Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Signal: Pegatron, one of Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) leading Asian manufacturers, is increasing its number of workers in China by 40%, Reuters notes. The company employs about 100,000 Chinese workers. The sudden jump in production staff suggests that Pegatron is preparing for the launch of a new product. Sources at Japanese suppliers say that Apple is gearing up to begin manufacturing a cheaper iPhone. Early production runs are expected to start this month, with full scale production said to begin in June. Apple has been rumored to be working on a less expensive iPhone to promote in emerging markets where it has ceded ground to other smartphone makers like Samsung, who offer low-cost phones. Pegatron has been cited as the likely lead manufacturer for the low-cost iPhone. Its CEO has said that the company will generate 60% of its revenue during the second half of the year, with revenue from communication products rising to 40% of overalll revenue, compared to 24% during the first quarter.
Not So: A report that Pegatron had indicated weak demand for iPad Minis has been contested by its CEO, Fortune notes. The report from Bloomberg on Wednesday indicated that Pegatron had seen a sharp drop in revenue from consumer electronics production, most of which its CEO had attributed to a decline in orders for the iPad Mini. However, Pegatron’s CEO Jason Cheng told Fortune that remarks published in the Bloomberg piece were not made specifically in relation to Apple products. Cheng said that Pegatron’s consumer electronic division manufactures a wide range of products, including LCD TVs, gaming consoles, e-readers and tablets and that the company never issues comments specific to any one product.
Victory: Apple’s iBooks trademark is safe in the U.S., GigaOm notes. Black Tower Press, a small publisher based in New York City, sued the iPad-maker in 2011 after Apple unveiled the iBooks store. Black Tower claimed it held the trademark to the name after acquiring it from a smaller publishing company it purchased in 2006. However, the publisher had never registered the trademark. On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote granted summary judgment in Apple’s favor. The judge noted that Black Tower’s iBooks logo was not similar to Apple’s and that consumers were unlikely to confuse the companies or their products.