The company has already asked two of its AirPods suppliers to move some of that work to India, and it’s today reported that Apple has commissioned an Indian company to produce the plastic enclosures for the in-ear devices …
The pandemic made even clearer the risks of the company having most of its manufacturing eggs in one basket. Recent COVID-19-related disruption at the world’s biggest iPhone assembly plant was estimated to have cost the company a billion dollars per week.
India is seen as Apple’s main hope when it comes to relocating production outside of China. A report last year suggested that a quarter of all iPhones could be made in India by 2025, and a later one indicated that this could rise to half of all iPhones by 2027.
Beyond iPhone, Apple had already moved a significant proportion of AirPods and Beats production from China to Vietnam, with the latter country reportedly accounting for the majority of Beats manufacturing. Apple is also working on iPad assembly in India.
AirPods made in India closer to reality
Bloomberg reports on the latest development.
The Indian unit of Jabil Inc. has begun shipping AirPods enclosures, or plastic bodies, to China and Vietnam, where the wireless earphones are assembled, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be named as the move isn’t public […]
“Making enclosures is typically the first step for full-fledged production of AirPods,” said Neil Shah, vice president of research at Counterpoint. “Now that Apple has won initial approval for some suppliers including Luxshare, they are obviously building a supply chain for the end product.”
With Jabil making the enclosures, and Foxconn and Luxshare making some of the electronics in India, that effectively allows for a complete manufacturing process within the country.
Bloomberg reports that Jabil’s current facility is a relatively modest one, measuring 858,000 square feet, and employing around 2,500 workers, but the plant could be extended (albeit with potential complications).
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