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Apple is making the iPhone 13 in India: Here's why everyone should care
- Apple is moving some iPhone 13 production to India.
- Increased production in India could benefit Apple’s rivals.
Apple is moving some iPhone 13 manufacturing to India, a move that could boost the entire smartphone industry.
As a result of the global pandemic, Apple has been working to diversify its supply chain, moving some manufacturing outside of China. While the company already manufactures some older models in India, moving some iPhone 13 production there could improve manufacturing for its rivals.
Apple’s market share may be dwarfed by the Android ecosystem, but the company remains one of the largest individual manufacturers, and continues to dominate certain segments of the industry. Wherever Apple sets up shop for manufacturing, entire ecosystems of support companies and skilled labor spring up. China has always been Apple’s top manufacturing center, thanks to it being the home of Hon Hai Technology Group (Foxconn). However, Apple has been working to reduce its reliance on a single country or region. India was a natural choice since it already has a tech-centric workforce.
See also: The pros and cons of manufacturing smartphones in the US
To be clear, like Apple, Android manufacturers already build some of their phones in India. However, few companies have the supply chain prowess Apple is known for. In addition, since the iPhone 13 is the first model to be released in India at the same time as the US, producing the high-tech flagship model in-country is only going to boost the existing manufacturing ecosystem.
Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke of the importance of such an ecosystem when talking about why China was so critical to the company’s success:
The products we do require really advanced tooling, and the precision that you have to have, the tooling and working with the materials that we do are state of the art. And the tooling skill is very deep here. In the US, you could have a meeting of tooling engineers and I’m not sure we could fill the room. In China, you could fill multiple football fields.
As Apple’s iPhone production in India ramps up, the country’s ecosystem of expertise, talent, and technology will continue to grow. This will help Samsung, Google, and others, providing a manufacturing region that could ultimately rival China, in terms of both quality and quantity.
A diversified supply chain, in turn, should help the industry avoid the kind of shortages it’s been plagued with the past couple of years, and get devices in customers’ hands that much faster.