It looks like Apple has written off this year as an annus horribilis and is not buying nearly as many smartphone components.
According to Asian suppliers, Apple has cut the number of components down this quarter indicating that Apple things the market is going to be soft as a baby’s bottom.
The Tame Apple Press is having a job giving its favourite smartphone maker free publicity for the coming iPhone 7 because it looks like it is nearly identical to the iPhone 6S. It appears that Apple is not even trying.
Taiwanese chip firm Advanced Semiconductor Engineering warned that Apple was being more conservative in placing orders compared with last year.
Nikkei said that hat component suppliers in Taiwan would receive fewer orders from Apple in the second half of 2016.
Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs lowered its price target on Apple’s stock on worries about slowing growth in the smartphone industry.
At the time, the brokerage also lowered its fiscal 2016 forecast for iPhone shipments to 211 million units from 212 million units.
Apple reported its first-ever quarterly decline in iPhone sales in April and it is expected that the iPhone 7 will be a huge disappointment. Apple’s shares have fallen 12.6 percent this year which is a little surprising given the amount of bad news the outfit has been doling out.
The global 3D integrated circuit market is forecast to grow by 19.7 percent between 2012 and 2016, with the major growth driver being strong demand for memory products, particularly flash memory and DRAM.
3D integrated circuits help improve the performance and reliability of memory chips, and as an added benefit the resulting chips are smaller and cheaper. However, chips based on 3D circuits face thermal conductivity problems which might pose a challenge to further growth.
According to Infiniti Research, the biggest 3D IC vendors at the moment are Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE), Samsung., STMicroelectronics and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC). IBM, Elpida, Intel and Micron are also working on products based on 3D ICs.
Intel was a 3D IC pioneer and it demoed a 3D version of the Pentium 4 back in 2004. The overly complicated chip offered slight performance and efficiency improvements over the 2D version of the chip, which really isn’t saying much since Prescott-based Pentium 4s were rubbish.
The focus then shifted on memory chips and some academic implementations of 3D processors, but progress has been relatively slow, hence any growth is more than welcome.
A 7,800km underwater optical fibre data cable, called the Asia Submarine-cable Express (ASE), which links Japan, Singapore, the Philippines and Malaysia, has opened for traffic. It is the first direct cable link between the Philippines and Japan, according to one of the developers.
ASE can manage data transfer as fast as 40 gigabits per second. It joins existing undersea cables around Japan, including those operated by Telstra International, Taiwan’s Chunghwa Telecom, and Pacnet which links Singapore and Hong Kong, although these were damaged by an earthquake off Japan’s coast in March last year, the BBC reports.
It is hoped that the new cables will bolster speeds between the countries particularly for high frequency trades.
These are used by financial institutions to make trades where speed is imperative, sometimes up tp hundreds of thousands of transaction in under a second, based on algorithms that oversee market conditions nad make a call on the appropriate buy or sell actions.
ASE’s route is as straight as can be to reduce data transfer times.
Because of the natural disaster threat, ASE avoids the area around Taiwan where earthquakes are common. Instead the route is as near to the Philippines as possible, which a senior director at NTT – one of four project partners – claimed makes it significantly safer and more reliable.
The other companies are the Philippines’ PLDT, Singapore’s StarHub, and Telekom Malaysia.
IC packaging and testing company Advanced Semiconductor Engineering said its revenues rose for its first financial quarter by 180 percent year on year, a further sign that the semi industry is on the rebound.
It turned in revenues of NT$37,555 million ($1,198,519,228) and net profit of NT$3,395 ($108,347,000) million.
Revenues were up 43 percent compared to its last financial quarter.
ASE provides assembly, testing and material services. On the materials front, ASE works on developing substrate tech for low cost and high performance IC packaging.