February 22, 2011

iPad 2 Reportedly Hit By Production Delays

The scheduled April launch of the Apple iPad 2 will be delayed until June due to production issues, according to a Tuesday report by Reuters.

According to the news agency, the delay is due to "production bottlenecks" at electronics component manufacturer Hon Hai that come as a result of design changes in the Cupertino, California company's tablet computer. Reuters cited a note by Taiwanese brokerage Yuanta Securities as their source.

The design changes were made by Apple officials prior to the Lunar New Year at the beginning of February, the report claimed, leading Yuanta representative Vincent Chen to write that the companies "checks" suggested that "new issues are being encountered with the new production process and it is taking time to resolve them."

The delays would result in total iPad unit shipments to fall from previous estimates of 30.6 million to 23 million during the 2011 calendar year, said Reuters. Hon Hai declined the news agency's request for comment, and Apple representatives were not available for comment, they added.

In related news, employees at another Apple component supplier are attempting to enlist the technology giant's help in dealing with health issues related to a dangerous chemical.

Workers at a Wintek factory where Apple touch screens are produced had been exposed to hexyl hydride between May 2008 and August 2009. The substance, which is also known as n-hexane and reportedly helped speed up production at the facility, is no longer used because it started making workers ill, but according to Reuters, employees there believe that it "could still harm their health."

"This is a killer, a killer that strikes invisibly," said a Chinese-language copy of the letter signed by five employees representing the Wintek factory staff and sent, in English, to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, according to Reuters.

"From when hexyl hydride was used, monthly profits at Apple and Wintek have gone up by tens of millions every month, the accumulated outcome of workers' lives and health," said the letter, signed by five workers claiming to represent employees.

"I hope Apple can respect our labor and our dignity. I hope they can stand up and apologize to us," Jia Jingchuan, a 27-year-old production technician who was affected by the chemical, told the news agency. Apple declined Reuters' requests for comment on the letter.


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