This week, we received the interesting news that Apple has been increasing its operations staff in Asia, and after several months of fierce recruitment the Cupertino, Calif. company is rumored to have more than 600 employees based in China alone. More significant, however, is that the recruitment has reportedly been made in order to allow for “faster and more frequent product launches,” according to an original report from The Wall Street Journal:
Apple has added several hundred new engineers and operations staff in China over the past two years, with a blitz of hiring that began in mid–2013, people familiar with the matter said. The total number of engineers and operations staff in China now exceeds 600, they said.
In order to achieve this, Apple has been hiring staff from rival companies (including HTC), and more engineers have been recruited in both China and Taiwan. Specifically, The Wall Street Journal claims that the recruitment push is focused on this year’s release of a couple of larger-sized iPhone handsets: the publication is maintaining that two larger smartphones are set to launch from Apple later this year, one with a screen size of around 4.5-inches, and another with a screen of 5-inches or more.
Furthermore, following criticism in recent years concerning factory conditions at some of its suppliers, Apple is also increasing the number of supply chain managers based in Asia. Pegatron, in particular, has been the subject of several critical reports from China Labor Watch.
Our report continued:
Despite its recent efforts to bring a degree of product and component production to the United States (with the Mac Pro and its recent sapphire plant in Arizona), Apple’s presence in Asia is only continuing to grow. Jobs are markedly varied, The Wall Street Journal notes, and range “from working with suppliers on hardware development for touchscreens and cameras, to electrical engineering and software quality assurance.”
For a refresher on what we’re expecting to see from Apple later this year, check out the following articles: Don’t Expect Apple To Release A New iPhone This Summer, The WSJ Says Two Bigger iPhones Are Coming, and Apple Ploughs Half A Billion Dollars Into Sapphire Glass Display For iPhone 6.
What are your hopes for Apple’s next-generation iPhone?
Also this week, AT&T has made it less expensive for certain subscribers to call and message international countries. If you’re a Mobile Share or Mobile Share Value subscriber, from Feb. 28 SMS and picture messages could be sent free of charge to more than 100 different countries. But that’s not all, because a new cellular plan – called World Connect Value – allows subscribers to make calls to international territories from as little as one cent per minute.
In a press release, the carrier explained:
AT&T is also excited to introduce international calling from the U.S. to any number anytime to over 35 countries, including Canada and Mexico, for 1¢ per minute with our new international calling package, World Connect ValueSM.
As such, if you’re a qualifying subscriber based in the United States who has a friend or family member living abroad, it’s now easier and cheaper to call or message them from your mobile handset.
AppAdvice International is a weekly recap of the international news published here at AppAdvice. The column goes live every Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. GMT.
See also: Apple’s CarPlay Doesn’t Integrate With Pandora, But Support Could Be Incoming, Uber Updated With Push Notifications For Surge Pricing And PayPal Integration In UK, and Facebook’s Paper Gains New Sharing Options And Other Improvements.