Here are your Apple rumors and AAPL news items for today:
Commanding: A Deutsche Bank (DB) analyst says that despite its high price compared to other tablets, Apple’s (AAPL) next generation iPad is a bestseller this holiday shopping season, CNET notes. Chris Whitmore conducted checks at the online stores of major retailers including Walmart (WMT), Amazon (AMZN), Target (TGT) and Best Buy (BBY) on Cyber Monday and found that tablets showed “strong momentum” compared to laptops, which he says must “close the pricing gap with tablets” if vendors want to stem declining laptop sales. During last year’s fourth quarter, tablets outsold laptops by 10 million units. This year, Whitmore expects that lead to double. Among tablets, the relatively expensive iPad Air continues to sell strongly despite a flurry of cheaper rivals running Google’s (GOOG) Android. “Apple is a best seller and everyone else is playing for scraps at significantly lower price points,” Whitmore wrote in a note to investors. He said that Android tablet volumes were “robust” due to the tablet’s low prices, but that the Android ecosystem generated “little margin” for vendors. Whitmore also found that the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro (non-Retina) and the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro Retina ranked fifth and tenth, respectively among the top selling laptops at retailers he surveyed, despite being both priced over $1,000.
New Criticism: Another Apple supply chain partner is under fire for worker abuses, the New York Times notes. Pegatron is facing scrutiny over the deaths of five workers at its facilities in China. Among the dead workers was a 15-year-old boy, who reportedly produced faked documents listing his age as 20. The boy contracted a fatal case of pneumonia about a month after starting work at Pegatron’s factory. Apple mandates that workers in its supply chain must be a minimum of 16 years old. The Times says that the boy was working an average of 77 hours a week before he died. Labor advocates have long criticized Foxconn, Apple’s major manufacturing partner in China, for poor working conditions. Apple said it is looking into the allegations against Pegatron.
Dip: Apple has fallen one spot to rank 35th in this year’s “Best Places to Work” survey from Glassdoor. The company ranks 50 companies based on more than half a million employee reviews collected during the past year. In 2011, Apple was propelled into the top 10 companies, but dropped significantly last year. CEO Tim Cook garnered a 92% favorable rating based on the reviews. Employees praised Apple for having “great people” and “great benefits,” but complained that the company was “relentlessly driven” and required “long hours because of product launches.” Twitter (TWTR), Facebook (FB) and Linkedin (LNKD) were ranked in the top five “Best Places to Work” this year.
For more about the company, check out our previous Apple Rumors stories.