Apple expects to start producing the iPhone 14 in India just two months after the product’s first introduction in China to reduce the gap between the two nations but not totally close it as some had hoped.
According to sources familiar with the situation, the company has been working with suppliers to increase manufacturing in India and reduce the customary six to nine-month production delay for new iPhone launches.
Due to tensions with the US government and nationwide lockdowns imposed by Xi Jinping‘s administration, which have impacted economic activity, Apple, which has historically produced the majority of its iPhones in China, is looking for alternatives.
The new iPhone is expected to ship from both countries at about the same time, according to analysts like Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities Group. This would have been a significant milestone for Apple’s efforts to diversify its supply chain and increase redundancy.
According to the source, who declined to be named because the work is classified, Foxconn Technology Group, the top supplier of iPhones, looked into the logistics of importing parts from China and constructing the iPhone 14 smartphone at its plant outside of Chennai in southern India. That meant considering how to uphold Apple’s strict secrecy standards.
According to the source, Apple and Foxconn eventually agreed that a simultaneous launch in China and India isn’t possible this year, but it still remains a long-term plan.
Following the initial September release, the first iPhone 14 series from India is expected to be completed in late October or November, according to sources.
In 2017, Apple’s partners started making iPhones in India, which marked the start of a multi-year project to develop the country’s manufacturing capability. The 1.4 billion-person nation serves as a backup to its current operations and is a prospective consumer market. Additionally, the Modi administration has provided financial incentives for tech production through its Make in India program.
Secrecy is one challenge to lower the production limit for India. Apple goes out of its way to protect the privacy of new product details, so applying the same strict regulations in a second country would be challenging.
According to two of the sources, local executives in India analyzed entirely cornering off a section of one of Foxconn‘s several manufacturing lines, sequestering workers, and considering every potential way that the security surrounding the device could be compromised. It would be difficult to replicate the strict security measures and extreme secrecy of its China facilities.
Another possible weakness for product confidentiality has Apple concerned. Customs authorities in India frequently inspect packages to verify if imported materials match their declarations.
Supply problems would have barred a simultaneous launch, even if Apple and Foxconn had wanted to do so. Multiple waves of lockdowns in China, the country from where many iPhone components are manufactured, have made it more difficult to move parts through the country.
India’s workforce and factories haven’t easily adopted the highly controlled practices that Apple requires from suppliers.
Since Apple started making iPhones in India through contract manufacturers Foxconn and Wistron five years ago, there have been two notable examples of workers rising up in protest over salaries and the quality of food.