A new inside report claims that Apple is “hitting stumbling blocks in its effort to increase production in India,” including issues with very poor yield rates and a distinct lack of urgency clouding operations in the country.
FT (opens in new tab) reports today that Apple has sent designers and engineers from both California and China to try and turn the ship around in India. Apple has encouraged its manufacturing partners to pour money and resources into the country in order to reduce its reliance on China as a manufacturing base. However, the report says that “experience in recent months has demonstrated the scale of the work to be done in the country,” suggesting a fairly unsatisfactory state of affairs.
iPhone production teething problems in India
According to the report, at one particular casings factory in Hosur, “just about one out of every two components coming off the production line is in good enough shape to eventually be sent to Foxconn,” lightyears away from Apple’s target of zero defects.
Alongside poor yield, the report says that at least one former engineer at Apple briefed on the issue said there “just isn’t a sense of urgency” for operations in India. The report cites suppliers and government officials in China who completed tasks that were expected to take several weeks in less than 24 hours.
One person told FT that Apple’s expansion into India was being hampered by “logistics, tariffs and infrastructure,” with engineers from Apple sometimes housed two hours away from factories they are working at.
The report remains optimistic, however, that Apple’s prospects in the region are bright and that it plans even more expansion into the country. Apple has steadily increased its reliance on India. The iPhone 12 was the first flagship to be made in the country several months after it first came out. That gap was shortened with the iPhone 13, and Apple’s best iPhones, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro were manufactured just a few weeks after the device was announced, the shortest timeline yet.
Apple’s expansion into India is great news for consumers, as reducing reliance on China will leave the supply chain less vulnerable to disruption. This means iPhone customers will benefit from better availability and faster shipping times, in particular around devices launched. By contrast, Apple had to issue an unprecedented iPhone stock warning at the end of 2022 because of disruption to the supply of iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro.