It is no secret that Apple operates a few research and development centers overseas. In Israel, for instance, the company runs three R&D centers: one in Haifa, another stemming from its acquisition of the flash memory developer Anobit and the third opening soon in the Israeli city of Ra’anana.
Yet another R&D facility is scheduled to open later this year in Pudong, Shanghai and now we learn that an all-new R&D center dedicated to iPhone development will be opening in Taiwan, where most of Apple’s suppliers are located…
VR-Zone has learned that Apple is currently “in the recruiting stage to build a new engineering development team in Taiwan to work on the next-generation of iPhone product development”.
According to internal communications seen by VR-Zone, hiring will begin in September. The team will be tasked with creating new products, including future iPhones, and the results will be reported to Apple’s headquarters in California.
Apple is currently looking for experienced and junior level engineers as well as junior and senior levels of management. Apple has not advertised these positions and is currently hunting for candidates by word of mouth.
The positions Apple is looking to fill gives you a good indication of the kind of work that will be carried out in Taiwan: Hardware Development Engineers, Panel Process & Optics Engineers, Product Development Engineers, Product Development Engineer, Mechanical Engineers – Product Displays, Materials Technical Program Managers, Test Engineers, Software QA, Reliability Engineers, Engineering Program Managers and more.
VR-Zone speculates Apple might not feel confident setting up a sizable R&D operation in China as the local government is growing increasingly hostile towards Western brands as it seeks to spur growth of domestic companies.
Although most of Apple’s research and development happens inside the walls of its Cupertino, California headquarters, opening an iPhone R&D center in Taiwan is admittedly a clever move.
For starters, Apple’s processor supplier Samsung has recently switched to local foundry Taiwan Silicon Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Keep in mind that The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Apple and TSMC signed a deal to produce iOS device chips beginning in 2014.
TSMC’s facility in Taiwan. Image via TSMC.
Moreover, most of Apple’s suppliers are located in Taiwan so keeping the iPhone R&D center close to companies that provide intricate parts for the product would allow for tighter collaboration between iPhone engineers and suppliers.
The move could also help prevent the growing number of leaks ahead of each new Apple product introduction. Tim Cook promised to double-down on secrecy but thus far this has meant scrutinizing employees working at its California HQ even more than before.
This has done little, if anything, to stop the leaks because alleged parts of unannounced Apple products mostly get obtained straight from Apple’s suppliers and contract manufacturers in Taiwan.