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Apple increases production of iPhone and iPad outside China – Financial Times

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Apple is ramping up the production of iPhones, iPads, Macs and other products outside China, Nikkei Asia has learned, in a sign that the tech giant is continuing to accelerate its production diversification despite hopes that US-China tensions will ease under President Joe Biden.

Sources said iPad production would begin in Vietnam as early as the middle of this year, marking the first time that the world’s biggest tablet maker will build a significant number of the devices outside China. The Californian company was also stepping up iPhone production in India, its second-largest production base for the iconic device, sources added, with plans for it to start producing the latest iPhone 12 series — the company’s first 5G smartphones — as soon as this quarter.

Apple was also increasing production capacity for smart speakers, earphones and computers in south-east Asia as part of its ongoing diversification strategy, the sources added.

In Vietnam, Apple is mobilising suppliers to expand production capacity for the latest HomePod mini, the affordable version of its voice-activated smart speaker line-up. The device has been produced in Vietnam since it was launched last year. Apple had increased local production of its audio-related products, including its various AirPods line-ups, sources said.

Apple had relocated some production of the Mac mini, one of its desktop computers, to Malaysia, another person familiar with the matter told Nikkei, and was set to move part of its MacBook production to Vietnam this year. Most of its computer production remains in China.

“Apple and many other tech companies all want out-of-China production capacities, and that has not slowed even though the US has a new president,” one supply chain manager said.

“And they are studying not only peripheral products. Apple, for example, aims to build capacity in new locations — mostly south-east Asia nations — for multiple core products, such as iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, AirPods and others. It was hard to imagine that two years ago, but now, nothing is impossible to shift.”

Apple suppliers have been working to meet their client’s desire for more diverse production bases. Foxconn, which formally traded as Hon Hai Precision Industry, injected $270m to set up a subsidiary in Vietnam late last year as part of the Taiwanese company’s efforts to expand its production capacity in the country. Luxshare Precision Industry, a new iPhone assembler and a key supplier of AirPods, is ramping up its capacity in northern Vietnam for the HomePod mini to solve supply constraints for the popular device, Nikkei learned.

Apple’s moves are part of a larger trend of global tech giants reducing their production dependence on China, long known as the world’s factory. Rising labour costs, the prolonged trade tensions between Washington and Beijing and the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic that severely disrupted the supply chain have all driven home the risks of depending too heavily on one country. The US government, moreover, has initiated a “supply chain restructuring” campaign and urged tech suppliers to move away from China, the Nikkei reported earlier.

China, which boasts the world’s most sophisticated and comprehensive supply chain, remains a key manufacturing hub for major tech companies, but Apple’s decision to move such a wide range of products out of the country indicates that the tech decoupling of the two countries is likely to continue into 2021.

And while there are some hopes that the political climate will improve under the new US president, Mr Biden has said he will not immediately reverse the tariff policy that the Trump administration implemented against China in mid-2018 — a policy that eventually saw tariffs levied on $360bn worth of Chinese imports.

China’s Goertek, a key Apple AirPods assembler, asked all of its suppliers to evaluate the feasibility of moving production to Vietnam as early as late 2018, and was the first Apple supplier to confirm a plan to shift production. In 2019, Apple asked multiple suppliers to study the cost implications of moving around 15 to 30 per cent of production out of China for a wide range of product lines. Its AirPods series, which ship around 90m units a year, first went into trial production in Vietnam in the summer of 2019, with mass production following in 2020. A portion of production of AirPods Pro, AirPods Max and the HomePod mini were also allocated to Vietnam last year. Apple began making the iPhone 11 in India in 2020.

Apple did not respond to Nikkei’s request for comment.

A version of this article was first published by Nikkei Asia on January 27, 2021. ©2021 Nikkei Inc. All rights reserved.

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Instagram is testing paid subscriptions with a small group of creators – The Verge

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US Instagram users will soon be able to subscribe to a small number of creators and influencers to access exclusive content and features. In a blog post, the company says it’s launching a test of subscriptions today, with more creators being added in the coming weeks.

Fans will pay a monthly fee to access subscriber-only content from creators they follow, like exclusive Lives and Stories. Subscribers will also get a purple badge by their username that signals their status to the creator. Price tiers will range from $0.99 to $99.99 per month, and creators can select the price point for their subscriptions. Co-head of product Ashley Yuki told TechCrunch that Instagram will not take a cut of creators’ subscription revenues “until at least 2023.”

Ten creators are part of the early test, including basketball player Sedona Prince, Olympian Jordan Chiles, and astrologer Aliza Kelly.

“I’m excited to keep building tools for creators to make a living doing creative work and to put these tools in more creators’ hands soon,” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, which owns Instagram, wrote in a Facebook post. Facebook also has its own version of a subscription program for creators.

In a video today, Instagram head Adam Mosseri says subscriptions are “one of the best ways” for influencers and creators to have a predictable income. Some creators have already been monetizing Instagram features like Close Friends by charging fans a fee off-platform for access to Stories. Instagram and Facebook aren’t the only companies to roll out subscription models to compete with platforms like TikTok; in 2021, Twitter introduced Super Follows, and some creators offer additional subscriber content off-platform on Patreon or Substack.

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Xiaomi 11T Pro with Snapdragon 888 and 120W charging launched in India – GSMArena.com news – GSMArena.com

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Xiaomi launched the 11i and 11i HyperCharge about two weeks ago in India, and today the company introduced one more smartphone in the country – Xiaomi 11T Pro.

The Xiaomi 11T Pro was unveiled last September and is powered by the Snapdragon 888 SoC. It runs Android 11-based MIUI 12.5 out of the box without any ads, and Xiaomi has promised to provide three years of Android and four years of security updates to the smartphone.

The 11T Pro is built around a 6.67″ FullHD+ 120Hz AMOLED screen with Dolby Vision support and Gorilla Glass Victus protection. The display has a punch hole in the center for the 16MP selfie camera but doesn’t have a fingerprint reader underneath. That’s because Xiaomi embedded it to the power button located on the right side of the smartphone.

Around the back, we have a camera system comprising 108MP primary, 8MP ultrawide, and 5MP telemacro units.

The Xiaomi 11T Pro ships with a 5,000 mAh battery with 120W charging, and Xiaomi has bundled the compatible 120W adapter with the smartphone, which is advertised to fill the cell from flat to 100% in 17 minutes.

The rest of the Xiaomi 11T Pro’s highlights include 5G connectivity, USB-C, NFC, stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos support, Hi-Res Audio certification, and audio tuning by Harman Kardon.

The Xiaomi 11T Pro comes in Meteorite Black, Moonlight White, and Celestial Blue colors and has three memory options – 8GB/128GB, 8GB/256GB, and 12GB/256GB priced at INR39,999 ($535/€475), INR41,999 ($565/€500), and INR43,999 ($590/€520), respectively. However, those who purchase the smartphone using their Citi Bank credit card are eligible for a discount of INR5,000 ($65/€60).

Xiaomi 11T Pro
Xiaomi 11T Pro
Xiaomi 11T Pro

Xiaomi 11T Pro

The 11T Pro is already available for purchase in India through Xiaomi’s official Indian website, Amazon.in, Mi Home, and retail outlets.

You can read our Xiaomi 11T Pro in-depth review here to learn more about it, or watch the video review linked below.

[embedded content]

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Samsung unveils Exynos 2200 chip with Xclipse graphics based on AMD RDNA 2 – MobileSyrup

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Samsung announced its latest mobile processor, the Exynos 2200, sporting a new graphics processing unit (GPU) using AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture dubbed ‘Xclipse.’

Samsung has teased plans to include AMD graphics tech in its mobile chips for a while now, and in June 2021 announced that its upcoming Exynos chip would offer ray-tracing capabilities. The Exynos 2200 delivers on that promise with hardware-accelerated ray tracing in Xclipse.

Ray tracing, for those unfamiliar with the tech, attempts to simulate how light physically behaves. In video games, ray tracing can help produce more realistic-looking lighting effects, including light that can bounce off reflective surfaces. However, so far ray tracing has proven to be difficult for GPUs to handle and often brings a significant performance hit compared to other lighting solutions.

Still, it’s impressive to see the technology come to mobile chips. It’ll be interesting to see how well it works in practice. Moreover, Samsung shared this surprisingly weird video touting the capabilities of the Exynos 2200 GPU:

[embedded content]

Aside from the benefits of AMD RDNA 2 and ray tracing in Xclipse, the Exynos 2200 chip sports other benefits. Samsung says the chip uses a 4nm extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) process and is one of the first in the mark to integrate Arm’s latest ARMv9 CPU cores. The ARMv9 cores offer a significant improvement over ARMv8 in both performance and security.

Specifically, the octa-core Exynos 2200 sports a tri-cluster structure with a single ARM Cortex-X2 core, three performance and efficiency balanced Cortex-A710 ‘big cores’ and four power-efficient Cortex-A510 ‘little cores.’

Exynos 2200 also support powerful on-device artificial intelligence (AI) thanks to an upgraded neural processing unit (NPU) and both sub-6 and mmWave 5G through an improved modem.

Finally, Samsung touted the chip’s image signal processor (ISP), which has a redesigned architecture that supports resolutions of up to 200 megapixels. When recording video at 30fps, the ISP supports up to 108 megapixels in single camera mode and 64+36 megapixels in dual camera mode. The ISP can connect up to seven individual image sensors and drive four sensors simultaneously for multi-camera set-ups. The ISP also supports up to 4K HDR or 8K recording.

While the Exynos 2200 certainly sounds impressive, Canadians might not get to try it out. Samsung typically launches its flagship phones in Canada with Qualcomm Snapdragon chips instead of its own Exynos (usually, Exynos chips power Samsung devices outside of North America). Of course, we won’t know for certain until devices rocking the Exynos 2200 release — for now, though, it’s probably safe to assume we won’t get those devices in Canada.

Those interested in learning more about the Exynos 2200 can check out all the details on Samsung’s website.

Image credit: Samsung

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