma were raised and went to investigate the complaints about conditions and pay ...as of June 28, .... "We are still investigating the working conditions at Foxconn's manufacturing plant in Longhua"" said Apple spokesman Steve Dowling. "This is a thorough audit, which includes employee working and living conditions, interviews of employees and managers, compliance with overtime and wage regulations, and other areas as necessary to insure adherence to Apple's supplier code of conduct. Apple's supplier code of conduct sets the bar higher than accepted industry standards and we take allegations of noncompliance very seriously."

So far comment is ecstatic about the phone but owners beware ! The iPhone’s battery is apparently soldered on inside the device and cannot be swapped out by the owner as in most cell phones.

Users will need to submit their iPhone to Apple for battery service. The service will cost users $79, plus $6.95 for shipping, and will take three business days.

The procedure is similar to the one it has for the hugely successful iPod players, but because some users will not want to live without their cell phones, Apple is also offering a loaner iPhone for $29 whilst their indispensible gadget is under repair.
*** It is AT & T Company Privacy Policy that the company, not customers, owns customers' private data. ""While your account information may be personal to you, these records constitute business records that are owned by AT&T," the policy states. "As such, AT&T may disclose such records to protect its legitimate business interests, safeguard others, or respond to legal process."
The company also asserts that it has "an obligation to assist law enforcement and other government agencies responsible for protecting the public welfare, whether it be an individual or the security interests of the entire nation." This new policy, adopted in June 2006, dropped a reference stating that the company "does not access, read, upload or store data contained in or derived from private files without the member's authorization."

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