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Today's Tech: Foxconn conditions reportedly improve, iPad mini cases reviewed

Key Apple production partner Foxconn appears to be making some commendable New Year's resolutions, with recent reports claiming that the Taiwanese contract manufacturing giant is implementing a number of measures aimed at improving working conditions in its mainland China factories for 2013. These include "personal reforms" like the installation of more comfortable chairs, as well as more general health and safety improvements. Most significantly, the company will cap the number of hours an employee is allowed to work each week at 49 - roughly half the 100-odd hours some workers were said to be kept in factories during iPhone 5 production in 2012.

One task Foxconn's happier workforce could be tackling in 2013 is production of a new Apple smart watch, at least if the latest iPhone-related rumours are to be believed. According to a Chinese source, the iconic US firm has a trick up its sleeve next year in the form of an 'iWatch' accessory, which will allow users to handle basic handset functionality via their wrist. The new project is apparently being pursued in partnership with Intel, so click on for more about the potential next-generation of earth-shattering Apple offerings, including some early specifications.

If you were lucky enough to get an iPad mini for Christmas, or if you bought one in the weeks following its 2 November release, chances are its safety is among your top priorities. In the short time since the device's launch, a veritable plethora of options have emerged promising to guard and protect the slim, 7.9in tablet - covers, cases, sleeves, folios. To help you separate the wheat from the iPad mini case chaff, Jay Werfalli and Riyad Emeran round up seven of the most popular options. Follow the link to find out which of these cases you should consider and why.

Some analysts are expecting Samsung to overtake Nokia as the world’s number one mobile phone manufacturer before the end of the year. But that title apparently isn’t enough for the South Korean giant, which, according to recent reports, is gearing up to ship more than half a billion handsets next year - some 390 million of which are expected to be smartphones. That’s an impressive feat for any company, let alone one who as recently as 2009 sold less than one million mobile phone units annually. Read on for more details about Samsung’s 2013 projections.